On Scotland's crime shame

I BROKE the first rule of life in Norway when I arrived there this summer with a suitcase full of jumpers and jeans, only to discover 25C sunshine.

Loading Comments

There's no such thing as bad weather, claim those hardy Norwegians, merely inappropriate clothing.

I'd love to hear a ScotRail announcer include that in their list of excuses.

"We'd like to apologise to customers for the delay to your service, but the driver forgot his long johns."

I spent three months living just outside of Oslo, capital of this land of fabled trolls, Vikings, moose and polar bears, and, as I quickly found, the £12 pint.

On the morning of sentencing of the country's worst mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, I furiously typed the ticker feed from the NRK news channel into Google Translate.

There were solemn nods and polite handshakes.

No sensationalism, just a quiet resolve that nothing like this would darken their history books again.

This harrowing blip in Norway's mortality record was best summed up by the words of one mourner, who said: "If one man can show so much hate, think how much love we could show, standing together."

Those words struck a chord again on reading our apparent acceptance of Scotland's – and Glasgow's – murder figures.

There were 'just' 15 homicides in Glasgow in 2011-12. Just.

The Scottish Government tells us that homicides in Scotland are down 11% year-on-year. Break out the bubbly, shall we?

Our booze and blade culture is claiming far fewer lives than it did a decade ago. Time for a press release.

This raw and painful subject is no cause for wangling political mileage.

What I find scariest is that the majority of victims in Scotland know their killers – and that alcohol or drugs is a factor in most crimes.

Alex Salmond is fond of aligning Scotland with our oil-rich North Sea neighbour, where a crown prince wed a single mother and you just ring the rail provider if you want to transport a gun on the train.

But you can't buy wine or spirits in a Norwegian supermarket – you have to visit a 'vinmonopolet' that keeps roughly the same opening hours as high street banks do here. Would a similar system drive down crime figures in Scotland?

What's even more terrifying in this week's Scottish homicide statistics is that half of female victims were killed by a partner or ex-partner.

This is a system that doesn't crack down on violent behaviour when it is first demonstrated, and allows offenders to construct a higher wall between themselves and society.

We need to tackle the root causes of violent crime if we're to have murder statistics to be proud of. Let's aim for none. Just none.


Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.


Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
A weekly round up of social highlights

A weekly round up of social highlights

Cat's Eyes on Glasgow

Chilling in Glasgow's first Ice Bar and getting Mhor than I bargained for




Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Columnist Michelle McManus is Sussed in the City, and loves to chat about anything and everything.

Games news:

Putting the world to rights

Gail's Gab

My thoughts after Police Scotland are ordered to apologise over IRA interrogation techniques slur.

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.