August 15th, 2011
Like most people, I have been glued to my TV this week as we watched the terrible riots in London and beyond unfold.
The wanton destruction has left many ordinary people shaken, homeless, jobless and even in mourning for those who lost their lives.
In my time, I have seen many political protests and demonstrations, some for good causes, many others for misguided ones.
While there are many complex reasons why this trouble flared up, it appeared the main motivation was to loot a 32-inch television from Curry’s.
For me, it was like watching the yob Olympics, where all of London’s top troublemakers got together in an organised rammy in full glare of the world’s media.
The reality is that every other weekend, we have qualifying events all over the country, where people cause their neighbours misery with mindless vandalism, brazen theft, drunken behaviour and general anti-social behaviour.
These rioters were just behaving the way they do every other weekend, except in a tsunami wave rather than in the droplets we are used to.
That is why I was disappointed in the First Minister, who seemed to believe that this type of behaviour could never happen in Scotland because we are ‘a different kind of society’.
This is the same First Minister who has been telling us all summer about the chaos caused by football games and how he is going to stamp it out.
And he has obviously forgotten about the Royal Wedding party in Kelvingrove park that descended into a riot a few months back.
Or the free-for-all that surrounded the G8 protests in Edinburgh when Scotland hosted the world’s leaders in 2005.
In Strathclyde alone, we have more than 150,000 recorded crimes every year, more than 250 serious assaults every month and a murder a week, we have no room for complacency.
Rather than throwing stones from his glass house, the First Minister would be better focussing on the communities who are demanding action against our own vandals and thugs.