Before I’m accused of over-stating things with the above headline claim, let me dig myself an even bigger hole – the first Scottish Enlightenment wasn’t that great anyway. We had lots of nice books and stimulating chats in Edinburgh hostelries but for the mass of Scots, only grinding poverty, clearance from the land, death and mutilation in imperial wars, disease and political powerlessness. The last ten years, I’d say, have seen many small changes combining to make things better for many of us, materially and emotionally. So….
As England’s poor, disabled and sick, twist in the wind of the former home secretary’s hostile environment and its storm of welfare and policing cuts, something is happening in Scotland even though we can step only partly out of her deadly embrace.
This isn’t an analytical treatise arguing for Scotland seeming to be becoming a better country. It’s a gentle shower of data which I think collects in the mind to suggest that something is happening here which we can begin to celebrate.
The causes will be, of course, ahem, multifactorial. While more humane, health as opposed to crime-focused, policies must take credit, many other factors will have played a part. In particular, with regard to falling crime, the distracting effect of home-based, interactive media has surely taken younger people ‘off the streets’ reducing the opportunities and motivations for crime. More controversially, the longer-term impact of the reduction of lead pollution in the environment has been associated with falling crime.
So, here are the data. Just look at them and let them form a shape as they will in your mind. There are 1 959 posts in this blog so if you need more, try searching for whatever topic interests you.