Sky News suggests Scotland Yard can learn from Scotland on reducing knife crime. Scottish media miss the story


Watching Sky News this morning, making sure I don’t even catch a glimpse of Jackie Bird, I saw a short piece on how London police have been learning from Glasgow police on how they might reduce knife crime especially fatal stabbings. There were 80 last year in London and none in Glasgow, none in Scotland even. I’ve reported on the much-changed Scottish situation recently, here:

Of 35 children and teenagers killed with knives in Britain in 2017, not one was in Scotland, yet in 2005, the UN called Scotland the most violent country in the developed world.

In 2005, Strathclyde Police set up a Violence Reduction Unit which used an holistic approach involving education, social work and other agencies to tackle the problem. Fatal stabbings have fallen dramatically as has violence generally in Scotland. Indeed, in a study of University cities, Scotland’s four had much lower levels of violence with injury than any of those in England, See:

Scotland’s university cities by far the safest places to send your children

However, London has seen the worst rise. According to Sky:

‘Last year saw the highest number of fatal stabbings in a decade in the capital, with 80 people killed. In response to last year’s 80 fatal stabbings in the capital – the highest number for almost a decade – the Metropolitan Police is increasing its use of stop-and-search tactics, but insists it will be more targeted at habitual knife carriers and applied in known knife hotspots. The force also has officers based full-time in youth offender institutions and others who visit schools regularly talking to pupils of all ages about the dangers of knives. It works, too, with former offenders who advise officers on gang culture and how to talk to gang members. A relatively new tactic is to have police officers stationed in all hospital emergency departments, encouraging medical staff to share information on evidence of knife injuries. It’s an holistic approach that has helped reduce knife crime dramatically in Glasgow, a city branded by the United Nations 12 years ago as the most violent in the developed world.’

In Scotland, there may have been other factors contributing to the changes and these are discussed in my earlier report. London also has marked differences with Glasgow in terms of size, ethnic mix and government policies with regard to poverty. Poverty, is likely to be a major factor and the difference between the harsh UK and caring Scottish governments’ approaches is considerable.

Finally, I can’t find any coverage of this other than on Sky. It reminds of the time I watched, only on Sky of course, Scottish police teaching New York police to hold their fire:

Scottish News Media Conceal Global Status of Police Scotland’s Methods

The story was not to be found on Scotland’s Unionist media for the obvious reason that they were busy demonising Police Scotland and the SNP for creating them at the time.


And another: Scottish business community ‘increasingly confident.’


According to a report on their own survey, Insider magazine stated today:

The picture of an increasingly confident business community despite the wider challenges emerges from this year’s Insider State of Scotland survey. I’ve summarised the key findings below:

  • Much more confident                                                24%
  • Marginally more confident                                     38%
  • Profits on a par with last year                               48%
  • Profits better than last year                                   29%
  • Profits worse than last year                                   24%
  • Panning major digital investment                        57% (up from 44%)
  • Not planning major digital investment               38% (down from 43%)
  • Planning new equipment/technology                   81%
  • Not planning new equipment/technology           10%

Needless to say, most were against Brexit and Scottish independence and none gave (were even asked about?) credit to the Scottish Government’s business-friendly initiatives such as those reported here:

£226 million given in relief to small businesses in 2017-18 as part of most generous scheme in the UK

‘£1.2m from Scottish Government scheme for affordable housing in Fort William’

EU Nationals living in Scotland to be helped to stay by Scottish Government


And another one: ‘Scotland Revealed as Top Place in UK to Launch New Business’


From the Scottish Business News Network (A Douglas Fraser bookmark surely?) today:

‘MoneySuperMarket analysed and ranked 18 cities across the UK to determine where in the country best caters for new businesses. There were a number of key factors included in this ranking such as the cost per workstation, business insurance and the number of office spaces available to see which cities are deemed the most desirable places to set up shop. The research found Edinburgh to be the best city to set up a new business, due to its excellent cost per workstation, strong local broadband speed and low number of business insurance claims. Brighton and Hove, on the other hand ranked last, due to the limited and costly desk space.’

Scotland was the best place, over all, to start a business. The above is, of course one of many in a continuous stream of good news stories contradicting the GDP and GERS reports favoured by our ‘Scottish media.’ See these examples:

17% increase in number of Scots planning to start a new business as Scottish economy strengthens

Silver medal and second in list of best places to start a new business 2017, it’s….. Edinburgh? No, it’s Dundee. Sit down Edinburgh.

Oh no, not more good news about the Scottish economy! Quick get more tissues for Ruth and Kezia. Far Less [Fewer] businesses failing in Scotland for the second quarter in a row

Scottish businesses showing signs of greater health than those in the rest of the UK

Is a third forecast that Scotland’s oil will hit $100 per barrel again, a sure sign?



In Oil and Gas People on January 15, 2 018, Takayuki Nogami, a chief economist of the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, predicted growing demand and the possibility of prices rising to $100 per barrel. This followed, the July 2017 comments from the Aramco chief describing the outlook for oil supplies as ‘increasingly worrying’, arguing that the transition to alternative fuels will be ‘long and complex’ and that this will result in huge shortages. Discoveries are down 50% in the last four years. See:

Second prediction that Scottish oil may rise beyond $70 per barrel to as much as $100 per barrel and that demand will grow over the next ten years.

Yesterday, London-based consultancy, Energy Aspect,s predicted, in Energy Voice, that Brent prices will rise above £100 next year:

‘A slump in new production outside the U.S. shale patch in 2019 could help to send Brent crude briefly back above $100 a barrel next year, according to London-based consultancy Energy Aspects.’

This is an even more dramatic prediction in terms of the timescale foreseen. In addition, their apparent confidence in shale may be misplaced making the prediction even more accurate. See:

The Scottish Third Wave of Oil Productivity is built on solid foundations but those of the Shale Oil Industry are built on sand and on sand that is disappearing fast

Finally, further reinforcing the predictions of $100pb oil, we’ve already seen that those presumably well-informed hedge fund managers are piling in to invest heavily in oil production:

Scotland’s oil prices look optimistic as hedge funds invest and shale drilling boom passes peak

Luckily for Scotland, there have been massive finds west of Shetland in the last few months. See:

Estimates of Scotland’s oil reserves West of Shetland now massively increased to around 8 billion barrels! ‘A super-resource now on the cards.’

The signs of a ‘Third Wave of Prosperity’ from Scotland’s oil keep coming now. Make sure everyone knows in time for Indyref2.

More evidence of actual strength in Scottish economy ignored by Scottish mainstream media


As the Scottish media hang on grimly to the supposed negative economic picture for Scotland revealed by GDP and GERS figures, a continuous flow of evidence of real strength comes in.

Today Insider online business magazine reports:

The number of businesses failing in Scotland last year dropped to lows not seen since the onset of the financial crash in 2008, new figures have suggested. According to statistics gathered by accountancy group KPMG, there were 832 corporate insolvencies in Scotland in 2017, the least for nine years, when 803 were recorded.’

This news is just the latest of a series of reports revealing underlying and growing strength in the Scottish economy, actively supported by the SNP administration, such as:

England ran a massive trade deficit in 2014 and 2015 too. Scotland had an even greater surplus in those years. Who knows how much we’ve been subsidising the UK balance of payments and reducing debt over the years?

Business booms in Scotland under SNP-rule

77% of Scotland’s small and medium-sized businesses report success as Scottish Government reports record numbers exempt from rates and in the wake of figures revealing much greater signs of distress among rUK businesses.

£226 million given in relief to small businesses in 2017-18 as part of most generous scheme in the UK

40% increase in number of new Scottish businesses mainly under SNP government

There are many more comparable reports on the site. Just search for ‘business’ if you’d like to access them to win an argument. These are factual, evidence-based reports unlike GDP and GERS. Both are heavily based on estimates rather than actual measures because the latter are not available for Scotland on its own. See this on GERS:

25 of the 26 GERS income figures are estimates and not the real figures!

As for GDP, even the DAVOS elite have turned against it. See this from 2016:

Three leading economists and academics at Davos agree: GDP is a poor way of assessing the health of our economies and we urgently need to find a new measure. Speaking in different sessions, IMF head Christine Lagarde, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, and MIT professor Erik Brynjolfsson stressed that as the world changes, so too should the way we measure progress. A country’s GDP is an estimate of the total value of goods and services they produce. But even when the concept was first developed back in the late 1930s, the man behind it, Simon Kuznets, warned it was not a suitable measure of a country’s economic development: “He understood that GDP is not a welfare measure, it is not a measure of how well we are all doing. It counts the things that we’re buying and selling, but it’s quite possible for GDP to go in the opposite direction of welfare.”’

Despite this, the Scottish media continue to use these unreliable and inappropriate figures to undermine the case for Scottish independence because they’re all they have.

How to get fair coverage of Scottish politics. Read a slightly left-of-centre English newspaper



‘Future-proofed against austerity: new Scottish social security system’

Can you imagine that headline in the Herrod or the Hootsman? Remember the speech marks are mine and were not in the original. The writer means it literally and they are right behind it. Positive and without a hint of an ‘ah but’ to come, this was the Observer’s headline yesterday for a report on the Scottish Government setting up an independent body that will check to make sure any changes preserve human rights before the Scottish Parliament gets a vote. This is, to my mind, another example of how the SNP administration has a real commitment to acting as if they ‘live in the early days of a better nation.’ It’s utterly divergent from current trends in England and makes me a bit more pleased to be living here.

Here’s part of what Libby Brooks, their Scotland Correspondent had to say:

Scotland’s new social security system will include an unprecedented degree of independent scrutiny – with the express intention of future-proofing the powers against the kinds of austerity measures that have devastated vulnerable groups in the rest of the UK. Scotland’s social security minister, Jeanne Freeman, announced on Sunday that there will be a Scottish Commission on Social Security, an independent body that will scrutinise any proposed changes to the new system – and give its view of their compliance with human rights protocols – before Holyrood can vote on them.’

There’s little point in me repeating the article. Go and read the whole thing yourself via the above url link. The point is, it’s not balanced. The writer is enthusiastic about the idea and sees no need to scrape up some opposition voice to find something, anything, to moan about. Notice, they are prepared to compare this favourably with the rest of the UK without a Brian Monteith figure calling it diversionary, ‘whitabootery’.

Now, some people, some journalism students, some journalists, seem to thing you always need to have balance, at least two differing views and certainly not enthusing about things. This a fallacy. Some topics have no reasonable alternative viewpoint. Equally, some developments are so humane, so morally correct, so just, it’s perfectly reasonable for the writer to join in. It would be hard to imagine a two-sided balanced debate on tobacco today thought we did have in the past. Would a writer enthusing about disability rights legislation feel the need to find some argument why the disabled should have less rights? There have been times in the past when that might have been argued but to do so would be to challenge an almost total support for equality of treatment, today in Scotland.

However, II can find no mention of this development in the Scotsman, BBC News or STV News and the Herald offers only a dry, grudging (?) acknowledgement that the SNP claim it will stop the Tories:

‘SNP minister Jeanne Freeman says commission would stop Tories bringing in benefit sanctions’

Why are the Scottish media not enthusing about a ‘new social security system [which] will include an unprecedented degree of independent scrutiny – with the express intention of future-proofing the powers against the kinds of austerity measures that have devastated vulnerable groups in the rest of the UK’?

Is it because it’s an SNP initiative? Is it because it makes Scotland seem better that the UK? Is it because the Unionist media are so bitter and full of hatred for the SNP, they cannot enthuse about anything they do, no matter how close to the values they at other times profess?

Finally, look at the photograph they used. Talk about making the SNP look positive, bright, optimistic.

Does this first-generation hipster’s one-man blog get more readers than nouveau-arriviste-hipster David Torrance?


Kermit, how do you know I’ve been listening to Emmylou Harris more than Miles Davis? The shirt gives it away?

Only very serious and respectful readers should continue! (c)

I should say at the outset that I’m having a bit of fun with this. I don’t really have the data to really prove that the answer to my headline is definitely ‘yes’, but things are happening which suggest it may not be so far off and whacky an idea as it might have been even a few years ago.

The Herald’s daily average paper sales fell 10% to only 28 900 in the second half of 2017 with the website getting around 88 400 visitors.

There are perhaps around 100 other stories in the print edition and even the online version will have around 50. How many actually read the David Torrance piece? That photo must scare off thousands. How many just skim the headlines and pass him by? I don’t have the answer, but I’d guess it’s a lot less than the overall sales or visitors. According to research by Campaign, 8 out of 10 only read the headline.

Could David be getting only a few thousand readers? Five thousand? Does that seem harsh or generous?

Talking-up Scotland, on a good day, comes close to 10 000 visitors with the more controversial  reports getting around 4 to 5 000 actually opening the full text. On top of that, four or five bloggers will re-blog reports to an unknown number, some of whom may re-blog again, and so on. I’ve just heard (below) that one reblogs to another 5 000! In these cases, typically, 50% of my text can be seen without having to come to my blog for the full report. In addition, around 1 500 follow me on Twitter and Facebook and some of these people re-tweet or share the link to followers and friends, and so on. Many of these are, of course, in the first group of those who open the full text, but others will get the headline.

I know this is full of uncertainties but is my headline completely out of the question these days? Now, some readers may remember this from 2016:

Savaged by David Torrance is like being savaged by…..well, whatever, it was still a bit hurtful

and think I have a wee grudge. Well maybe I do but it’s just a wee one after watching the SNP broadcast allegedly spoofing him, twenty times.

Finally, I was a hipster back in the day when it was a real thing – full-beard, jazz collection, Kerouac novels and claiming to be an existentialist. Luckily all photographs have been lost or destroyed after Dylan told me ‘Ah but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now’ and I got out from up my own arse.

Crimson flames tied through my ears, rollin’ high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads using ideas as my maps
“We’ll meet on edges, soon, ” said I, proud ‘neath heated brow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now
Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth, “rip down all hate, ” I screamed
Lies that life is black and white spoke from my skull, I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers foundationed deep, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now
Girls’ faces formed the forward path from phony jealousy
To memorizing politics of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists, unthought of, though somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now
A self-ordained professor’s tongue too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty is just equality in school
“Equality, ” I spoke the word as if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now
In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand at the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy in the instant that I preach
My existence led by confusion boats, mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now
Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now
Songwriters: Bob Dylan
My Back Pages lyrics © Bob Dylan Music Co.