We have to congratulate the Scots on breaking all records - for homicide. With 134 a year in a population of five million-odd, compared with around 858 in 2001/2 for England and Wales with their 55 million population. I make that around half the rate south of the Border, at 16 per million compared to Scotland's mighty 27 per million. Is it just coincidence that Labour have held power there uninterrupted for the last forty years, creating an underclass of considerable dimensions ?
Glasgow manages a rate of 55 per million.
What's so impressive about these figures is that, despite some notorious cases, they've been achieved with little help from their ethnic minority population, who contribute nearly 20% of the homicide suspects for England and Wales (out of 2,605 homicides (table 3.6) committed over a three year period, 495 were cases where the principal suspect was described as black, Asian or 'other'). When we remember that the 'white' population will include Albanians and others from parts of Eastern Europe with a cultural bias towards violence, the native English and Welsh, while still much too murderous for my liking, are positive angels compared with the natives of the Land O'Cakes.
Still, fret ye not. New Improved Scottish Labour have a cunning plan, involving giving homicidal teenagers free housing in an unsuspecting community - sorry, involving a new strategy to "challenge the culture of violence" in Scotland.
She (Scottish Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson) said that, among other measures, Strathclyde Police's Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) would be expanded to create a national "centre of excellence" to share violence prevention best practice across Scotland.
Rolling out initiatives, sharing best practice, centre of excellence, build on the approach - bingo ! All we need is an 'evidence-based' 'homicide Czar' to 'move us forward into the new millennium' and I'll have a full set of managerial buzzwords.
Cathy Jamieson may be totally crap at actually doing anything but she's got the language off brilliantly.
I think this photograph bears a reprint.
Scots Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson successfully launching a campaign against anti-social behaviour.