Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The trouble with statistics is that they’re easily skewed and seldom reveal a complete picture.

For example, government statistics reported in the Scottish press today reveal a significant fall in the country’s homicide rate - down 20% on last year - to levels not seen since 1979.

Knife crime, the ugly smudge on Scotland’s copybook, is also down, with homicides involving a ‘sharp instrument’ accounting for 35 of the nation’s 78 homicides last year.

This is excellent news: Scotland now ranks alongside Bulgaria and Romania on the European ‘homicides per head of population’ league table.

The Scottish government was quick to pat itself on the back. Justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, said the success was thanks to the government’s drive to put a thousand extra Scottish police officers on the beat since 2007.

While I agree with the commitment to provide more cops at street level, I dispute Mr MacAskill’s assertion that homicide rates are falling because of his government’s commitment to fighting crime.

Common sense dictates that the gradual reduction in homicide rates over, say, the last hundred years is as much to do with advances made in medicine during the corresponding period. We’ve become much more competent at repairing stab wounds; it’s not necessarily the case that we’re less violent towards one another.

When collating the number of assaults involving knives and ‘sharp instruments’, is the degree of surgery the victim needs recorded? Surely that’s a significant factor in determining whether someone lives or becomes another homicide stat, but I doubt it’s being recorded or analysed.

In my opinion, it's our doctors, paramedics, nurses and surgeons who deserve our thanks, not some spineless politician.

A run of bad luck in theatre - or idiotic funding cuts to the NHS budget - and those homicide rates can skyrocket.

Government statistics? I seldom believe them. They’re too easily manipulated and only slightly more trustworthy than the average politician.


  1. Oooh, Boy! Another 'tell it like it is' commentary! Excellent!

    I spent several hours with politicians, today. Just me-- and two pols sharing one box of pork-fried rice (pork is quite apt for politicians, yes?) one fork, and some crab rangoon. Once upon a time, I would have sworn I would never do such a thing. I believed it was inherent in all politicians to be underhanded. That they must be on the take. That they were easily compromised and therefore... couldn't be trusted.

    I think America's 'system' is designed to corrupt even the most honorable public servant. That they soon discover, no matter how committed they are to making changes and doing the right thing, that they will have NO effect and accomplish nothing--unless they make compromises.

    It is almost impossible to remain true in a system designed to make its participants fail.

    My new representative is a good guy. His face was open and honest, his demeanor sincere, and his body language told me he wants--intends-- to do the right thing for his constituents and for our state. Maybe he'll be one of the few who can remain true.

    I'll be watching. And hoping. It can't hurt to hope, can it?

    Keep telling it like it is. I need that. WE need that.


  2. I hold some hope that your new representative will stay true to his beliefs and values. All too often politicians abandon everything they were - after they've been voted into power, of course.

    Like you say, maybe the system itself is to blame for corruption, if indeed 'corruption' exists.

    Thanks for dropping by, Kazza. It's always good to hear from you :)