Friday, July 3, 2020

A Difficult Week For Glasgow

It has been a week of strangeness.

More than usual.

I’m sure we have all witnessed the anti-racism protests of the last few weeks and some Scottish voices on social media have been extremely vigorous in their support of the movement which is as it should be. 

But, and there always is a but every story is twisted in the eye of the beholder to suit their version of the world.

There was a terrible stabbing incident in Glasgow last week right in the city centre. The first reports ( confused and untrue)  on social media came through within minutes saying that a man was running riot with a knife and had killed 3 people including a police officer. It was reported that he was black so there was a presumption for a very short while of a terrorist attack similar to those seen in London last summer. The city centre was closed down. Police with firearms were on the street in a very rapid response. They shot the knife man dead. One cop (unarmed) no doubt the first responder, had been stabbed and was critical in hospital, three others had also been stabbed but none of them fatal thankfully. 

The police politely asked that the public stop sharing the images of people bleeding on the streets but  it then became obvious that those victims were of the same ethnic background as the attacker.

It slowly emerged that one refugee with mental health problems had turned on some other refugees at the city centre hotel where they were staying. He had been troubled by an upset stomach and had been very distressed at the quality of food they were being served. No doubt a symptom of his illness rather than the reason for the rage. 

The image of a hotel for refugees does not conjure up the very pleasant city centre hotel where it happened. It was a typical Marriot /Holiday Inn type of establishment. It was empty due to COVID so at the announcement of lockdown the council moved refugees from around Glasgow in to it. And that seems to be the start of the trouble. 

One argument is that they should have stayed where they were out in the community, and for those who had suffered so much to get here and had gained some footage in their surroundings maybe moving them again without their consent was not the best thing to do. The other argument is that we were in a pandemic refugees are notorious for not being traceable and it was better to centralize them in a very nice establishment where they could be monitored without restriction. 

"Refugee charity urges ‘dignified response’ to Glasgow knife attack"

Everybody will make a full recovery and I think its fair to say that the deceased did not receive the help he needed for his mental health problems although various agencies had tried to intervene. 

A sad story all round with rights and wrongs on both sides.

On social media was the mantra that if you are in Glasgow, it doesn't matter the colour of your skin,  you are Glaswegian. 

Somebody threatened this statue. It was then surrounded in traffic cones for  some protection.
They didn't stay one the ground for long.
 The Duke Of Wellington  is now wearing a BLM facemask.
And a lot of cones.

Then with regard to covid, England put plans in place to open up totally. Wales is still in lockdown as their R number is still a bit tasty. Scotland’s R number is nearing 0 and Nicola quite rightly is determined to keep it that way. 

Last weekend was one of the hottest on records crowds flocked to the beaches on the South coast of England. A friend who lives in Bournemouth could not get out her driveway for two days. And all public toilets were closed, cafés were still closed so the mass of sun worshipers were urinating in gardens, defecating in crisp packets  and leaving them on the beach.  There was 5 metric tonnes of rubbish on one beach alone. 

So everybody can see that spike coming. There was another outbreak in the north of England just over the border and this has led to calls on social and mainstream media for the border to be closed. I confess that sensible people have no idea where the debate came from because nobody actually suggested it. 

When this was going on Scotland had a 5 mile limit where we could drive or cycle to for work or to tend to animals etc. The English had all travel restrictions lifted and it was feared they would come North to enjoy the weather. I’m not sure if many of them did but there certainly is a small cluster in Dumfries and Galloway and after 3 or 4 days of no deaths we are now reporting 1 death and 9 people in intensive care. 

My attitude is sensible people will be sensible and stupid risk takers will remain exactly that. I would have taken a crop spraying helicopter full of bright green food dye along those beaches down south and sprayed every one of them so that sensible people could avoid them in the street. 

But some of those were so supportive of the refugees,  are now on  social media  with extremely racist, and unpleasant  comments on the English. And unionists. 

To me you don’t pick and choose. 

As I write this on Friday the travel restrictions on Scotland have been lifted but the situation of public toilets being closed remains, Cafes are closed etc. So that limits travel somewhat. And it has to be said that Nicola being a lawyer, is being very risk averse. Some would say a little too much as some of the regulations make no sense at all – what shops can open and what shops can’t etc. Osteopaths can work but hypnotherapists can’t. 

She also announced yesterday that masks will be mandatory in all shops, which should have happened sooner IMHO.  The  debate is ongoing between the teaching unions and the government re when and how children are going back to school but it is happening. 

Self contained accommodation and beer gardens can reopen but the 5 mile restriction remains down in Dumfries due to their outbreak. The 2 metre distancing remains in dropping to 1 metre at the end of next week if it's safe to do so  in that place. When bars and restaurants open names and addresses must be taken to allow contact tracing. 

And I don’t even understand the rules for people between 12 and 17 who can inhabit a bubble but only 1 day per week if there’s an r in the month and if they all have clean socks on, or something like that.

Hope all the bloggers and blog readers are doing well wherever you are. There is light at the end of the tunnel but I feel it's going to be a  very long tunnel.


  1. Thanks for putting this in perspective for us, Caro. It was NOT easy to deduce what was happening from the news.

  2. I fear that the light at the end of our (US) tunnel is a freight train roaring straight at us with you know who at the throttle.

    The UK faces a similar problem, and our respective citizenry is left adrift to figure out on its own what is meant by what it hears from those in power...sort of like how Dustin Hoffman's character felt in "Marathon Man," as Laurence Olivier stood above him, drill in hand, asking, "Is it safe?"

    If things continue as disjointed as they are, I'm not sure when we'll ever know the answer to that question.

  3. And then we have my state, Oregon, where the Governor issued a mandatory "masks in indoor public spaces" order a couple of days ago, and then 4 State Troopers (police) entered local coffee shop sans masks, and when confronted by the coffee shop service people, they used refused to don masks, used the f-word to describe the governor, and finally left.

    Then, this morning, there's news that the federal regulators have removed most of the limits put on big banks regarding their investing in risky things (like high-risk mortgages, etc.) that were put in place in 2010 after the last crash. So, all doubt has been removed regarding where our economy is headed.

    Aside from all of that, life is good. :-)

  4. It is reassuring, Caro, to read about your incomprehensible rules. In Cape Town, we have a wonderful promenade that stretches for kilometres along Table Bay. With restrictions less severe than they were, it is heavily used. Legally. However, one cannot go onto the beach a few metres away, even if walking. But one can go onto the rocks between the beaches. Needless to say, there is ample comment that the idiocy in the regulations stems from the colour of the minister making them.