Remains of the week
After last weekend's excitements – murders in Girvan, Kirkcaldy and Falkirk – the heatwave persisted and tempers were again raised in peace-loving Scotland, where violent crime is falling so dramatically that the Scottish Government actually boasts of it.
In the North Lanarkshire town of Shotts, once known only for its pipe bands, its pits and Peggy Herbison, the practice of cooking dead animals outdoors has gained steadily in popularity, possibly as a result of over-exposure to Australian soap operas. Very early on Sunday morning – at the tender hour of 20 minutes past midnight – a family celebration that had begun the previous day ended in a disagreement of some sort and a man of 41 was fatally stabbed in what the police called 'a large-scale disturbance'. The Daily Record, ever the master of alliteration, colourfully depicted it a 'Barbecue Bloodbath'.
By an odd concidence, at precisely the same time – 12.20am – in the town of Hamilton, there was a 'street disturbance' in which a gun was fired. The police are calling it a 'targeted attack' (whatever that means). It seems that the cooking of food outdoors played no part in this second incident, and The Midgie is gratified to have the assurance of Detective Inspector Kevin Jameson that 'we will not tolerate such brazen criminality'. It would indeed be news if the police did tolerate such brazen criminality.
Is that all? Not quite. The Midgie reads in The Metro – the thing he picks up free on the bus in the morning – that 'a number of people were taken to hospital after a street in a Glasgow suburb desended into a war zone'. Two burnt-out vans were towed away from the scene. A police spokesman said it was more likely to be a case of gang warfare than 'anything related to terrorism'. Again, we must be grateful. But, at the risk of seeming pedantic in the face of such disturbing occurrences, is Stepps really 'a Glasgow suburb'? Is it not more accurately a small town in North Lanarkshire?
The Midgie supposes that, in the unexpected event of rain, the present outbreak of brazen criminality will abate and the Scottish Goverment will quietly resume barbecuing the crime figures. Meanwhile, The Midgie advises people not to live in Lanarkshire and, if they must live in Lanarkshire, to go to bed before midnight and pray rather hard.
Thieves of the week
The elderly customers at a branch of W H Smith in Stirling's Thistle shopping centre who have stolen £6,000 worth of magazines in the last year. The Midgie was intrigued to learn from the shop manager that the titles most often appropriated by male shoplifters are wrestling mags. If you want the Midgie's personal recommendation, look no further than the monthly Wrestling Bad Guys, a perennial favourite in nearby Bonnybridge.
Good advice of the week
'The best way to summon children from their bedroom to the dinner table is not to shout, whistle or sing: just turn off the broadband router' – letter in the Daily Telegraph
Stats of the week
Percentage of men aged 18 to 24 who define themselves as 'completely masculine': 2
Number of people believed to have been drowned in the last year in an attempt to cross into EU territory: 4,000
Number of civil servants employed by the European Commission ('a vast bureaucratic machine' according to the Brexiteers): 33,000
Number of civil servants employed by Britain's very own, non-bureaucratic machine, Revenue and Customs: 60,900
Islay's pic of the week
The thinking man ponders whether his children could be the target of early intervention
Questions of the Week
Is the new 'Top Gear' any good?
Who's going to be the next James Bond?
Answers of the Week
The real meaning of place names
A correspondent in The Times has defined Shoeburyness as 'the vague uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting on a seat that is still warm from somebody else's bottom', while another offers a definition of Epping as 'attempting and failing to attract the attention of a waiter'. The Midgie invites his readers to submit a definition of Ecclefechan. Email your theories to firstname.lastname@example.org