The great cutlery crackdown

Yes, Scotland (and particularly the West of Scotland) has a huge problem with knife crime. But come on…

AN ANGRY restaurant boss has hit out after being rapped for leaving steak knives lying on outdoor tables. He has vowed to take on Glasgow City Council after being asked to remove around 20 knives from tables in Merchant Square.

The story’s from last night’s Evening Times, which explains that Sizzler’s steakhouse has been rapped for putting cutlery on tables. The “outdoor” bit is plain wrong: Merchant Square is an enclosed terrace, which is used by several different restaurants.

Critics said the knives were potentially lethal weapons and should only be brought to tables when food is served.

*sighs*

23 thoughts on “The great cutlery crackdown

  1. Squander Two says:

    I said to JC the other day: “Scotland is broadly left-wing, but I think the Executive are considerably further to the Left than the general population.”
    He replied: “They’re actually starting to get a bit Eastern-European about things.”

    I reckon Scotland’s heading for a 1979. Things will get worse and worse and worse, and then, in about twenty years, there’ll be a backlash and you’ll elect someone like Thatcher. Instead of people getting pissed off with the streets being piled high with rubbish, though, they’ll get pissed off that they have to sort the rubbish into eight different categories and wash it all before it’s collected every five weeks by men with pensions bigger than Clinton’s.

  2. Tony Kiernan says:

    Not that it matters, but I don’t think Sizzlers uses the inside of Candleriggs. So, it was really on the street.

    One day, I’m going to master the knife-scanners/speed-cameras analogy that keeps coming into my mind.

  3. Gary says:

    Hmmm, maybe it’s changed since the last time I went – the outdoor tables were definitely inside, if you know what I mean.

  4. Gary says:

    Well in this case it’s Glasgow Council rather than the Exec, but yeah – the Exec is largely made up of the same kind of people. I think the main problem with the Exec is that they’ve got in by apathy – I’ve absolutely no idea who represents me in the Scots parliament, and if I recall correctly only about three scots voted in the last election. About seven people voted in the last council elections. But of course, our elected reps take the fact they’ve got power as a 100% mandate. We arra people, and that.

  5. Tony Kiernan says:

    Glasgow City Council are possibly the most draconian(?) local authority in Britain. Always have been. It’s what really puts the kibosh on all that smiley kulchur stuff. There’s a real insular, small-mindedness to the place.

  6. Squander Two says:

    “Draconian” is arguably the wrong word for them. As my mother-in-law never tires of pointing out, Draconian laws may have been a tad strict, but they were also among the fist to be properly codified so that everyone knew exactly where they stood. GCC, on the other hand, have different rules for different people. Especially their friends. Sauchiehall Street pedestrianisation, anyone? Every time they finished it, they rippeed it up and started again, just so their road-buildnig friends could get plenty of public money out of it.

    My sister says it’s very apparent when you deal with them on a professional basis. Every important official you get introduced to is the brother or cousin or uncle of the person introducing you. And, while most local councils have, you know, procedures and stuff, GCC are extremely, er, informal.

  7. Tony Kiernan says:

    Oh, so how do I get myself a job in this old boys firm. Ahem…

    My question mark after the draconian wasn’t the normal spelling thing, more knowing it wasn’t the right word. I suppose if you lok at the ‘nanny’ state, then Glasgow is actually the worst kind of parenting. Wanting to appear a happy, perfect family on the outside by beating the children and locking them up half the time. Hmmm. Maybe not the best analogy.

    I jut reckon that if you want a reputation as a cosmopolitan cafe-society type modern/affluent city you need to accept that there is crime in London, Paris, New York, Munich too. “oh, let’s ban drink on the streets…let’s stop clubs opening late…oh, curfew…oh, can’t show that Monty Python film with our sectariansim…”

  8. Squander Two says:

    The thing about all those measures — banning drinking outside, curfews, etc — is that they’re all alternatives to having the police enforce existing laws effectively.

    > London, Paris, New York, Munich

    Spot the odd one out. New York’s one of the safest places on the planet. Glasgow has a serious violence problem. Highest murder rate of any European city — including Belfast during the Troubles. I don’t think that for the authorities to simply accept that would be the right thing to do. Getting Scottish prosecution rates above 50% might help a bit more than curfews, though. And it might be an idea to tell the police that people are entitled to call 999 even if they do live in Castlemilk.

  9. Gary says:

    > they’re all alternatives to having the police enforce existing laws effectively.

    True. And the laws are definitely applied selectively, so you’ve got more chance of being done for drinking a bottle of wine on a picnic than slugging back Bucky before stabbing someone in the eyes. I can’t speak for the whole of Scotland, naturally, but when I lived in Ayrshire the cops were widely regarded to have an attitude of “let them all kill each other then we’ll come along when it’s all over”. And when I worked in Clydebank the people I worked with made the scurrilous suggestion that the CCTV in the town centre was used by the cops so they could watch trouble and, again, wait until it was over before turning up.

    Whether that’s true or not I have no idea, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.

    I’m sure I’ve told you this before but my old home town was something of a performance car capital, with sierra cosworths and the like hammering around the place. The cops were given a diesel Maestro (famously one of the slowest cars you could ever drive) with a strict 35-mile maximum per shift.

  10. Squander Two says:

    My favourite saying is fast becoming “Incentives matter.”

    Widespread police CCTV coverage was first tried in Newcastle, because they had a serious closing-time fisticuffs problem, and, by all accounts, it worked brilliantly: the police could see trouble as soon as it started, and up they would promptly turn. But what they were doing was applying pre-CCTV thinking to CCTV technology. Fine at first, but trouble occurs when the technology becomes more widespread and the thinking starts to catch up with it. I wonder who was the first bright spark to realise that CCTV enabled the police to get a very high chance of arresting a criminal without having to confront them mid-crime. And then someone realised that the police could get more arrests and solve more crimes if they concentrated their efforts on reviewing footage — i.e. staying in the station — rather than going out.

  11. Squander Two says:

    Sorry, meant to add:

    From the point of view of trying to get a conviction, the more CCTV footage of the crime, the better. The earlier the police turn up and break up a fight, the more leeway for the accused’s lawyer to argue that the crime wasn’t that serious or that the police misunderstood the situation. Get the entire mugging on tape and you stand a better chance of convicting. Of course, this involves not helping the victim, but hey. Incentives matter.

    See also the police’s official advice about what to do when you’re attacked: on no account ever fight back; curl up in a ball so that potential witnesses are left in no doubt as to who’s the victim.

  12. Stephen says:

    You’re right: I guess I’m lucky there were no witnesses when I fought off a mugger a few years back: I can see, in my mind’s eye, the chief prosecution witness: “And then, the poor man, he just turned and ran. Can’t say I blame him, after being so viciously beaten with an umbrella. He nearly dropped his knife!”

    I’d probably be up for parole about now.

  13. Gary says:

    > Of course, this involves not helping the victim, but hey. Incentives matter.

    Oh, of course. These things are inevitable.

    Incidentally, Stephen: I’ve tried and failed to get commenter recognition to work, but FWIW my copy of Firefox is happily remembering the details via its autofill feature. Not ideal I know, but the alternative is about ten years of template fiddling and unfortunately I’m under deadline mountain just now.

  14. Gary says:

    > Oh, so how do I get myself a job in this old boys firm.

    I can teach you the handshake if you like ;)

  15. Stephen says:

    >Incidentally, Stephen: I’ve tried and failed to get commenter recognition to work, but FWIW my copy of Firefox is happily remembering the details via its autofill feature. Not ideal I know, but the alternative is about ten years of template fiddling and unfortunately I’m under deadline mountain just now.

    Oh, of course, don’t let my RSI get in the way of your deadlines! I’ll just rely on the NHS then, shall I? ;-)

    I have autofill turned on in the Mac but for some reason it was off at work: didn’t notice before now for some reason. (Maybe I fill in fewer forms at work.) Anyway, I think it’s a pretty good alternative.

  16. Gary says:

    I will get it fixed eventually, but for now it’s beyond me. The problem seems to be a template one: if I go for the default template then it remembers commenters, but the template I’ve gone for has a completely different comments structure. I was hoping it’d be a matter of C&Ping the necessary javascript from one template to another, but all that did was lock me out of the comments system altogether.

  17. Stephen says:

    Javascript: shudder. I can manage PHP and even a bit of Ruby on Rails but for some reason Javascript is just hellish to work with.

  18. Gary says:

    Yeah, that’s the problem. Kubrick’s structure is completely different, so it’s not just a matter of copying Kubrick code to this template. Bah.

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