East Lothian Courier – 16 November 2023


The rioting around 5th November was disgraceful. It was also unprecedented. I recall when I served as Justice Secretary meeting officers undergoing such training. I also met other officers who had been either south of the border or in Northern Ireland providing support when policing there was in danger of being overwhelmed by civil disturbances.

But I never imagined that they’d need to be deployed on Scottish streets. It’s why stern action must be taken against those who were attacking police and other emergency services. It’s simply unacceptable, cannot be condoned or excused. It’s not simply hooliganism but nihilistic behaviour, endangering not just officers and other public servants but folk in the area.

. I know Niddrie well having represented it for many years and till sitting on the board of some charities and voluntary services there. The folk are decent despite the hardship in the area. They unreservedly condemn the few who besmirch the area.

There is also though a wider issue with fireworks the legislation of which is reserved to Westminster as they are in fact classified as explosives. Indeed, though, that’s what some of the larger products that are made really are. It’s why I’ll be pushing for action and if Westminster wont then it should be devolved so that Holyrood can.

Sparklers are fine for kids. But we’re at a stage where the larger ones should be very tightly regulated and only able to be used at licensed events which operate under strict supervision and ensure the safety of the public.

On the issue of youth disorder there’s also the abuse of bus passes for youngsters. They are a good thing allowing them to access work, college or friends. But as with fireworks its being abused. Disorder is occurring on buses and even other youngsters going about their business are being assaulted. It’s why to protect drivers and other passengers of whatever age there should be the ability to withdraw the pass for a short period. After all a parent would ground a youngster for misbehaviour. Maybe that should happen here with the pass taken away.