The Scottish Government is taking a summer breather from running around in circles shouting their most overused words, referendum and Brexit.
But even during their holidays will they recognise that David Strang, Scotland’s inspector of prisons, has dangled before their eyes a huge opportunity to produce an idea?
Some of you will remember when politicians had ideas.
Mr Strang, concerned that most short-term jailbirds reoffend within a year and that our prisons are overcrowded, has called upon a re-think over sentencing.
If a conviction is less than 12 months, he says, forget packing-off the baddie to Peterhead, Castle Huntly or Polmont, where young offenders are locked up.
He’d rather see a bigger concentration on community pay-back and higher fines.
Now for the idea.
Local authorities are cash-starved which means public service infrastructure projects are slow to get off the ground.
Aberdeen, like most other towns and cities, has a major problem with pot-holed roads, of which we have complained for several years with little progress.
Couldn’t we assemble squads of offenders, the thieves and vagabonds and others involved in crimes for which they might be put behind bars for anything up to a year, to fix our roads?
That would be their punishment, their rehabilitation which, many would argue, would be far more beneficial to them and to the taxpayer than being locked-up for six months and learning how to be a full-time villain.
So, come on Nicola Sturgeon and Michael Matheson – he’s the low-profile justice secretary – let’s see a bit of oomph from you both.
Scotland needs ideas and innovation from the Holyrood cabinet, a group of people which has produced pathetically few since the SNP was swept into power a decade ago.
City council dragged its feet on ‘affordable homes’
Isn’t it time we erased the mysterious phrase “affordable housing” from local authority language?
What does it mean? A home is only affordable if the occupant can, well, afford it.
Remember those words “council houses”?
That phrase is now deemed old fashioned.
They call it “social housing”.
Despite pledges to build many more council houses than it has delivered, Aberdeen City Council has dragged its feet on the issue as they seem to have concentrated too much on building affordable houses.
Ban on high heel dress codes should be welcomed
If reincarnation is a reality then please don’t bring me back as a woman, at least not one expected to wear high-heeled shoes.
The call by researchers at the University of Aberdeen for an outright ban on dress codes that require female employees to wear high heels must be welcomed.
If men were forced to pull on stiletto shoes such employer expectations would simply not exist.