Antisocial Behaviour on Buses

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 14 December 2023.

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Photo of Fulton MacGregor Fulton MacGregor Scottish National Party

I accept what Mr Simpson said, but I do not think that he was very clear. I wonder what young people and organisations that support them might have thought.

Mr Simpson might have said that we are talking about a minority, but I will develop my point about why he was not clear.

Antisocial behaviour is on the rise, as has been discussed, but that indicates that there are bigger issues in our society. My experience from my previous job before becoming an MSP tells me that, nine times out of 10, the root cause of such societal disorder is the poverty that has been caused by Mr Simpson’s United Kingdom Government. He did not mention that. Had he done so, I would not be speaking in the debate. There is a sense of hopelessness and helplessness among our young people. That does not excuse antisocial behaviour—I have said that, and I am happy to go back to that, but if we are going to have a conversation on this topic, it cannot be devoid of that point.

When Covid is added to the mix, we see that we have not experienced anything like this group of young people have. We would probably have to go back to the second world war to find a generation that has experienced such disruption to their lives, but there was no mention of that from Mr Simpson, which is why I said that he has not been clear. Had he brought in those factors, I would have thought, “Okay, it is something that he is quite passionate about, but he has made reference to those factors.”

Any actions that we take as a Government or a society must have solutions in mind. We must think about what our young people can do and what they can invest in, because they have absolutely nothing just now. Youth work is one answer. I know that that is not in Fiona Hyslop’s portfolio, but I will take the opportunity to say that youth work has to be looked at as a possible solution in the upcoming budget. We could enhance youth work services, because when youth work is done well, it keeps young people away from getting involved in bother.

I put my money where my mouth is. I have been contacted by supermarkets in my constituency that experience antisocial behaviour. It is not the same behaviour that happens on buses—I agree—but it is still antisocial behaviour. I have called meetings for early in the new year, but I have been very clear when bringing in agencies and organisations that the meetings will not vilify young people.