Friday, September 19, 2014

Where They Didn't Care About Independence One Way Or The Other

Any journalist could have done his report on Scotland's vote for independence from the big cities. It would have been quite easy for RTE's Philip Boucher-Hayes to stand on a corner in Dundee, maybe in front of some polling station, and ask passersby what they were thinking or how they voted or what they thought it all meant.

Philip Boucher-Hayes is no ordinary journalist.
Now the voice of experience

He wanted to get to the heart of the matter. Into the belly of the beast. so to speak. So he went to an area where social welfare is the main source of income. He selected an area near Edinburgh that is known less for its fine single malt scotch and more for its crime statistics.

Mr. Boucher-Hayes knows crime. He co-hosts an entire programme on crime so he felt that he was capable of conducting interviews among those who weren't concerned with economies of scale and EU membership because they have other things to worry about, like where they'll get enough money to put shoes on a child's feet.

The reporter soon discovered that his press credentials offer little in the way of protection and the fact that he's a journalist makes no difference to those who earn their keep by stealing from others.

The man who reports on crime in Ireland became a victim of crime in Scotland.

We'll never know if the robber voted yes or no, or what he thinks of the whole independence thing. Mr. Boucher-Hayes' recording equipment was stolen. In a high-crime neighborhood outside of Edinburgh.

He was likely stunned after some strange Scotsman grabbed the goods, too shocked to fight back. Once the items were out of his possession, he would have stood little chance of getting them back unless he was swifter than the thief, or at least much bigger. A good pummeling of a smaller opponent and the interview could be pursued, but Mr. Boucher-Hayes isn't such a young man any more and a physical altercation might have been too risky.

There was the reporter with nothing to record the interviews he was intending to conduct, and there was a mugger with equipment that he would have a hard time fencing because it was so easily identifiable. He'd have to sit on it for weeks, and what good would that do if he needed cash immediately? A drug habit is a hungry beast. as is alcoholism or any other number of addictions that would keep someone from working.

The mugger was a quick study, however. He offered to sell the goods back to the original owner for a couple of hundred pounds.

What was Mr. Boucher-Hayes to do but pay the exorbitant fee? He was dead in the water without the tools of his trade.

Such irony. The man who fields calls about Irish crime was soon making his own call to the authorities, two hundred pounds lighter, but with his equipment in hand. In case he wanted to interview the police who responded to the mugging. Maybe ask them about the vote and how it might affect the average Scottish junkie.

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