Shoppers ignored a dying man as he lay slumped on the pavement in broad daylight in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. It took nearly two hours before someone came to the aid of the man, in his 50s, lying outside a row of busy shops with a shopping bag, containing milk, by his side.
Alarmed passer-by Tony Poll, 33, dialled 999 when he saw the man. "Even as I stopped to help, people were saying 'leave him, he's just drunk'," he said.
"I knew he was dead when I stopped and I honestly believe if someone had rung earlier it would have been a different story."
The report mentions 'Britain's walk-on-by' society which I consider unfair to Scotland and the majority of Scots. When I was a teenager I went to work in various parts of England and the biggest cultural difference was the lack of interest people have in each other. It shocked me then and I can still feel tremors of insecurity writing about it.
Of course that was in the 60s and some will say society was different then. Of course it was. But in the large cities of England there was something missing even then; something the Scots had and still have. That was their interest in their fellow man. Many cities in England are much larger than Dundee where I grew up but even today I never feel insular in the busy streets of Glasgow or Edinburgh in the same way as I do in London or Birmingham.
Perhaps I'm beginning to look at my homeland through rose-tinted glasses but I can't imagine any person lying for two hours on the pavement of a busy Scottish city.
Not so long ago I was speaking with a couple who had moved to Scotland from the south east. Both had spent many holidays here and always intended to retire somewhere north of the border. The conversation turned to neighbours and how they had not really known their previous neighbours at all well. My contribution was along the lines of: "If your curtains are closed all day in this area, someone will be sure to notice and ask if you're ok,"- only to be met with the retort, "I've forgotten how nosy the Scots were."
Therein lies the difference. What one person translates as concern for others can be translated as nosiness by another. It's a fine line, but I'd much prefer to be called nosy that disinterested in my fellow man. It could save a life and it's well worth the insult.