What happened yesterday in Norway defies description and is beyond belief.
Information on the massacres is, of course, changing all the time but the last time I heard the news (having sat through three quarters of an hour of speculation, yes speculation, that Amy Winehouse was dead), was that 92 people had died and there were many still missing.
The apparent perpetrator of the crimes is Anders Behring Breivik, who is described by police as a 'Christian fundamentalist with extreme right-wing views', which just goes to prove, yet again, that regardless of which particular religion or political affiliation, the words ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘extremist’ should fill us with grave concern.
Those he murdered were kids; good kids who were spending time at a summer camp, talking politics, listening to senior international statesmen and women, of which Norway has a number disproportionate to its size, and discussing their views. They came from towns and villages all over the country, a small country like our own. There is hardly a family in the country which hasn’t been touched, by knowing someone, or knowing someone who knows someone, who was directly involved.
I have no idea what it must have been like on that island, or indeed in the political centre of Oslo. Nor can I begin to imagine how it must feel to be one of the parents, friends, relatives of a dead or missing teenager, or of a traumatised kid who has seen hell and lost friends in the most awful way. There’s no use me trying. You can’t unless you’ve been through something like this yourself.
I just know that it haunts me.
And I know too, that no one would have expected it to happen in beautiful, rich, sleepy, reputedly rather dull Norway. Rather like no one would expect it to happen in Scotland.
But it could.
Inadequate though it is, my thoughts are with the people of Norway who have lost or who have been hurt in some other way by this outrage.