After yet another of those holiday weekends, the ones which saw The Urchins attend school for only a handful of days throughout April, with another four days off this month, we try to get back, slowly, to normality. In an early run on The Grasshopper I enjoyed a continuation of the warmest and sunniest spell of weather that Scotland has enjoyed at this time of year, rueing though the chill east wind that brought frosts to the ground and tears to the eyes even on the downhill stretches.
Hard it is though to believe that we are but two days from what I believe will be a significant day for Scotland, a change for the better, and the next tiny steps in what will be a long process. Yes, we go to the polls on Thursday, and I believe will re-elect the First Minister at the head of an SNP Government for a second term.
That in itself will hopefully bring to an end the days of outright oppositionism which may just bring to an end the might of the Labour Party in these parts. They face a period of navel gazing, a change in leadership and in a number of faces in their front bench team. Scotland has woken, and realised that this inept bunch are not what our future needs. There are suggestions that the Labour Party has realised that all is not well; even the BBC are silent with no political blogs for days on end.
Before then we have one more leaders’ debate. Tomorrow night it comes live on STV, hopefully an improvement on the tame fare offered by the BBC on Sunday. Going out late at night, recorded and edited, after hand-picking the audience, withdrawing some invites on the basis of overload, whilst still advertising seats, allocated if the ‘right’ party was preferred, and evidenced by empty seats in the hall, just leads to continued evidence of a failure in impartiality from our state-funded broadcaster. Glenn Campbell seemed to better than was feared, but Ponsonby tomorrow, live, will offer no preferences. It seems that the last throw of the dice from Labour may be the Independence question – they are after all the only ones raising it. the answer, for now, is that we the people should have the right to decide our future, after four years of unionists blocking the holding of a referendum. Salmond wants to give the people their say, quite rightly pointing out that the decision will put the matter to rest for at least a generation, regardless of the vote cast. If he can get another four or five years of good governance under his belt then he may just get the result he seeks, but that is a decision for another day. For now he is right to argue that we should have the right to make that choice.
But today, the entire press is quiet on the election front. There have been other monumental events, surpassing even the brouhaha over the wedding bash on Friday and all that goes with it. We wake to find a nervous world. Osama bin Laden has been murdered in Pakistan, capture and trial not being part of the remit, by US troops, witnessed live by the President, and just a day or so after murder in Libya, with Gadaffi’s youngest son and three of his grandchildren casualties in a rocket attack. The world awaits reprisals.
And so Scotland’s politics is off the front pages, even in Scotland. But Labour’s expected demise is widespread, with many newspapers now finally endorsing Salmond’s case. It has taken four hard years, but if he can continue to progress in the next five years, then we could be at the start of an exciting future, with a better Scotland for my children and grandchildren.
Meantime the sun continues to shine. Usually I will have heard my first cuckoo of the year, the first Sunday in May being a diary date for that, but it needs a still day, and though we have sun and warmth the air has not been still, or silent. Indeed on The Grasshopper the wind in my ears was enough to hide from me the creeping presence of a car behind. The horn nearly caused me to fall off as I struggled uphill and into the wind, staggering over the middle of the road. But all was well.
And so Scotland waits, and hopes, and the world waits as Americans hoot and holler as if a putt on a Ryder Cup green has just gone in the hole. What next?