I have a tribal allegiance to the Scottish Labour Party. I joined it forty five years ago and have been a member all of my adult life.
But, to be honest, it's pretty much finished.
I could write lots and lots about why that is, in a kind of melancholic way, but the truth is that Jack wasn't Donald, Wendy wasn't Jack, Ian wasn't Wendy, Johann wasn't Ian, Jim wasn't Johann, Kez wasn't Jim and Richard wasn't Kez. I'm ignoring Henry but would remind you in passing that such a person was, despite his utter mediocrity, capable of being, briefly, First Minister of Scotland. Because of the dominance, and hubris, my Party once enjoyed. But this hasn't just been about leaders. They all (except Henry), on assumption of office, promised a different way of "turning things round", from just about every shade of internal Party opinion. And they all, in steadily increasing degrees of failure, have failed.
But while there may be a point about talking about the past, for those who do not lessons the errors of the past are doomed to repeat them, I want instead to talk about the future.
The SNP administrations since 2007 have been, with one exception, utter failures. Nobody thinks education, or health, or transport have been improved under their dismal stewardship, Nobody. Few, except their most rabid partisans, truly tries to maintain otherwise.
Yet they have enjoyed two huge advantages. The first is their one success. It has been to convince a very significant section of the electorate that things cannot possibly get better until we are "free of the English Yoke". Whereupon things will somehow magically improve. You and I might scratch our heads over this but that's not the point. It is an undoubted accomplishment, of sorts.
However their second advantage has been the lack of a competent opposition and, with that, the lack of a credible alternative.
Back in 2016, Ruth Davidson got that. Her platform was, by her own admission, not to make her, there and then, First Minister, but rather Leader of the Opposition. An ambition in which she succeeded.
But, even then, the Nats relaxed in the knowledge that at any future contest, even if the Tories advanced further still, they would still lack allies to threaten the recent SNP hegemony. For the Labour Party would never enter a coalition with the Tories based, alone, on a common commitment to the continuance of the UK.
And that's probably a fair calculation.
Except that the changed landscape of the Brexit Referendum in 2016 may have crept up on them as the Independence Referendum of 2014 crept up on the Scottish Labour Party.
I was going to expand on this thesis, except that I know I have an informed readership, so I will leave you through to think that through for yourselves.
And also to work out why the SNP decided to set their cybernat dogs on Jo Swinson over what was nothing more than a two minute exchange on last Thursday's Question Time. About which Swinson was, on any objective analysis, subsequently proved correct.
An emerging alternative Government of Scotland is......emerging.
The next First Minister of Scotland will clearly be Mike Russell or Derek McKay, because Nicola clearly wont survive the Salmond trial, whatever the verdict. If Henry could get the job, then why shouldn't they? But the First Minister after that?
Things can only get better.