Saturday 30 December 2023


 I left my office for the holiday at about 1.30pm on 21st December. I hadn't finished working but I was going to Court and not planning to return. It was only as I drove there that it occurred to me that every year since 1978 I had departed work on the last working day before Christmas. as I had just done, for the last time. For  next year I will be retired and, just to discourage any back sliding on that, no longer in procession of a practising certificate. 

However, for the moment, I am back to work on the 3rd and indeed have a quite important trial the next day. My only business emails during the holiday have indeed been emails from that client advising as to lines of cross examination in that matter, most of which are irrelevant, at least one incompetent and even avoiding these pitfalls, others positively lunatic in the cause of securing his acquittal. I'll reply on the 3rd but that is one aspect of the job I will not be missing come Christmas 2024.

Anyway, when I left the office on the 21st I took with me a box of work to be done "over the holiday". I even took it in to the house when I arrived home on that day putting it down on the floor ever since. I'll do it eventually, probably on the evening of 2nd January. It'll still have been done over the holiday, if only just. 

I can't honestly explain the reason for that being anything other than lethargy but that is hardly the worst of the seven deadly sins. Indeed it isn't even one at all. Although sloth is, but who uses the word sloth nowadays? 

The other thing I had resolved to do over the break was to write a blog but, until now, I haven't done that either. And for reasons more complex than my unattended box of work. I had no real idea what to write about.

There are accepted forms for Christmas writing about politics. You can simply reprise the previous twelve months. Or you can draw on that period's unresolved issues to predict how they might play out over the year ahead. Or you can just ignore the past year and predict ahead anyway. And in doing to assert your own politics. But that's been done in spades by professional writers ranging in views from "We will finally see the benefits of Brexit" to "The treatment of Jeremy Corbyn will yet cost Labour a landslide." Neither of things will come to pass but people have to make a living, so, particularly at Christmas, they should be left to get on with it.

In Scotland there have been a few of these similar pieces, mostly themed around "Alright, the SNP are going to get gubbed at the General Election but the cause of Independence is not dead," This kind of ignores the fact than in democracies elections are quite important events's Christmas. The other side, my side, have been quieter, appreciating that patience is a virtue, although if you were so inclined you might have been tempted to inquire that if the SNP might yet retain 20+ seats then where exactly are these seats?  But it  is, I remind myself, Christmas.

So what would I write about. At all?

It won't be 2024, for that's been done, But it won't be 2025 either. For I suspect that will be quite a boring year. No. my interest is 2026, May in particular, The date of the next Scottish Parliament election. 

The SNP. in office for nearly thirteen years now have completely run out of ideas about the Government of Scotland. They never were that much possessed but, under Salmond, they did at least have some. Not least demonstrating that they could govern Scotland as competently as the Labour Party. Which, between 2007 and 2011 they did, and earned their electoral reward. But more recently they have failed in that task. And Labour is reaping the fruits of that. But despite the manifest talents of Jackie and Anas, not yet sufficiently well in Holyrood polling at least. 

You see public services in Scotland are a shambles but Labour's alternative, beyond the rather abstract idea of making them "more efficient" is non existent. We are, for example, also in favour of a National Care Service, just not the one promised, but now pretty much abandoned, by the SNP. We want to "improve" Education provision but not to the extent of abandoning the "Curriculum for Excellence" which seems to me to be a large part of the problem but which, whisper it, was developed under our own Party's stewardship before 2007.  I could go on,

I am no Blairite but the 1997 landslide was on the back of two different things coming together: the Tories having run out of ideas and we, on the other hand, having new ideas, The new ideas were not an afterthought, But currently, in the world of Scottish Labour, it is assumed they can be. 

However they can't be if we want to win not just in 2024 but in 2026.

Happy New Year when it comes.