On a train trip south over the weekend I noticed a new road sign on the M8 (during that part of the rail journey that, inconveniently, involved a coach). The sign warned motorists of the reduction in the drink-driving limit, due to come into effect in Scotland on December 5, that is, on Friday.
Scotland’s new First Minister has been much lauded over the past few days for being the only woman ever to hold her job, for appointing a gender-balanced cabinet, for whipping up the massed ranks of her supporters into a frenzy at a rock concert-style gathering in Glasgow. A newspaper launched to promote Scottish nationalism hails “a bright, brand new Scotland”, as if there had been a revolution or, at the very least, a change of government.
A voice of reason has crept into Scottish politics over the past couple of weeks, reminding us that we have more pressing problems than our constitutional future.
Nicola Sturgeon has always been an ambitious politician and her accession to the highest office in Scottish politics in a few days’ time should bring her deep satisfaction.
There is a group of voters in Scotland quite a big group who must feel they are living on another planet. This lot have been largely sidelined by the main political players here, and only emerged from the shadows during the referendum campaign, many at the eleventh hour when they feared Armageddon.
There was a headline in one of the papers on Monday advertising a strange job. “Wanted: self-starter to climb 3,000ft every day.” The role involves scaling, daily, the summit of the treacherous Helvellyn in the Lake District to report on weather conditions and the successful applicant will be paid between £21,394 and £25,240. Oh, and it’s just a winter job, from December to April.
The campaign to get more women involved in politics has been renewed of late, with MSPs from the Labour, SNP, Lib Dem and Green parties demanding some kind of quota system, to redress the gender imbalance in the Holyrood parliament.
One of the main claims of the SNP, and the Yes movement in general, was that it would use Scotland’s wealth to make the country a fairer society. Well, the good news for all those who support such a goal and who wouldn’t? is that the nationalist government at Holyrood can still fulfil this ambition, despite losing the independence argument.
In the past, when your local authority chased you for outstanding council tax you had two choices: pay up promptly or get taken to court. Now it appears there is another option, thanks to the recent pronouncements by Scotland’s Justice Minister.
A funny thing happened during the referendum campaign well, lots of funny things happened. But there was one particularly remarkable experience, at least for a certain section of the electorate.