IT’LL be quite something.

At about 9.30pm tonight, my youngest daughter Eleanor and I will sing together on Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Bandstand with Hue And Cry, in front of a sold-out, 2000-strong crowd (she’ll have played her own set earlier).

Other than not klutzing up her harmonies, and trying not to have my heart burst with pride live on stage, I will spare a thought to the generations that have stood before us (and maybe will come after).

My Dad, John Kane, will be on my mind most. Neither John nor my mum May are around to see their son, and their granddaughter, sing together. My father was the real bel canto among us: an adept of Sinatra, Bennett and Monro, with a vibrato that rippled like a field of wheat.

But with three boys and a bought house, his talent only burned at parties and weddings. Overtime at the rail depot in Polmadie was by far the likelier activity to keep the show on the road, than swishing a mike cable across a cabaret stage. (And standing behind my father, his father Pat Kane – an angry Catholic blacksmith, grimly attentive to the respectability of his family.) When I started to push against the occupational, aspirational norms of my parents – lawyer, teacher, priest – and strike out to be a singer, I can’t say my dad wasn’t ambivalent (though he was happy I’d got my English degree first).

And indeed he was right to be worried. I was blundering into the music business, my only musical training an intensive study of Stevie Wonder and Sam Cooke records, and my dad’s crooning lessons from Hoboken-via-Coatbridge. (Though I was luckily harnessed to a talented, multi-instrumental brother.) Greg and I kept blundering away, into some kind of legacy and audience: the very foundation of this evening. But I’ll be looking across the stage at Ellie trilling beautifully, and I’ll feel reasonably happy that, as far as her generation of Kanes are concerned, she found as few constraints on her creative ambition as her parents could manage.

Choirs were joined, rock guitar lessons enabled, a good school maximised, and a loop of Aretha played on the morning and evening car runs. But it takes a willing, open soul to take up the offer.

Ellie’s very much her own young woman; I am delighted to be permanently surprised by the places her artistry takes her.

The National: Eleanor Kane joins her dad Pat on stage tonight at the Kelvingrove Bandstand in GlasgowEleanor Kane joins her dad Pat on stage tonight at the Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow

Much more than any other element of my confused and stressed life at the moment, this is a solid wee story of progress. From frustrated post-war dad, through defiant post-punk son, to fluid post-digital daughter – the urge to sing, to make songs, to be creative, became more amplified and supported over time.

Bully for us, lucky for us, go us. But is that generally the story for the majority of the rest of Ellie’s generation? And if they have ambitions to produce generations of their own – not exactly guaranteed – will they have the same hope I had: that their children could attain yet another level of autonomy and self-possession, establish an even greater distance from the old constraints and scarcities?

My sense is that it’s mixed. And that there might be a shift in attitude between the “millennials”/Gen Y (those born between 1981 and 1996, some of them thinking about parenthood) and Gen Z (those born after ’96).

The Deloitte Annual Millennials Survey for 2019 reports the lowest levels of optimism about the economy and social mobility among this group since their records began.

Half of Gen Y would quit their job in two years; 45% think business has a negative effect, and a majority would happily boycott one that jars with their values.

Religions, politicians and media are majorly distrusted – and solid majorities think social media is affecting their wellbeing and mental health.

They’re not a happy bunch. And thuddingly, only 39% believe they will be better off than their parents (compared to the global average of 51%). Yet those born after 1996 – Gen Z, or as the democratic activist Indra Adnan suggests, ReGen A – would seem to have had enough of tailoring their ambitions to the ever-descending horizons of debt, jobs automation and climate limits.

Their iconic face, of course, is the 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. And all the armies of Friday school strikers, and the youthful enthusiasts of Extinction Rebellion, swarming and jostling behind her.

Their willingness to either put down their smartphones, or deploy their smartphones, for civil disobedience and non-violent direct action, is a welcome disruption of normality. Even the discourse around Gen Ys is mostly about how their lives and young families might be sustained, through upheavals in work and technology.

The Gen Zs, looking at a 12-year window before our climate irreversibly declines (not to mention the coming transformation of work by AI), ask instead: “Sustainable? What’s sustainable about heading full speed towards a brick wall?” They want us to stop, or reverse, or regenerate our path on entirely different principles. But in any case, they believe a simple faith in progress – even a fading faith in progress – is a luxury, when faced with potential catastrophe.

Yet rebellious youth will still need to bring along other generations – who themselves need to find a way to agree with Gen Z, in order to act in solidarity with them. Being burdened with crippling guilt for all that status consumption and heedless international flying (yes, the finger is pointing at this particular Boomer/X-er) might be one trigger.

Though my reading of human nature is that guilt as readily produces evasive action as much as enlightenment.

Perhaps large, abstract policy goals are an easier way for carbon-caked adults like me to support what needs to be done: better than skulking around under the accusatory glare of later generations.

Recently we’ve been basking a little in the approval for Nicola Sturgeon’s TED speech on wellbeing, as a preferred indicator of progress in Scotland. But I think we could tighten this up a little, and copy what the Welsh are doing.

Their 2015 “Wellbeing of Future Generations Act” made it a statutory responsibility for all Welsh government departments to consider that “future generations deserve a fair hearing in present political debates”. They have a Minister for Future Generations, Sophie Howe. She took on her own administration recently and won, effectively cancelling a £1.6 billion M4 relief road around Newport.

This wasn’t just because of its perceived negative future impact on the wetland environment, but because of an anticipation that individual vehicle use in the future could as easily decline (with decarbonisation compelling self-driving cars, car pools and electric cars).

But it’s the underlying thinking here that’s revolutionary.

As philosopher Roman Krznaric wrote recently in BBC Future, “the next democratic revolution – one that empowers future generations and decolonises the future – may well be on the political horizon”.

Krznaric compares our attitude to future generations as similar to colonists who declared their newfound lands to be terra nullius – nobody’s land.

We think of the future as “tempus nullius – an “empty time”, an unclaimed territory similarly devoid of inhabitants”. Well, not for much longer – and especially if today’s youth keep asserting their voice.

Don’t worry, my daughter Ellie and I won’t be thumping a tub tonight. One of the things about rock ’n’ roll is that it can often be its own reward.

Just for us all to be together, enjoying our idealism (or wry wisdom) about the human heart, can be enough of an act of solidarity.

But I’ll be looking out at the audience – some, admittedly, of a certain vintage – and I’ll be wondering: what can we do, politically or otherwise, to give our children, and their children, a future that feels like growth, flourishing, progress? What can we do?