LET’S face it, there is no political season of goodwill. Season of illwill, more like.

You don’t expect much else from the likes of Douglas Ross whose ­performance at FMQs gives cracked records a run for their ­money. If the Scottish Government threw shedloads of money they don’t have at the business community, the man in part-time black would still find a way to whinge.

You do expect rather more from the ­Labour Party, who used to be in favour of ­progressive taxation. Who used to say that taxes were society’s way of funding public services; investing in care for those who need it most. Who used to be, well, the ­people’s party.

Now all they want for Christmas is an election victory at any cost to what used to be their founding principles. I think the Starmerites and Reevsians misread the ­public mood. Sure, most voters are sick of the shoddy apology for government headed up by a series of unelected pretenders to the UK throne.

Most of them, save those who take their “intellectual” cue from ­MailOnline, or live in the southernmost English ­counties most affected, are not obsessed with ­migration. Most of them are not daft enough to think that passing a law saying Rwanda is safe miraculously makes it so.

You might as well pass a law saying that all Scottish and Welsh people are actually English. And then duck!

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Most voters are too utterly preoccupied with keeping their family show on the road, the weans fed and the rent/mortgage paid, to have the mental bandwith to give much of a toss about the latest Cabinet ­insanity.

It speaks volumes about the quality of ­Conservative appointments in Scotland that the Secretary of State for Scotland – one of life’s more redundant titles post ­Holyrood – has been able to plight his troth in succession to Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak without batting so much as an eyelid. Just give me a script and I’ll ­follow it, old chap. Oh and could you see your way clear to a cushy peerage later?

Meanwhile, a proper prospective Labour government wouldn’t take office acting like a pallid imitation of what’s gone before, but would be flying every available flag for social justice and equality of opportunity. People understand that a likely Labour ­government will find the magic money tree already devoid of foliage.

But they need hope as well as change. They need to know there is vision in there somewhere. And ambition beyond the fact of victory. The Labour Party in Scotland is not London Labour and shouldn’t ever be sounding like it. The way to stop being a branch office is to cut the phone lines to head office. And locate a backbone.

The SNP, as we know, have not had their sorrows to seek. And find themselves trapped in legal limbo until McPlod ­finally ­concludes what must be one of the ­longest police inquiries ever. Not a below-the-­radar one either. Who can forget the ­image of a blue and white roofed tent such as normally used to cover the exhumation of a murder victim? Instead, plonked on the former FM’s front garden.


All of which gave the incoming First Minister the honeymoon from hell. ­Actually didn’t give him one at all.

Sound and fury from the opposition ranks was to be expected. Yet the level of vitriol from those purporting to support independence but who have taken their bat and ba’ elsewhere must have been something of a shock.

You can understand political disillusionment – not least as we approach the tenth anniversary of the 2014 referendum and the 25th anniversary of that spine ­tingling moment when, in the words of Winnie Ewing, the Scottish Parliament was “reconvened”.

However, when disappointment spills over into contemptuous personal attacks, it surely can give no comfort to anyone who genuinely believes the Union has had its day. Worse still, it does much of the ­Unionists’ work for them. They say ­divided parties don’t win elections. ­Divided ­movements don’t succeed either.

It would be a dewy-eyed optimist who concluded that Holyrood can’t do ­better. Or that it’s always capable of proper ­legislative scrutiny. Or that its priorities are ever reflective of the greatest need of the greatest number.

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Just the same, having a parliament of our own, albeit a devolved government rather than the real deal, is a massive step towards fulfilling the dream of normal statehood.

Mind you, Unionists are no more a homogenous body than the independence camp. There are those who still believe that despite being given endless Tory ­administrations for which their country did not vote, clinging to nurse for fear of something worse is where it’s at.

There are those who know the model is broken and constantly promote fresh tinkering around the edges. And there are those with real concerns about their ­future income level.

To that latter camp, I would only ­observe that the current UK pension is ­impoverished compared with the ­European average, and that rather than being fearful of their own future, they might ponder that of their grandweans.

The latter, as it happens, is the ­demographic most enthusiastic about ­independence. Most optimistic about ­giving Scotland back to the Scots. They look at the world, they look at the ­membership of Europe – some of whom are positively tiny – and wonder if ­somehow Scotland is uniquely devoid of the necessary talent to govern itself. Spoiler – it’s not.

Yet there is little doubt that the ­electorate as a whole has rarely been more scunnered with its political classes. In truth, you can’t blame them.

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Anyone who watched the ­Baroness ­Moanalot squirm her way through her recent interview cannot help but be depressed by the practices at ­Westminster.

It’s not a crime to lie to the media, she trilled. Indeed not, sweetie, but the lie that mattered was your serial insistence that neither you nor your man had any ­connection to a company which ­magically sprang into being when there was a fast and big buck to be made from other ­people’s suffering.

Thanks to the Covid Inquiry and the tenacity of journalists like Peter Geoghegan, we know all about that tacky VIP lane where some lined their pockets with life-altering sums of money.

And, not at all coincidentally, long-standing providers of decent medical protective clothing waited in vain for their calls to be returned.

People argue that the inquiry is too focused on personal shortcomings and should spend more time learning the lessons of how and why we failed. We certainly need to do that.

But let’s never forget the queue of business people who looked on a horrendous pandemic and saw only a get-rich-quick scheme.

The global view is scarcely less ­depressing. We have an upcoming ­election in America too where two old men are looking likely to have a rematch unless sanity belatedly prevails.

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If you were short of a wry smile this last week, contemplate Donald Trump calling the US Democrats “radical ­left-wingers” and Communists. This about an ­administration which has spent days ­fiddling with a UN ceasefire text while Gaza burns and hostages remain captive.

Biden, in my view, is too old to run again. Trump is too monstrous to be ­allowed to inflict more damage on a ­country and a constitution he vandalised the first time around.

America is not the nation it once was. Now the divisions are beyond rancorous. The electoral well has been poisoned ­– perhaps beyond redemption.

Deep divisions scar the UK too. Yet at least we have an escape clause from the tyranny of Westminster rule. If only we can summon the guts, the smeddum, the foresight to embrace it.

Now that would be a happy new year.