OH, the irony. An election on Independence Day, and it’s not ours! Nor will it be yet awhile, we are constantly advised. In the here and now, most parties seem fixated more on those aspects of domestic policy which impinge directly on the voters.

Are the weans at a decent school with decent teachers? Can anybody repair the holes in NHS provision (not even to mention the roads)? Will the cost of living continue to make family budgeting a monthly fantasy?

Or, in the case of the Prime Minister – now officially richer than the king – does he know he can get a brolly off Amazon for well under four quid? Party logos only slightly extra.

There are multiple Scottish dimensions to all this – not least the not-so-small matter of the school hols in most regions – a time when families who can afford it can barely wait to trade the kids’ uniforms for shorts and sannies and hopefully some sun. Few in that category will hang around till July 4.

And few will have securing a postal vote at the top of their to-do list. The exceptions will be those who can barely manage to get through the week on their incomes never mind splash out on flights, and those whose offspring have long since fled the family homestead. Some of whom will vote Tory.

Swinney and others supposed that in picking this date, the Tory Party high-heid yins gave nary a thought to Scotland. We should be well used to this. I have it on impeccable authority that when the UK Government decided to go for a five-year fixed term, they omitted to notice that this would initially clash with the then four-year term of a Scottish Government.

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We then had to change to five years too which is why we’ve landed up with one poll in 2024 (it could technically have been early 2025) and another for Holyrood in 2026.

Both matter more this time perhaps than ever before. In Anas Sarwar’s favour is the fact that the SNP have held the parliamentary reins for a long time. Voters tend to get scunnered by overly familiar faces.

However, in Swinney’s favour is the undeniable fact that he leads the only major party whose raison d’être is Scottish independence. Keir Starmer is a fully paid-up Unionist – check out these major league Union flags in his office – and Sarwar is trying to persuade ex Labour voters to come home to daddy just to get rid of these nasty Conservatives.

Except that everyone from Sir John Curtice down knows that no Scottish seats need to fall to Labour to effect the Tory demise. And anyone who thinks Sarwar is likely to have a post-electoral and Damascene conversion to referenda or indy has been on the mind-altering substances. He too is of a resolutely Unionist persuasion.

Yet on Friday, at his party’s Scottish launch, Starmer was still peddling the electoral myth that on July 4, “Scotland’s voice will be vital”. That it actually matters in determining the nature of the next UK Government.

In my experience, the vitality of Scotland’s voice is only a matter of interest when either of the major parties feel in any way threatened by it. Our voice is not sufficiently vital, for instance, to demand that the normal rules of democratic imperatives are observed.

Swinney, mind you, has not had the best of weeks. Widely billed as a safe pair of hands, he may have dropped the ba’ in relation to his pal Michael Matheson. Matheson is not the only parent whose weans have made illegal use of family equipment. And – as the FM never tired of pointing out – he’s reimbursed the taxpayer for the bill his boys ran up.

Now opposition parties always do what it says on the tin; routinely oppose the government. But in this case, I suspect the anger of the Sarwar/Ross combo last Thursday at First Minister’s Questions was not entirely confected. Reading the report of the committee charged with judging Matheson, it’s clear they considered his cardinal sin was more about being economical with the truth when questioned by the Presiding Officer.

It was Annie Wells, the Conservative MSP charged by the FM with party bias, who proposed the 27-day suspension. She was backed by fellow Tory Oliver Mundell and opposed by the two SNP MSPs on the committee. Which would have produced a stalemate. So the Labour convener then backed the proposal in the knowledge that there could be no conclusion without his casting vote.

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Yet given when the vote goes to parliament next week, the SNP are likely to be outvoted, I’m not sure why John Swinney decided to shove his back against this particular wall. Not sure his party are persuaded either.

Then there is the yet unexploded bomb of Operation Branchform. The polis, unhelpfully, chose this last week to say that they had forwarded their conclusions to the Procurator Fiscal service.

Which doesn’t mean the latter will take the matter to court, but the fact that the Crown Office, the PF’s parent body, has suggested that inquiries are still ongoing vis-à-vis Nicola Sturgeon and Colin Beattie will not allow Swinney to sleep easier in his bed of a night.

The general consensus is that while the UK General Election matters less to Scotland than our own variety two years hence, the result of the former cannot help but impact on the latter.

The UK election will be held under first-past-the-post, surely the clumsiest possible way of determining what the maximum number of electors actually want. The result has been many governments effectively elected by a minority vote.

In 1951, for instance, Labour got a whopping 48.8% of the vote, but the Tories got more seats with fewer votes.

Our own semi-proportional system has many faults but at least the top-up on the regional list ensures that the party with the most votes gets the most seats. The downside of course is that the party gets to pick the list and the order on the list. Murdo Fraser, to pick a name entirely at random, has never actually won a seat in his puff.

Then again, the Conservatives – staunch opponents of devolution and all its works – have contrived to be the second-largest party in Holyrood. As our American cousins have it: “Go figure!”

Of course, our own electoral system gives us two votes which has caused no little head-scratching among those of us thirled to independence for Scotland.

The other day I had lunch with a couple of pals – both indy fans – and we fell to discussing how to vote in 2026. For someone like me, it’s a genuine dilemma. I’ve never subscribed to the “both votes SNP” mantra (despite being routinely accused of it) because even someone with my shaky grasp of arithmetic could see when that party was riding high, it was entirely counter-productive and led only to giving its opponents extra seats.

In years past, I gave my second vote to the Greens in the mistaken belief that their principal preoccupation was the environment and how it might be best protected. In more recent times, it has been difficult to conclude that is the case and instead, they seem to have led the charge on gender wars.

As a result, they have lost not just voters like me, but class acts like Andy Wightman who left the party having been reviled for merely attending a meeting where he hoped to glean some clarity on the issue.

This month they booted out members with the temerity to sign a declaration saying while gender might be chosen, sex could not.

So, for me anyway, au revoir Greens.