Storm Gertrude! Remember you read it here first.
To SHMU FM to do a radio interview about stroke. As I drive in from Deeside, I listen to a radio debate on the BBC about whether or not to ban Donald Trump from the UK. Half of my mind is on the upcoming interview in Aberdeen, the other half is wondering when it was that we started trying to ban everyone and everything we don’t approve of. Shouldn’t a mature democracy like ours be able to tolerate a bit of rough edged debate? Apparently our former First Minister, Alex Salmond, wants Trump banned from the UK. But hang on a moment, weren’t they best buddies a short while ago? Isn’t it Trump’s personal jet that we see regularly parked at Prestwick airport, courtesy of the Scottish Government?
As I drive along, I think. In their different ways, Trump and Salmond are rabble rousers – each seeks with every public utterance to garner the unthinking populist vote. I wonder if Salmond is so vociferous about Trump because he sees something of himself in the man – the creature he could be if he really let go with those nationalist rants. Sees this and fears. Many of Trump’s views are repellent; Salmond, on the other hand, may just be misguided. Both have, in public, a bombastic style that brooks no measured discussion. Are they the same in private? Do friends and family have to listen to their rants over breakfast? An image floats in my mind of each of them on bar stools in one of Trump’s golf course club houses arguing the toss, pints in hand, faces reddening by the minute. Clash of the Pringle jerseys.
These treasonous thoughts have possibly been brought on by a touch of indigestion, but more likely by the fact that, yet again, we are embarking on an election year. And for the benefit of readers outside Scotland, elections to the Holyrood parliament in Edinburgh take place in May this year. Still, these images of two supposedly premier league politicians have helped to pass the time as I struggle through the early morning Aberdeen traffic.
I reach my destination. SHMU Radio is a community radio station housed in a quiet side street in what was once upon a time Woodside railway station. Trains rattle past now, fenced off safely from the former station buildings. In Victorian times, I would have been able to take a train from many points along Deeside to Woodside station. Sometimes I would have had to change trains on the way, but there would have been no battling through rush hour traffic . How we have progressed!
Maybe some of our politicians should ease off on the rants and regain a sense of their own transience on the public stage by slowing down, looking around and reflecting on the fate of places like Woodside station, once a noisy focal point, now a hazy, silent blur to passengers speeding into town.
Since it is an election year, I leave you with a manifesto – not a political one, at least not with a capital P. It is from the Alliance and is a manifesto for people in Scotland living with long term conditions. I’ll be promoting it in any way I can. Here it is: