Dear Reader,

Deck the halls with boughs of holly / T’is the season to be jolly / Don we now our gay apparel / Troll the ancient Yuletide carol / See the blazing Yule before us / Strike the harp and join the chorus / Follow me in merry measure… and so on, you get my point. You can update the language and imagery if you want to, but you cannae beat the well-practised wishes and sentiments of the season, they have stood the test of time. And I’m leaving it there.

CHOOSE LIFE CHOOSE LEITH has recently gone to a reprint, so things are looking good there. A friend says she has read it TWICE, some I’m glad she’s getting her moneys-worth. Stephen Bennett, director of CHOOSE LIFE  the one-hour documentary screened on BBC1 on 5 December read the book, and his recommendation is quoted on the re-print. I introduced him to several of my sources, but some of them were a bit shy. One of these days Irvine Welsh is going to be asked about it, he can’t ignore me for ever. Assuming he doesn’t pan it, his comments will give it a fresh pair of legs.

In Scotland and the UK, it’s a poor picture. If Scottish nationalists and English nationalists both have their way, my home area is going to see a hard border running through it for the first time in three centuries. But maybe it won’t come to that. The separatist vote in the 2014 IndyRef was 45%, the same as in the 2019 general election. I don’t say the separatists couldn’t win a small majority on a referendum day, but there will always be approximately half the population of Scotland that is hard-wired to a united island – just the same as in Ireland when it was partitioned in 1921, and look how that has gone! And a referendum – it can never be a well-worked, well-considered way to make a huge decision of such complexity and huge implications. If they really insist on separating us, they should go the parliamentary Unilateral Declaration of Independence route, which contains the whole process within established institutions, in marked contrast to the on-line back-room stuff so beloved of Dominic Cummings et al. But see these nationalists – they are so hell-bent on their particular target that they get quite unreasonable and forget the principles they say they stand up for.

With my Christmas greetings at the top, I’ll make this probably my last blog of the decade and wish us all a good 2020.