Warmest thanks

One or two of you may have noticed a relative degree of radio silence from me in recent days and, indeed, weeks: literally so in that I have not been able to present my weekly show on the wireless.

Indeed, I gather that one or two have commented upon my absence while most have, entirely understandably, regarded such matters with benign neglect. Some may even have welcomed the respite.

However, with the advent of the new Holyrood session, I thought I would update you. I have been attending to family duties while my mother confronted her final illness in hospital. Her funeral was last week.

In politics and in covering politics, we frequently prate about care: in hospital, in the community, the free and personal variety. The past few weeks have reminded me once again that care is individual and human, not a political commodity.

I cannot praise sufficiently highly the individual and human care afforded to my mother: from the ambulance crew who attended my initial emergency call to the dedicated staff at Hairmyres who anticipated and dealt with our manifold inquiries to the care workers who are now helping us cope with the aftermath.

My warmest thanks to all of them - and to the minister and staff who ensured that my mother's funeral was dignified and touching...

There remain family duties; care to be provided by me, personally and directly. However, I would intend to return to my professional duties later this week. There will be, as ever in Scottish politics, much to discuss.