Caution: this essay contains politics. Specifically, Scottish politics. And lots of it.
As a general rule I try not to discuss politics on my blog. It's an endlessly complex subject, it is self-evident that any two people of goodwill can look at any given political problem and come up with two different and diametrically opposed ideas of how to resolve it, and (puts on marketing hat) I'm here to interest you in my writing, not recruit you for my Army of Minions™, although now that I think about it that'd be kinda cool, once I make my run for Total World Domination and appoint myself Supreme Planetary Overlord.
But there's a point where politics impinges directly on the circumstances of my writing, and that's when it goes nonlinear, and by nonlinear I mean "depending on the outcome of three upcoming elections, I may be living in one of three different countries in two years' time." (Two of which would be called "The United Kingdom" but would be very different from one another, and one of which would be called "The Kingdom of Scotland".) It makes it really hard to even think about writing that next near-future Scottish police thriller when I can't predict what country it will be set in, much less what its public culture will look like or where it will be ruled from.
Most of you aren't Scottish and politics, like adventure, is always a lot more fun when it's happening to somebody else a long way away. So let me give you a brief guide to the Scottish Political Singularity, hedged first with a few caveats: (a) this is quite a serious problem for those of us who live here, (b) the climate of politics in Scotland is in general utterly unlike anywhere else in the so-called Anglosphere, and (c) my political sympathies put me firmly out on the fringe, so you should consider me an unreliable guide with a whole bushel of axes to grind (which, in fairness, I will try not to conceal from you or misrepresent as mainstream opinion).