Aweek today, and a year ahead of the Referendum on Scottish Independence, a March and Rally for Independence will assemble on the Royal Mile and gather on Calton Hill for speeches and entertainment.
I've a fondess for a march and rally, a veteran of anti-nuclear and other protests around 30 years ago for whom conflicting estimates of the number of people on the streets is a more reliable guide to the support for a cause than any online poll. As one who helped organise a number of events for the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, I can testify to the drawing power of musicians committed to the cause to leaven a diet of rhetoric.
The Miners' Gala on the Meadows in Edinburgh, where brass bands vied with rock'n'roll for the attention of the crowd, was, in its heyday, a fine example of how politics and a good day out need not be strangers.
During last month's Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, when the BBC decamped briefly to a tented village on the Edinburgh University campus, Radio 4's Today programme dabbled in the apparently controversial waters of independence and the arts with a brief discussion between playwright David Greig (a declared Yes voter) and composer Eddie McGuire (who is backing Better Together).
Not long ago McGuire found himself pilloried for writing a rather charming piece about Edinburgh's pandas for Children's Classic Concerts in one of the most ignorant utterances to have emerged from the debating chamber at Holyrood, but he nonetheless had chosen to stick his head above the parapet after he read that there was no-one among the creative community in Scotland who was not firmly in the Yes camp. He since seems to have become the go-to guy when media producers need an artist from that side of the debate, which might seem to back the argument, but if that is the case, where are the legions of Yes-rockers next weekend?
I mean no disrespect to our makar Liz Lochhead or to chanteuse Lou Hickey, whose late night Jazz Bar performance brought my Edinburgh August to a fine conclusion, but they are not going to bring the youth, able to cast their first vote, flocking to Calton Hill. Top billing goes to compere Elaine C Smith and turbanned broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli, names with a nice euphonious symmetry, but giving their declaration of support rather than of their art.
Glasgow's new Hydro arena, by way of contrast, has upcoming shows by The Proclaimers, Simple Minds, Deacon Blue, Wet Wet Wet, Del Amitri, and, of course, opening attraction Rod Stewart. Texas, Aztec Camera's Roddy Frame and Edwyn Collins of Orange Juice are gigging soon too, and Josef K's Paul Haig has a new album out. When one thinks how musicians gave their support to political causes in the youthful heyday of most of those, what does it say that none are flying the Saltire for a Yes vote a week today?