I joined the BBC's devolution unit in 1979 from university, becoming Scottish political correspondent in 1987. In the 1990s I moved to London and was a member of the Lobby for nearly ten years writing for various national newspapers and presenting BBC network programmes. I returned in 1999 with the creation of the Scottish parliament to help launch the Sunday Herald. I'm still here.
In the spring of 2012, a new linguistic fashion hit Scottish politics. Suddenly, people were addressing each other as “Staatsminister”, speaking in curious hurdy gurdy accents and saying “Tak” instead of thanks.
This outbreak of pseudo-Nordic was caused by the popular Danish television series Borgen, which remade the American political drama The West Wing in Denmark with a woman Prime Minister.
It may seem a little late in the day to be asking this question, only a year or so from a referendum on independence. But it is a question that has been perplexing people on the fringes of nationalist politics for some time now, as Alex Salmond has conducted his dance of the seven tartan veils – teasing us with policies such as keeping the pound, the Queen, Nato, MI6, UK energy and pensions policy, and maybe even Morris dancing.
Scotland and England have been drawing apart in terms of political culture for the last decade, and this 2013 legislative programme confirms how much the United Kingdom has already changed, whatever happens in the 2014 independence referendum.
It was a speech heavily dependent on right-wing themes such as immigration provided by the UK Independence Party and by special interest lobby groups focused on Westminster.
The "fruitcakes and loonies", as the Prime Minister once described the United Kingdom Independence Party members, now have their hands on the windpipe of the Tory party. Cameron insists that he will listen in future to what they are saying. What does he mean?
The Chancellor is possibly the least popular politician in the country right now, yet his suggestions that Scotland could lose the pound sterling, and its bank notes, were not denounced as patronising, anti-Scottish and even illegal last week. You'd think that the pound was his personal property.
In fact, you could equally argue the reverse. The left hasn't been more united for years – and nor has the right – in its hatred for the street parties and singalongs that have followed in her wake. At times last week I felt as if I had been transported back to the 1980s, watching crowds chanting "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie" in Glasgow, Liverpool and Brixton.