IT is Queen Gertrude who notes in Hamlet that a character in a play ‘doth protest too much, methinks.’

The famous quote did come to mind when I spoke to Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam this week about their European-themed Hogmanay celebrations.

Hamlet being a European tragedy, perhaps it was apt.

Both Wood and Bartlam, who as Underbelly are once again planning the three-day Hogmanay event, said that the European focus of this year’s celebrastion - a ‘love letter’ in fact - is not a lament for Brexit, or a last, and loving, farewell to Scotland being part of the EU.

Mr Wood noted, accurately, of course, that the British islands are in Europe, geographically and culturally, whether anyone likes it or not. He says the focus is purely a apolitical one.

Well. Whether you believe that or not (and Mr Wood was vociferous) this notably yearning Hogmanay theme - which involves noted writers in a series of commissions, musicians, and others - however, cannot be seen separately from our context, the prospect of the UK leaving the EU. Why else send a ‘forget me not’ love letter?

It is fair to say that much of the cultural world is viewing Brexit with, as with the majority of Scots, alarm, consternation and dismay.

Mr Wood and Mr Bartlam, who are successful venue operators at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, know this. They will also know the power of the Hogmanay celebrations, which are seen by people around the globe. The pro-Europe theme will be absorbed by more than just the denizens of strongly Remain-minded Edinburgh.