I SUSPECT I may not be alone in having succumbed to a certain cynicism about the attaching of Year of... designations to every changeover of the calendar. I refer not to the Chinese tradition of attaching animal characteristics to each year on a rotating business, but the more recent fashion for labelling as way of making the populace pay attention to something.

There is self-evidently a law of diminishing returns at work with that, in much the same way as City Of Culture designations no longer have a quite the same clout as they did 30 years ago

when most of us were unaware of the possibilities that could be unleashed by the winning of the title.

Nonetheless, 2018 has been decreed The Year of Young People In Scotland, and if ever there was one Year of that

we had better get behind and help make a success, this is it. To belong to a nation that made a pig’s ear of having a Year

of Young People would be shameful, so older folk had better get the finger out. Even the cynical ones. Especially them.

It has not begun well. Among those who appeared not to have read the memo from the Scottish Government were the councillors in historic Stirling and the apparatchiks of Creative Scotland. With the first month of The Year of Young People they were responsible for proposals to remove funding from the Big Noise Sistema-inspired music education project in the Raploch, and from two of our internationally successful children’s theatre companies. Fortunately, in those instances at least, wiser counsel swiftly prevailed, but it still smacks of less than joined up thinking in Auld Scotia that the proposals ever made it to the table,

in this year of all years.

The better news – for Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop as well as for the reputation of the nation – is that things look set to improve. Over the coming month there will be a series of announcements that should go some way to redressing the imbalance. I’d be jumping the gun to reveal too much, but I’ll get away with saying that, for example, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Glasgow’s Festival 2018 cultural programme

that will run alongside the European Championships later this year, all

have significant events that celebrate The Year of Young People.

We are rapidly approaching the time where plans for the rest of the arts year are unveiled, and the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland were athletically first out of the block, just in time to catch the first event in their new brochure.

It happened on Thursday at London’s Barbican when trumpeter Wynton Marsalis introduced his own Jazz At Lincoln Centre Youth Orchestra alongside the NYOS Jazz Orchestra and the Guildhall Jazz Orchestra. Upcoming concerts in April include Holly Mathieson conducting the Junior Orchestra in the Albert Halls, Stirling, the Senior Orchestra under Catherine Larsen-Maguire at Glasgow City Hall, and the NYOS Symphony Orchestra in Perth and Glasgow playing Judith Weir, Stravinsky’s Rite Of Spring and the premiere of a piano concerto by Jay Capperauld with soloist James Willshire, conducted by Rebecca Miller.

There is an umbrella title for the new NYOS season, The Power Of Nature, which is reflected in much of the music the young musicians will be playing,

but the concerts will be just as obviously a celebration of the power inherent

in young people. In Florida, Emma Gonzalez and her colleagues from Stoneman Douglas High School have been showing the world just what a Year of Young People 2018 could potently turn out to be in the US. In the UK, meanwhile, the same generation is being betrayed by The Old, The Venal And The Selfish, to characterise the Brexiters

in the cadence of Sergio Leone’s 1966 spaghetti Western. This is not my opinion alone.

That great champion of young people, violinist Nicola Benedetti, had an uncharacteristic tone of despair when she told me of a 90-year-old man she knew who had voted Leave and died just a month later. I am optimistic the coming generation can be relied upon to repair the damage that is being inflicted on them but, in any event, those of us who have faith in the young have a clear responsibility to celebrate their potential when we are invited to do so.