THE happy event came sooner than forecast, with the arrival yesterday of baby Finn, all 10lb 1.5oz of him. It reminded me of my own darling bundles of sleep-deprivation. My very best wishes to Finn, Ruth Davidson and her partner Jen Wilson.

But politics goes on, and many at Holyrood wonder if Ms Davidson’s party is also about to have a life-changing event. For what will the Scottish Tories be without her?

It is a simple fact - not any sort of criticism or dig - that her maternity leave coincides with what is likely to be the most turbulent period in British politics since the Second World War. That's just life.

The UK will be out or almost out of the EU by the time she returns to Holyrood. A Scottish and a UK budget should also have passed.

Every party will be tested; a party without its leader more than most.

Next week sees the seventh anniversary of Ms Davidson taking the helm of the Scottish Tories. She had been an MSP for just six months.

She had a pretty rough start. Duffed up by Alex Salmond at FMQs, briefed against inside the party, coping with the fall-out of Coalition measures at Westminster.

But three referendums changed that. In the first independence vote, she raised her profile in Better Together, then ruthlessly shanked her colleagues after the No vote, saying she’d seen how Labour and the LibDems couldn’t be trusted on the Union, only the Tories could.

It didn’t help her in the following year’s election, that of the SNP tsunami, but it did lay the ground for the future. The constitution became her preferred battleground.

The EU referendum in 2016 then put her on the UK stage, where she showed her disdain for low-detail Leavers like Boris Johnson and started to get tipped as a future PM.

But it was the referendum that never was that made her. There is still no Indyref2. There may not be one for years. But Ms Davidson maximised the possibility of one in the 2016 Holyrood and 2017 general elections, sweeping up a Unionist vote previously split across the Tories, LibDems and Labour.

Mirroring the SNP’s post-2014 transformation into the Nicola Sturgeon party, the Scottish Tories increasingly ran as ‘brand Ruth’, putting the person above policies.

The rewards are plain to see. The Scottish Tories are the second largest party at Holyrood with 31 MSPs, and after 20 years of having either one or zero MPs, they now have 13, three more than the DUP. Without Ms Davidson’s contingent, Theresa May would arguably not have the numbers to be in power.

All this must sound rather jolly to Tory ears. But what happens when the dominant, transformative leader isn’t around for a while? What’s left exposed when the tide goes out? Here, the signs are not so good.

Last year, the Tories failed to offer any serious ideas on the Scottish budget, just a grudging, half-hearted list of impossible efficiency savings. This year it’s a bunch of impossible ideas touted as a realistic plan.

They include asking the SNP to stop being the SNP, by abandoning any thought of Indyref2, and cutting air passenger duty, a tax the Tories know is not devolved yet because of an impasse between Edinburgh and London over EU state aid. Without Ms Davidson doing her shtick, that poverty of ideas will be painfully obvious in the coming months.

There are also the MSPs who will fill airtime vacated by Ms Davidson. Like social security spokeswoman Michelle Ballantyne, who this week said it wasn’t “fair” the poor could have as many kids as the better off.

Nicola Sturgeon called the remarks appalling and ignorant. Even Jackson Carlaw, the deputy-turned-acting Tory leader, called them clumsy and insensitive.

How the SNP reacted was instructive. Barely an hour after Mr Carlaw had tiptoed through his debut at FMQs, the Nats called on him to sack Ms Ballantyne. No honeymoon, no mercy. He was put on the spot from the get-go. He should expect a lot more like that.

Some may consider it unsporting, but her opponents undoubtedly see Ms Davidson’s absence as a golden opportunity to trash her party and leave only wreckage for her return.

Big personalities can also be a weakness. They may grab ratings and pull in votes, but they can also keep other talents in the shade, and paper over problems. Most parties suffer from this to some extent.

Where would the SNP be if Ms Sturgeon suddenly left? Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie are fixtures of the LibDems and Greens. Only Labour at Holyrood is unaffected by big leader syndrome. Richard Leonard bestrides his party like parsley bestrides a salad.

Ms Davidson’s forceful, driven personality has been her calling card. It has helped revive the Scottish Tories. She dominates the party internally and has virtually replaced it in the public’s eye.

Her rivals will wish her and her family well this weekend. I have no doubt they are sincere. I also have no doubt they hope the wheels come off the Tories while she’s gone.

These are times of high political drama. It will be bloody combat for Mr Carlaw day-in day-out. Brexit, budgets, welfare, fights on the constitution. There will be no let up.

A party normally obscured and shielded by Ms Davidson is about to enjoy unprecedented exposure and strain. Let the experiment begin.