Contrary to the shamefully misleading impression given by this morning's blog: (1) Lallands Peat Worrier is not dead; (2) I have not been transformed into a by turns cold-eyed and by turns sentimental devotee of our present Union; (3) Ruth Davidson has not hired me to be her dogsbody, factotum or generic legal henchperson. I remain an occasionally off message but essentially devoted old separatist peat worrier still.
My wee hiatus is part labour, part inclination. Term and teaching is roiling to its busy conclusion with exam papers and essays and dissertation drafts accumulating. It is lovely work, enjoyable, engaging, gladly tiring. But to be entirely candid with you, I have also never much enjoyed blogging general elections. Even ones which went well. As a partisan, you feel the impulse to make yourself somehow useful, either by keeping your great gob shut, laying into your opponents, cheering your own infantry into battle or taking pot shots at their senior officers from afar. This is all in good fun, to some extent, for a while. We are not short of ammunition. The headlines and manifestos contain plenty to vex and to animate and contest, but I feel gripped by a sort of post indyref stasis.
Against the pitter-patter of spring rain, I can make out the background babble: the broadcasts and the interviews; the coalition arithmetic and its petty personalities; disciplined insincere speeches and honest indiscretions quickly disavowed; the relentless messaging and framing, the ghastly repetition, "a strong economy," "social justice," the ghastly repetition; "Vote SNP get Labour", "Vote SNP get the Tories"; the nonsense and the flesh pressing, wet handshakes, hollow laughter and terrified smiles; the relentless, daily polling and blethering about polling and speculation on the impact of polling on blethering, and the polling on the impact of the blethering about the polling on the polling.
In response to all of this breath and ink, all of this opinion giving and criticising and speculating - I catch myself unlistening, decided, uninterested. I feel ratty, ungenerous, unprovoked and unstimulated. A sort of cantankerous stasis, somehow. And the talking heads witter on cluelessly. Twitter churns. Our broadcasters pretend that each day must be a bringer of great new things. Of tidings, new strategies, savvy interventions. And the concrete, trudging realities defy all efforts to bleach their greyness from them.
The relentless polls burst little, like whizzpoppers, to keep you from nodding off. They sting, slightly, but their temporary victims soon forget the pleasures and the pains of momentarily being a few pips ahead of their chosen foes but within the margin of error. Nobody has a clue and is reduced to earnest, disconnected fakery and bubble talk. Today a stricken Mr Cameron reels from the pressure. Tomorrow Mr Miliband blunders, and is eaten alive over some trifle most folk will overlook. And the spring rain falls. And I have essays to mark.