AS A practising hypochondriac, I was delighted
to read in a press report that the un-failingly-cheerful and
warm-fronted, often despite drizzle and depressions, Heather "the
weather" Reid, the BBCís Reporting Scotlandís silver-tongued
spokesperson for the stern and wild Scottish climate, is to participate
in a weather-forecasting project, organised by the NHS and the
Meteorological Office, to warn and advise viewers about meteorological
changes that could trigger arthritis, strokes, heart attacks and other
ills that Caledonian flesh is heir to.
As one suffering from a particularly persistent cough that, I
imagine, has been connected to our house via the national infection grid
and lurks behind curtains, under carpets and in seldom-used cupboards, I
was interested to note from the report that a common cold front with
sporadic outbreaks of flu is sweeping across the country and, I suspect,
that the affliction, of which there is always a lot going around and
includes variable temperatures, severe wind and high pressure to go on
the sick list, is appearing in patches all over the country.
While I applaud the link between weather and health that may
enable us to indicate, for instance, whether severe conditions coming in
from the Azores are responsible for creaking joints and an inability to
raise our arms above our head - "Itís the same with my legs, doctor" -
this column, purely because I am an unsleeping watchdog of the public
weal, will offer occasional, political-socio-emotional forecasts
covering all areas from Cape Wrath to Carter Bar.
Here is next weekís forecast: General synopsis: Bleak at first
but moderating to mild gloom. Midweek optimism outbreaks quickly
dispelled by persistent press flurries hinting of more sleaze
revelations around The Mound in Edinburgh. Light western chicanery at
local government level should reach all areas later.
Monday: Areas of high indignation pressure develop as realisation
of MSPsí pay rise settles into the nationís consciousness like a heap of
pig iron, bringing flurries of fury and the cold shower suspicion -
perhaps unfounded - that never in the annals of Scottish political
history has so much been lavished on so many for so little.
Tuesday: Cool to cold, but with hint of temperature-raising
trolley rage in supermarkets, noisy children rage in public libraries,
pavement rage among pedestrians and, predictably, road rage. Parking
attendants and traffic wardens will gather like arrested thunderclouds
before ticket precipation. Good day for horn-sounding motorists to blast
antics of rival drivers, madcap cyclists and errant pedestrians
scurrying on roads like lunatic hens. Later, freezing, fiscal fog
seeping into bank balance bones, indicating severe council tax rises,
should settle everywhere.
Wednesday: A build-up of almost unbroken cynicism will move
slowly across the country in connection with the efficiency of call
centres, the promises of tradesmen to turn-up for work at houses and
offices at a prearranged time, the criminal sloth of public transport,
the increasingly sporadic nature of postal deliveries and the often
near-impossibility of getting a plumber at the week-end.
Thursday: Winds of little change maintain air of distrust over
the effectiveness of police, judiciary, councils, Scotlandí s
parliament, the NHS, public services, education and private finance
initiatives, the church, the Deity, Scotlandís place in an expanding or
contracting universe and central-heating system maintenance operatives.
Friday: Hot air from the nationís municipal debating chambers
will linger and create tepid, intellectual thermals, difficult to
disperse. Behind each silver cloud over Scotland, there appears to be a
grey lining. Is it caused by the ozone layer or the English? Weathermen
are investigating. Eveningís TV viewing likely to be a frost.
Saturday: Brighter conditions, with Scotlandís mind blissfully
detached from trivia like the Land Reform Bill, ban on fox-hunting,
rising crime, the war in Afghanistan and the risibly rising costs of the
Holyrood parliament building, and concentrated on sport, especially
football - the physical and intellectual national Nirvana - with its
invigorating hatreds, jealousies, boastfulness, tribal loyalties and
mindful violence. Rising temperatures will increase as pubs fill up.
Situation fluid. Enjoy.
Sunday: Occluded front sweeps across Scotland bringing heavy rain
of press terror and horror headlines including bolts from the blue of
chaos, fury, rage, shock, shame and sleaze. Disclosure thunderclouds
likely to accumulate for another revelatory and, probably, unsettled
week. Is our climate of opinion changing? Is the country unravelling? An
expert should tell us. Over to you, Heather.