When the outlook is bleak, and has seemingly been ever thus, reacting positively is not a simple task. Faced with this in our personal lives, most of us seek personal and professional support. Rarely would we proceed headlong into the abyss manically cackling that, if we just stick to the plan, all will be well. Throw in a moment of existential reflection and this mix has all the ingredients for a tragic end...
The truth is that after two years of campaigning the SNP haven't managed to move the ball forward in any game changing way at all. Having failed to become the 'momentum campaign' the SNP went in search of elusive big moments. But to those who have been following events closely the SNP's campaign has been a series of false starts and stumbled half answers.
With just three months to go until the referendum which will determine whether the UK in its current form survives or divides, much of the attention paid by the media has focused on Scotland's ability to survive as an independent sovereign state, and the possible repercussions of independence on England. But there is one part of the UK which has been sorely neglected - Northern Ireland...
Of course many people around the United Kingdom are fed up with conventional politics, disgusted by the sleaze, expenses scandals and London centricity. But that does not mean we should give up on the union. Rather, we should be even more engaged in it to change it for the better. It is only by acting together that we can make the United Kingdom work for everyone.
As it stands, everyone over 16 currently resident in Scotland is eligible to vote in the referendum. Armed Forces personnel with their base in Scotland serving on tour can apply for a postal vote. Of course, a line has to be drawn somewhere, so my proposal is this: Anyone born in Scotland over 16 currently living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland should also be allowed to vote in the referendum on September 18...
Last month Scotland took a big step towards a shared ambition to make our country among the best in the world to grow up. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill is a landmark piece of legislation to deliver greater support for children and families through a range of measures, including improvements to how we help our most vulnerable young people in care.
Setting up a large film studio in Scotland has long been seen as key to attracting international and British productions. Just two days after this panel in Glasgow, Pinewood announced they were going to build their new studios for film and 'high end TV' in Wales instead of Scotland -- estimated to bring some £90 million to local Welsh businesses alone.
The choice we face is clear - believe Alex Salmond or believe the experts and the facts. As part of the UK, we are better placed to tackle the long term challenge of sustainable public finances. Things are difficult just now, but the IFS report makes clear that they would get much worse if we separated from the UK. That is a risk that we really don't need to take. Coming little more than a week before the publication of the SNP's crucial White Paper, the IFS report poses a significant challenge for Alex Salmond. The White Paper must face up to the consequences of independence, including the need for big spending cuts and tax rises. If it doesn't, then it won't be worth the paper it is written on.
The Business, Innovation and Skills committee plan to quiz the secretary of state on the privatisation this autumn. I hope that by then the Scottish Government might have at least hinted at what would happen to postal services in an independent Scotland. With less than 18 months until the referendum, it's another uncertainty that the people of Scotland deserve to have clarified.
I know from own time working in Government that policymaking is frustratingly hard. Change is difficult. Most policy is complex. In the few examples where policy is simple tend to be expensive. Like diets that promise you can eat as much as you like and still lose weight, the nationalist promise of effort-free and cost-free change is too good to be true.