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Unfinished ...

Yesterday was a hard day wrestling words. Or should that be wrangling?

No; definitely wrestling. Because wrangling is defined as "engagement in a long, complicated dispute or argument." And that's scheduled for later today when I start my participation in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill Stage 2 debates and the 55 amendments we have to dispose of between 0900 and 1400.

The wrestling yesterday was trying to force words into a sensible structure for deploying in an argument. It took some time, five online meetings to be precise and a few off-the-field time-outs for tea, coffee and a couple of consultations with a dictionary.

There's a rule of thumb about speechifying. Preparation takes ten times as long as delivery. And that's only about constructing the words into the right order for a decent wrangle. For some subjects, the acquisition of the background knowledge to enable you to find the right words is a lifetime's effort.

I expect that I shall speak no more than eight or nine hundred words in the five hours of Committee deliberations. That's six or seven minutes. So a bit over an hour's preparation. That's following a day and a half's reading.

In the afternoon, I'm scheduled to make my eight hundred and twenty-second speech in Parliament. On a subject that yesterday morning I not been following. So studying the issues around the Civil Partnership Bill had to be fitted into yesterday as well. I can probably do the writing during the early part of the debate on this subject as I am last up to speak.

Bottom line? No time for walking yesterday. And little prospect of any for today. For the same reason. But 25 minutes on the rowing machine is as much exercise as my planned 100 minutes walking would have been. Perhaps more. But extremely boring by comparison.

The sounds, smell and changing vision of the countryside beats the unvarying monochrome of a blue wash on the wall in front of me.

But today, the broadcasters are allowing me to keep my curtains open in my home "studio" so, for once, I will see the outside our of the corner of my eye.

This whole broadcasting thing is quite strange. I probably have nearly sixty years of bad habits. My first TV appearance was in 1962 on the shores of Loch Earn. I have written previously about my school's sailing club. This was an occasion when we were competing against other schools.

It has always seemed quite a labour-intensive activity. On one occasion a two-minute interview, by a foreign TV station, involved a team of about ten pitching up!

In modern times, we have come down to one. I recall being interviewed by a senior BBC journalist who carried his own camera, conducted interviews for TV and for radio using it. And then got a camera out of his pocket to take photos for the web site.

The matters of process for any politician being interviewed are constant across all types of media.

All cameras, all microphones are always on. Nothing said is "off the record" unless all journalists present agree it's off the record.

Kerrrrunch..!

For the first time, the harsh realities of the day intrude in my ability to write more than this. Read on tomorrow about why.


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