At last, the campaign is over and the polling places are open for business. Party activists will be present outside stations to try to sway the most impressionable among us – surely only a tiny number – into changing their mind at the last moment, but in reality, the arguments have been made and it’s now down to the process.
The most effective job the rival parties can do today is get their supporters to make the journey to the local polling place between the hours of 7am and 10pm. Yesterday in this column, we repeated The Scotsman’s election manifesto pledge that we would not tell anyone how to vote.
We have reported and analysed the key issues in this election campaign, and every reader of this title is capable of making up his or her own mind over who to support.
No-one with a keen interest in current affairs needs help on this, and very few of those who might consider themselves well-informed will appreciate being told what to do.
But what we will urge you to do today is exercise your democratic right, and have your say by placing your vote. There is a definite sense that we have been asked to go to the polls too often in recent years, with today marking the fifth time we have been asked to cast our vote since the independence referendum less then three years ago.
Nevertheless, it benefits no-one if we take the attitude that we can’t be bothered, don’t have the time, or have had enough. Whether we are disgusted, inspired or simply ambivalent, we share the common ground of facing an uncertain future following the biggest political event of a lifetime for many of us. Brexit negotiations are scheduled to begin a matter of days after this election, and we all have a view on what we wanted from that vote last year. Today, we have our only opportunity to have a further say on that seismic development.
The stakes are high, because the government we choose will not only wrestle with the usual responsibilities, but also shape Brexit, and influence the independence debate in Scotland.
It’s inarguably more important than the last general election – and that was the most remarkable in Scottish political history.
Apathy, weariness and disillusion can wait for another day, and there will be plenty of those.
Today, please put those frustrations aside, and have your say. This election is too important to ignore.