Two grenades top the entrance posts to Little Sparta, Ian Hamilton Finlays garden in the Scottish borders

Retreat or attack? Welcome to Little Sparta

I loiter in the garden and find myself longing for this election campaign to end. And I’m not alone. Over the last few days I’ve been meeting people – politicians, academics and ordinary voters like me – desperate to see the end of #GE2015, as the Twitter hashtags identify this unseemly mess.

Yesterday I bumped into a Labour MSP keeping herself sane by reading science fiction before she turns out the light at bedtime. The evening before at a very respectable Edinburgh discussion event I sat beside a senior lawyer wishing he could ‘vote tomorrow and get the bloody thing over and done with’.

But then what?  The media frenzy over the constitutional chaos looming in Westminster reminds me of the last weeks of the referendum campaign.  Then I remember irrationally longing for 19 September – whatever the result – just to be ‘done with it’. Yet we all knew that was not going to be the end of it. Though I don’t suppose anyone suspected quite how the story would suddenly twist and turn into a cats cradle of political confusion.

And 8 May – whatever the result – is not going to provide an easy untangling.  Not least because it will be a mere 12 months to #SE16, as the Scottish election will be hashed (I know, it’s sometimes hard to remember this event in May is not actually ALL about Scotland) because the Holyrood elections are next year and after that, in theory, the new Scottish Government will have to start showing what it can do about our real life problems north of the border.

But then what? Welcome to the neverendum.

At another respectable Edinburgh discussion last week I heard senior economists, accountants and young business students pondering not just the impact of further devolution  (that devious dispute over Further Fiscal Autonomy) but the dead hand of uncertainty for national and international business unsure whether to plan for a future in Scotland or not.

We may look to Quebec for answers.  But I am quite tempted to seek solace and sanctuary in the garden. Although (as Radical Gardening points out) Ian Hamilton Findlay provocatively observed:

Certain gardens are described as retreats when they are really attacks

Even so, I’m prepared to take my chance. Gardening, however aggressive, is more fun than this election campaign. And, for me anyway, more likely to induce a good night’s sleep than science fiction. Pass me my toughest gardening gloves, I’m about to grasp a thistle.

a beautiful small circular pool covered in duckweed and surrounded by geranium leaves

Still waters run deep at Little Sparta

You’ll have been to Little Sparta?  If not, it’s well worth a trip to see what Ian Hamilton Finlay created during his rebellious lifetime at Stonypath, Dunsyre, South Lanarkshire ML11 8NG