Today saw the dissolution of Holyrood prior to May's Scottish Parliamentary Elections. It also, for other reasons, seems like an opportune time to draw the curtains similarly on my blogging efforts here at 'Scots and Independent'.
My reasons for doing so are many and varied, but one stands out in particular - I'm about to make the transition from unpaid keyboard basher to full time journalist with one of the local titles up here in Aberdeenshire. While blogging, alongside my commitments as a columnist with the Scots Independent newspaper has undoubtedly helped me to hone a writing style, I'm no longer sure that blogging will be quite so attractive after a day spent writing professionally to meet deadlines!
I'm sad about it in a way, but it's also a necessary step. While blogging as a candidate was a pastime fraught with difficulty, leaving you just one ill-advised posting away from tabloid notoriety, it was still something which I enjoyed immensely. It was also relatively easy and often great fun to blog from the position of being a parliamentary researcher at the heart of Holyrood and Westminster. However, continuing with the partisanship you can exhibit when the mood takes you in the blogosphere would sit uneasily with the need to cover news stories impartially and to be prepared to discomfit all sides equally when the occasion demands it.
It's been an interesting ride since I started out in 2006 - a period which has allowed me to chronicle the lead-up to the election of the first SNP government and its first four years in office. Blogging has also put me in contact with some great people over that time, as well as opening up some fantastic writing opportunities elsewhere, whether for books, e-books, magazines, other websites such as WalesHome or even on one occasion, The Guardian.
Blogging is and remains in my view a great medium and certainly from my perspective, the past four and a half years has been made all the more enjoyable because of the audience and the interaction which came along the way. Nevertheless, all good things must come to an end, and I must say that in this case at least, it's happening in circumstances which I can genuinely say I'm happy about.
It would be a wrench to leave the Scottish blogging community behind entirely, and I fully expect that the occasional grumpy retort will still appear next to my name in the comments sections of Scotland's better blogs. However, as far as my own substantive efforts are concerned, the fat lady has, for the moment at least, sung her last.
Thank you one and all, and at the risk of being accused of emulating Wendy Alexander in any way, have a fun election - whichever party you intend to take up cudgels for!