SO far most Scots have yet to see the direct impact of public spending cuts on their daily lives.
Many have seen their quality of life diminished a little by the closure of valued community facilities, like Leith Waterworld, for instance. Others have suffered the trauma of being told their job is on the line.
But for most people it has remained on the whole an abstract idea – part of the political debate surrounding the mind-boggling proportions of our national debt.
Apart from worrying about our own job security, or that of our loved ones, the biggest fear for the vast majority is that essential services upon which we rely will begin to suffer.
And the one service we worry about more than any other is the NHS.
The politicians know this, of course. That is why the SNP has made such a play of protecting health spending.
Yet despite this pledge the mounting pressures on the health service mean that NHS Lothian is planning cuts totalling £27m this year.
The increase in patients being moved out of intensive care simply to make space for someone who is more seriously ill – rather than because a doctor believes it is in their best interests – is a very serious concern.
Is this the start of the cuts having an impact on the services which we most value? Only time will tell.
But this is a trend which must be reversed if the Scottish Government is to convince the public that it is successfully defending the NHS.
First over the line
There is more evidence, as if it was needed, today that Edinburgh must now take the initiative in the row over honouring our Olympic heroes.
Other cities across the country seem perfectly able to organise homecoming parades for their athletes and have done so without delay or concern of treading on the toes of national celebrations planned for after the Paralympics.
The decision to stage the Scotland-wide event in Glasgow next month is, of course, not going to be reversed, so the city council must instead act now and get in first while the goodwill and enthusiasm generated by the Games is still present.
Edinburgh in Festival time is the perfect setting to welcome Sir Chris back home as the UK’s greatest ever Olympian.
Let’s get the wheels in motion and get this party planned.