What faces Aberdeen and the north-east post-Covid-19?
It’s a question nobody can answer at the moment, but our leaders should already be considering it as we look ahead to the potential for mass unemployment and an oil and gas industry that is en route for decimation in terms of jobs.
While it might fall short of Armageddon, it ought to focus political and business minds to the extent that our young people, looking for work when they finish school and university and wondering what kind of future faces them, will have a measure of comfort that jobs will be available.
The alternative is an exodus that will leave the Granite City bereft of its smartest talent.
Because when we learn that major employers like Marks and Spencer is to eradicate 7,000 jobs, that BP will cut its payroll by 10,000 – just two startling examples – and that the UK picture is becoming bleaker by the day, with unemployment approaching the three million mark, we know we’re in for a scrap.
Our universities, too, will feel the pain as their lucrative market in foreign students suffers.
Smaller companies in sectors across the board have already been hard hit, which is why it is time, locally, to bring together the best brains to help us see a path out of this serious economic difficulty.
Academics, forward-thinking politicians and business leaders – along with bright young people – can be brought together to form a group capable of thrashing out whatever ideas can be placed on the table. Let’s find these people, recruit them and task them with putting in place a strategy to help rebuild the area.
These are unprecedented times and the economy of this region – and therefore its future – is on the line.
The north-east has a reputation for indefatigability which has overcome more than one downturn in the oil and gas game and bounced back.
We can do it again. This time, though, it will be tougher.
Bunkered golf game was a wee bit rough
My man in the Pringle pullover has been in touch to inform me that his attempt to play 18 holes at Hazlehead fell flat.
“I could see there was availability when I arrived,” he told me, “but because I hadn’t booked online, I was refused, despite having a season pass.”
Sport Aberdeen, who run the municipal courses, are losing money.
According to my golfing pal, they may just have lost a customer.
Confrontation in the Capital: It’s game on
We cannot overstate the importance of the outcome of the special Holyrood parliamentary committee’s explicit brief to “report on the actions” of Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish Government officials and special advisers in dealing with complaints about Alex Salmond.
It will split the independence camp as the First Minister and her one-time mentor – a Premier League parliamentarian – battle for support.
There are even strong suggestions that, should he emerge victorious, Mr Salmond will return to frontline politics.
Ms Sturgeon, pictured above, would not wish such a commanding figure from the independence movement – though not a member of her party – to be sitting on her shoulder at Holyrood.
Forget the Rumble in the Jungle or the Thrilla in Manila, this is the Confrontation in the Capital.
So, if you’re a Saltire waver with a nice kilt and natty, light-coloured hiking boots, whose side are you on?