Gore was introduced by Herald political writer Iain MacWhirter, who seemed quite beside himself with joy at sitting beside the great presence - "a man who could be the next President of the USA, because, after all, he’s already been elected to the position!” Except it ain't true.
MacWhirter (a Herald political "expert") told us that if Gore had been President the US would have signed up for Kyoto. "Not true," I whispered to Mrs F&W. To his credit, Gore pointed out MacWhirter's error. In the American system it's the Senate and not the President that ratifies treaties and they voted against Kyoto by 95 to 0. Gore didn't think it too likely that Kyoto would pass now even if he were President.
Gore had lost any sign of the woodenness that I'd read about during his presidential campaign. He spoke very competently and without (apparent) notes. He started with a series of one-liners: "For eight years I flew around in Air Force 2 and now I have to take off my shoes and belt before I can get on a plane." Tough, Al. Welcome to the real world.
MacWhirter asked about Global Warming and it's "human causes". We got the full Gore spiel. As far as can be discerned, according to Al, the scientific community is unanimous that it's all our fault. Except, once again, it ain't true. But the Edinburgh audience weren't told about any modern dissenters although I was sorely tempted to give a good old traditional shout of "Daur ye say nonsense in ma lug?" Of course, Jenny Geddes (*) didn't have the Secret Service to worry about. I presume that Mr Gore did have his own security but the two heavies at the book signing session were Scots and I'm damned sure that one of them does duty outside a well-know local pub on football Saturdays. I'm suspect that keeping Hibs and Hearts fans apart is an excellent training for protecting the former VP.
Mr Gore seemed to enjoy himself immensely. I thought that his answer to a question on Scottish independence might cause a mild panic over at Number Six. But if Scotland were to become the 51st State, Mr Gore could count on ten Electoral College votes for the Democrats. On last night's evidence at least.(* Vegetable seller Jenny Geddes, attending morning service in St Giles, the High Kirk of Edinburgh, on 23 July 1637, is said to have picked up her stool and hurled it at the minister. That flying furniture led to the Scottish National Covenant, the English Civil War, the execution of Charles and the conquest of Scotland by Cromwell.)