There is a longstanding tradition that political leaders do not – or should not – get involved in commenting on elections in other countries.
That’s a convention I have stuck to pretty solidly over the years, but the contest on the other side of the Atlantic, which is now looming ever closer, is one occasion where I am prepared to break with tradition.
We are now two days away from one of the most important elections in America’s modern history, and arguably one of the most important the world has seen in recent times.
Many Americans have already voted, and come Tuesday many millions more will finally deliver the verdict the world is waiting for.
Whatever the result, Scotland will continue to have close ties of business, friendship and family with the US. And, of course, who becomes their President is entirely up to the American people – we will all have to respect their choice.
But I fervently hope that it will be Hillary Clinton who is sworn in as 45th President of the United States in January and who returns to the White House, this time not as First Lady but as America’s first female leader.
I have already made my views on Donald Trump clear, when late last year I withdrew his status as a GlobalScot.
However, rather than focus on the suitability or otherwise of the Republican candidate – something which many of that party’s own stalwarts are now openly questioning – I would rather concentrate on the positive case for Hillary Clinton.
Her election would be a result which was warmly welcomed around the globe but would also mark the shattering of the glass ceiling in terms of equality for women.
America took a giant stride towards greater equality with the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and his re-election four years later.
The arrival of the first black President sent a signal the US was ready to embrace and properly reflect the extraordinary, multicultural and multiracial society it has become.
His succession in the White House by the country’s first female President would send a similar message on gender equality – and as Mr Obama himself has said, no one has ever been better prepared or qualified than Mrs Clinton to take on the job. Hillary Clinton is not perfect – what politician, anywhere, is? But she will be a great role model for women the world over. What’s more, she’ll be a great President.
I wish her luck on Tuesday.
This article was originally published in the Sunday Mail