On the 11th of September 1997, I was one of the 614,400 who marked my X in the box next to the statement that said: "I do not agree there should be a Scottish Parliament". When I think of it now, I cringe with embarrassment, shaking my head in disgust and disbelief. I remember why I did it.
At 21, I was every bit the little self-loathing Scot, and I voted the way I did for two reasons. The first was that I was of the opinion that the last thing we needed was more politicians, one parliament was more than enough. The second was that I imagined that the proposed Scottish Parliament would be filled with third-rate politicians, grubby little ex-councillors, too seedy and stupid to make it to Westminster.
It did not matter to me that when the current Scottish Parliament came into being in 1999, a few had made the journey from Westminster to Holyrood to become MSP's as well as, or instead of MP's. Nor did it matter that many MSP's were second-rate, or a few first-rate, rather than third-rate as I had feared.
I watched with disdain as McLeish and McLetchie were sunk by sleaze, and as the Scottish Parliament Building itself became the embodiment of the inefficiency, incompetence, and ineptitude I had predicted.
Dealing with dogshite was to be derided, and banning smoking in public was just the sort of hateful Little Hitler, petty power-drunk spitefulness I had expected from Jack McConnell and Jim Wallace and all the other nonentities. This was all banal, boring, bland provincial politics, Westminster was where it was at, where the real business of statecraft and statehood was carried out. Holyrood was little more than a local authority with 'roid rage.
And then everything changed. The 3rd of May 2007, when the SNP defeated Labour in the Scottish Parliament elections made me sit up and take notice. As did the financial crisis of 2007-2008. And the great Westminster parliamentary expenses scandal of 2009. Together, these events caused me to gradually take Holyrood more seriously, whilst at the same time, lose respect for Westminster.
When in 2011, the SNP achieved the impossible: an overall majority, the very thing that some said the voting method selected for Holyrood elections was supposed to prevent, politics in Edinburgh began to hold my attention every bit as much as politics in London. The balance of power had shifted a little, and Yes or No, the 2014 independence referendum would shift it some more.
Project Fear, aka Better Together, and the coming together of CamCleggiband, eroded my faith in Westminster politics further still. Following "The Vow" and the Smith Commission, the collusion between the Conservatives and the Labour Party to cede as little power to Holyrood as they believed they could get away with, eroded that faith to the point of oblivion.
The general election of May 2015 which saw the Conservatives unleashed, their EU in/out referendum, Brexit, and the clear contempt in which they hold Scotland that has been further exposed, as a result, has wiped out any remaining faith in Westminster altogether.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government, led by the decidedly first-rate First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has gone from strength to strength. The response to Brexit from Bute House has been statesmanlike, sure and strong, quite different from the startled silliness that has come from 10 Downing Street.
Brexit has made clear what I have suspected for some time now: that Westminster is dominated not by the first or second-rate, but by the third and fourth-rate. This is as much the case for Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition as it is for her Government. Too many MP's live in a sanitized bubble, where they can vote for austerity and bombs, shielded from the reality of their decisions, only to be outraged if an angry constituent bursts that bubble by furnishing them with graphic evidence of the death and destruction their choices have caused.
Now, here we are in 2017, nearly 20 years since that daft, deluded younger version of myself thought he was being clever and contrarian by rejecting a Scottish Parliament. I still think as I did then, that we have too many politicians, and that one parliament is enough. Only now, it is Westminster that I believe to be full of stupid and seedy third-rate politicians. I can only hope that at some point in the near future, I am again afforded the opportunity to reject a parliament that is one too many.