A brief history of Alistair Darling

During a near 30-year career in frontline politics, Alistair Darling was almost never known for being outspoken, despite his left-wing student activist days.

He rose from being a "safe pair of hands" Labour minister to greater prominence as chancellor, steering the UK's troubled banks back from the brink.

Now, he faces the challenge of keeping the UK together as the face of the official campaign to retain the Union ahead of Scotland's independence referendum.

line break
In the beginning
Alistair Darling

Born in London but proudly Scottish, Alistair Darling is himself an example of the very Union he fights to preserve.

He spent his formative years in Edinburgh, attending the city's exclusive Loretto public school, apparently an experience he did not relish.

And despite becoming known as a mild-mannered, non-confrontational lawyer, Mr Darling was associated with far-left policies as a student activist in Aberdeen, and reportedly distributed "Marxist" leaflets at railway stations.

He became an advocate in 1984, two years after being elected to the former Lothian Regional Council.

Although anti-devolution in 1979, Mr Darling had become a supporter by the time the second Scottish referendum was under way.

line break
Entry to politics
Alistair Darling

After becoming an MP in 1987, Mr Darling rose quickly through the Labour ranks, becoming closely linked with efforts to modernise the party.

In opposition he served on the front bench in several roles, including as home affairs spokesman.

It seemed Mr Darling had put his left-wing roots behind him, his image transformed from that of firebrand to troubleshooter.

Ahead of the 1997 election, he also toured the boardrooms of the big City firms, to reassure them over Labour's intentions.

However, in his opposition days, Mr Darling was once said to have been mounting a campaign against Rupert Murdoch's predatory pricing policy, but quietly ditched it when told of Tony Blair's bid to charm the media mogul.

He also opposed a proposal by the then Conservative MP Nicholas Budgen to make the Bank of England independent of the government - one of the subsequent Labour government's first acts.

line break
Call to government
Alistair Darling

Following Labour's landslide 1997 election win, Mr Darling served as chief secretary to the Treasury, putting in place wide-ranging reforms to financial regulation, after the collapses of Barings and BCCI.

He then replaced Harriet Harman as social security secretary (a job later re-named work and pensions secretary), delivering Labour's welfare reforms and taking responsibility for spending a third of the government's budget.

Mr Darling once said he would like to be remembered as "the minister who began to eradicate poverty", but was targeted by pensioners outraged when their pensions were raised by only 75p.

The episode led to a rebellion at Labour's conference in 2000.

Mr Darling, said to have a knack for mastering complex briefs in record time, was parachuted into another "trouble" job in 2002, when Stephen Byers resigned as transport secretary amid the collapse of Railtrack.

His proposals for road pricing - not universally popular among drivers - sparked fierce debate.

Mr Darling's later comments, while at the Department of Trade and Industry, that Britain's future energy needs may have to be met partly by a return to nuclear power, also raised eyebrows.

But all-in-all he played a canny game, remaining a Tony Blair loyalist, while keeping a foot firmly in Gordon Brown's camp.

line break
Number Eleven
Alistair Darling

Probably very little prepared Mr Darling for his near three-year stint as chancellor - the job for which he was handpicked by Mr Brown, on his elevation to PM in June 2007.

Mr Darling, predicted by many commentators to be a Brown "yes" man, staked his territory, memorably warning in the summer of 2008 - not long before the collapse of Lehman Brothers - of the worst financial crisis in 60 years.

The chancellor later said the resulting Brown camp backlash was like having the "forces of hell" unleashed on him, but Mr Darling - to many, a reassuring figure during the banking crisis - stood firm.

When Mr Brown apparently tried to evict his long-time ally (and neighbour) from No11 in the summer of 2009, it was widely reported Mr Darling threatened to resign.

Surrounded by "Move over Darling" newspaper headlines and weakened by internal party divisions, the story goes that Mr Brown backed down and Mr Darling remained where he was.

In his memoirs, published after Labour was voted out of office, Mr Darling said there was a "permanent air of chaos and crisis" when Mr Brown was prime minister.

He also wrote that Tony Blair likened working with his then-chancellor to "having dental treatment with no anaesthetic". Ouch.

line break
Out of office
Alistair Darling

Despite losing the election, Mr Darling was possibly able to take some comfort that his prediction of financial meltdown was, as he put it, "fairly accurate".

And his survival skills ensured he was one of only three - along with Mr Brown and Jack Straw - to remain in cabinet between 1997 and 2010.

After Labour's defeat at the polls and Mr Brown's resignation as PM, Mr Darling was talked of in some quarters as an interim leader.

He remained MP for Edinburgh South West, but decided to step back from frontline politics. But not for long.

line break
Fight for the Union
Alistair Darling

Despite initially insisting he was not interested in leading the pro-Union Better Together campaign (he was "too busy" as an MP) Mr Darling returned to the fray ahead of the 18 September referendum.

Flanked by Tory and Lib Dem politicians, Mr Darling declared: "If we decide to leave the United Kingdom there is no way back."

line break
Beards out
Alistair Darling

Back in the day, one of the most famous things about Mr Darling was his insistence on wearing a beard, because commentators deemed facial hair not very New Labour.

Amid rumours he was under orders to get rid, Mr Darling did eventually shave it off.

The beard was reputedly favoured by wife Maggie.

More on This Story

More Scotland politics stories


Scotland Live

    11:50: Man charged over '106mph driving'

    Two men have been charged over allegations of driving at 106mph and 96mph on a stretch of road in Aberdeenshire.

    Police Scotland said the men, aged 19 and 21, were clocked on the A952 Toll of Birness to Fraserburgh road, which has a 60mph limit.

    They were stopped in separate incidents on Tuesday,

    11:46: Udder despair on the M80

    Problems are continuing on the M80 this morning after a cattle trailer overturned.

    The road was closed for a short time in both directions between junction 6 and junction 7.

    Two hours after Traffic Scotland first highlighted the incident, they tweet: UPDATE 11:30 #M80 N/B traffic being held due to cattle being moved into another trailer. S/B traffic now moooving but very slowly...

    We are not sure if the cow puns will cheer up those stuck on the road but, for everyone else, send your best efforts to newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk

    @TomEnglishSport 11:42: The Tom English column BBC Sport Scotland

    In his weekly column, Tom English looks at Dave Mackay the man and golf's perception issue.

    Scotland legend Dave Mackay, who passed away this week aged 80
    11:29: Images of new five-star hotel issued Angie Brown BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

    Images of how the new hotel at the St James development in Edinburgh will look have been released showing it wrapped in ribbons of bronze cladding.

    Edinburgh St James hotel

    The 210-room hotel will include a top-floor bar offering panoramic 360 degree views, according to plans drawn up by architects Jestico + Whiles.

    It is part of the £850m development to replace the St James Centre at the east end of Princes Street.

    Work is due to start on the development by the end of the year.

    11:18: Scottish Power hit with sales ban

    Energy supplier Scottish Power has accepted a 12-day sales ban after failing to meet Ofgem's customer service targets, the watchdog has said.

    Gas rings

    The firm cannot engage in "proactive sales" for a dozen days from 4 March.

    It came after the supplier failed to meet Ofgem's targets to clear up all outstanding Energy Ombudsman decisions regarding customer complaints.

    Scottish Power said it was "committed to delivering the best service possible and treating our customers fairly".

    11:09: Airport firm not lost on space idea Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    The operator of airports at Stornoway and Campbeltown says it is open to the idea of either site being developed as a UK spaceport.

    Artist's concept of Skylon

    Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (Hail) said it did not have the resources to take on the project itself.

    But Hial's chairman Grenville Johnson added that the company would probably offer what help it could to an organisation that could fund it.

    Stornoway and Campbeltown are on a list of possible spaceport locations.

    @BBCRadioScot Audience members wanted... BBC Radio Scotland

    For BBC Radio Scotland's @bigdebate in Arbroath on 13 March. Apply here to be part of the audience.

    10:52: Boost for Scots economy forecast Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    The Scottish economy will continue to pick up pace, despite the impact for the oil and gas industry of the lower oil price.

    The Fraser of Allander Institute's regular forecast shows the boost to oil users in Scotland outweighs the harm to oil producers.

    That runs counter to the view of the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, who said he expected the UK economy to be helped by lower prices, while the Scottish economy would not.

    The economic group says a tightening of public spending could still hurt the economy, but growth in investment is a reason to expect higher growth than it forecast last November.

    10:43: New wind farm bid near Inverness Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    A 12-turbine wind farm has been proposed for a site next to a 33-turbine project being constructed south of Inverness.

    Wind farm

    Developer RES has submitted a planning application to Highland Council for Aberarder Wind Farm.

    In 2010, RES secured approval for the 33-turbine Dunmaglass Wind Farm about 20 miles (32km) from Inverness. SSE is now developing the site.

    Conservationists had opposed the scheme.

    Ornithologist Roy Dennis and biologist Dr David Bellamy joined campaigns opposed to the project on the site in the Monadhliath hills.

    The Cairngorms National Park Authority and John Muir Trust were also against the scheme, which was given planning permission by the Scottish government.

    10:36: Fancy being a baywatcher?

    A charity which saves lives at sea is looking to recruit for a post it has described as "Fife's best summer job".

    RNLI lifeguard

    The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) wants a lifeguard to patrol beaches at St Andrews East, Leven, Burntisland and Aberdour Silver Sands.

    It wants strong, fit, swimmers who are courageous, trustworthy and dependable.

    The RNLI said successful applicants would "receive world class training in search and rescue, lifesaving and casualty care techniques".

    You can watch a short film here, to get a flavour of what working as a lifeguard is like.

    @trafficscotland Cows on the M80

    Traffic Scotland tweets: #M80 b/w CLOSED btw J7 Haggs & J6 Old Inns due to potential cattle on the road. Traffic being diverted off the slips. Police there #BeAware

    10:21: 'Unsafe practice' after workman dies

    A workman was crushed to death by a road-roller because safe working practices were not observed, a fatal accident inquiry has concluded.

    David McClorey

    David McClorey died after being trapped between his digger and the roller as he worked on a new power line near Kinbuck, Stirlingshire, in April 2012.

    The 31-year-old, from Stranraer, died at the scene after a fuel exchange operation went wrong.

    A sheriff ruled that there had been "a defect in the system of working".

    ScottishPower punished Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    ScottishPower banned from proactive sales activity for 12 days, as Ofgem punishment for failing to make customer service improvements

    10:10: Call for Dave Mackay stand Edinburgh Evening News

    Hearts fans today called for a stand at Tynecastle to be renamed in honour of Dave Mackay.

    Dave Mackay

    Supporters joined sports stars and politicians in paying tribute to the club legend who died aged 80 on Monday in hospital in Nottingham.

    10:02: Marischal Square talks 'behind closed doors'

    Much of a special meeting to discuss the future of the controversial Marischal Square project in Aberdeen could be held behind closed doors.

    Marischal Square

    The SNP group will use Thursday's meeting to call for a moratorium on the £107m development, which would include shops, offices and restaurants.

    However the talks could be held in private if discussions turn to the issue of legal advice.

    Hundreds of people have taken part in protests against the project.

    09:50: Pair held over jewel raid released

    A man and a woman who were detained in connection with an armed robbery at an Edinburgh jewellers have been released without charge.

    Laing the jewellers in Frederick Street Pic: Brian Innes

    The 27-year-old man and 31-year-old woman were held on Tuesday after a police operation at an address in the capital's Easter Drylaw.

    The house was searched in connection with a robbery at Laing the Jewellers in Frederick Street on Monday morning.

    Items including watches worth around £100,000 were taken in the raid.

    Text using 80295 Super ID database - Your views

    Gordon, Shetland: Hi, this database in my view is hypocritical as HMRC have access to it, presumably to track down tax avoiders. It's not that long ago this government excused poll tax avoiders because they were tracked down when registering to vote in the Referendum.

    09:41: The beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?

    The struggle for control of Rangers turned into an epic saga, but battle weariness won't be allowed to accompany the incoming directors through the front doors at Ibrox.

    Richard Gough, Paul Murray, Dave King and John Gilligan

    Dave King, Paul Murray and John Gilligan face a rebuilding challenge that makes the fight to enter the boardroom seem like merely setting up base camp at the foot of Everest.

    Text using 80295 Super ID database - Get involved

    Anon: To Mike: "only people with nothing to hide" is a ridiculous statement. I'm a member of the SNP who is against the use of our details by any government body without consent. This argument isn't by someone who wants to hide; it's made by someone who cares about the government diminishing our civil liberties.

    09:29: Fred Goodwin's office put to new use

    The grand office built for Fred Goodwin when he was chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland is being turned over to 80 entrepreneurs.

    Fred Goodwin

    RBS announced that the "executive wing" at its Gogarburn headquarters in west Edinburgh was to be occupied by those setting up in business.

    The centre will house staff from business organisations such as Entrepreneurial Spark.

    It will be home to its "business accelerator hub".

    09:25: Blaze at historic mansion

    A blaze has damaged part of an historic mansion on the outskirts of Dumfries.


    The flames engulfed an annex of the derelict Carnsalloch House at about 23:00 on Tuesday.

    Three fire appliances were deployed to the scene, with water drawn from the nearby River Nith used to douse the flames.

    There are no details at the moment on the cause of the incident at the 18th Century building.

    Text using 80295 Super ID database - Your views

    Mike: Only people with something to hide don't want to be on a UK database. Such as the ex non payers of the council tax.

    09:10: 'We've obviously got issues'

    Aberdeen City Council is expected to confirm that it is quitting the local government body Cosla to join a new rival group.

    Jenny Laing, leader of the city council, told BBC Scotland that Aberdeen's voice "wasn't being heard within Cosla".

    "We've obviously got issues around our funding settlement, having been the lowest funded council in Scotland for some time," she said.

    "It is important for us, and me as a council leader, that we are getting that message across to Scottish government.

    "We don't feel we can do that through Cosla and we are looking for other ways in which we can."

    09:05: Flying the flag

    A Berwickshire councillor has asked whether flags other than the Saltire can be flown on the Scottish side of the border with England.

    Scottish and English flag

    Michael Cook has made the inquiry regarding provision at Lamberton on the boundary between the Scottish Borders and Northumberland.

    He said three Saltires currently fly on the Scottish side.

    Mr Cook asked whether a county flag of Berwickshire or the union jack could also be flown north of the border.

    @BBCRadioScot Coming up...

    Today on #MorningCall: Would you welcome more organisations having access to your personal data? Call 0500 92 95 00.

    Morning Call

    Listen live to the programme here.

    08:48: What's on the back pages?

    The Rangers extraordinary general meeting will go ahead despite shareholder Dave King claiming a "landslide" victory in his bid to get rid of the current board, reports The Scotsman.

    Scott Allan

    Former Motherwell and Rangers defender Craig Paterson has urged Scotland manager Gordon Strachan to give Hibernian's Scott Allan a call-up.

    And Celtic will offer goalkeeper Craig Gordon a new long-term deal to fend off interest from English clubs.

    Text using 80295 Council shake-up - Your views

    Gordie, Glenrothes: With councils leaving Cosla, the councils no longer overseeing a local police service, social work moving from councils to integrate with health and financial challenges, the Scottish government will now have the confidence to reduce the number of councils in Scotland! We don't need 32, with 32 chief executives, directors of education, directors of housing etc.

    08:31: Tourism centre closed

    A trend towards tourists accessing information online has been cited as a reason behind plans to shut a south of Scotland visitor centre.

    Tourism office

    Dumfries and Galloway councillors are being asked to agree to close a face-to-face service in Newton Stewart.

    It comes after usage figures showed a 66% drop in footfall over the past five years.

    A 12-month pilot of providing visitor information at another site in the town is being proposed.

    08:20: Fan ownership Alasdair Lamont BBC Scotland

    Fan representation in Scottish football has been in the news a lot recently, with the Rangers Supporters Trust and Rangers First building their shareholding at Ibrox.

    Ian Murray

    Often, fan ownership comes about from a crisis situation at a club, such as has happened with Rangers and Hearts.

    08:12: Read all about it

    There are taxing issues on the front of a number of Scottish newspapers on Wednesday.

    The Scotsman says that Nicola Sturgeon has ditched the SNP government's flagship pledge to slash big business taxes in Scotland.

    Wednesday's front pages

    As the first minister unveiled her economic vision for Scotland, she revealed a change in stance on corporation tax, focusing on "targeted changes in tax allowances" rather than a "blanket approach".

    The Herald says that UK chancellor George Osborne has come under intense pressure from business chiefs to reverse in full his controversial tax grab on the embattled North Sea oil and gas industry.

    Read the rest of our newspaper round-up here.

    08:04: Goulding to perform at Glasgow festival

    Ellie Goulding will perform at the Glasgow Summer Sessions festival later this year.

    Ellie Goulding

    Goulding, who is currently top of the charts with her song Love Me Like You Do, will support headliner Calvin Harris and will take to the stage in Bellahouston Park on Sunday, 30 August.

    John Newman, Disciples and Burns will also perform.

    Tickets go on sale this Friday.

    08:02: Swinney defends database plans

    Deputy First Minister John Swinney, in response to concerns over plans for a super database, told Good Morning Scotland that the proposal is "not a new database".

    John Swinney

    He added: "The database that is proposed to be used under this system is the NHS National Register, which has existed since the 1950s.

    "What we are trying to do is make it possible and practical for members of the public to access public services online, and being able to do that safely and securely.

    "Public bodies will not be able to interrogate some database, they will not be able to look through peoples' records. It is a verification and matching system to make sure we are delivering public services online to individuals who require and are entitled to those services."

    07:55: High note for Calvin Harris fans

    Calvin Harris has been announced as the first headline act for Glasgow's Summer Sessions.

    The Scots DJ will take to the stage at Bellhouston Park on 30 August.

    Calvin Harris

    Summer Sessions is Scotland's only annual outdoor city music festival.

    Last year, The Killers, and DJs David Guetta and Steve Angello performed to more than 100,000 people at Bellahouston across three dates. Tickets for the 2015 event go on sale on Friday.

    07:50: 'Stick to talking to Cosla'

    With news that four councils are leaving the local government umbrella group Cosla, to join a rival body, Professor Richard Kerley, chair of the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, predicts an "unpredictable future".

    "This has gone on for some considerable time," he told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland.

    "It seems to me that some of their (the four councils) arguments for being very important are not really material to what the Scottish government is going to want to know, which is: which representative organisation do we discuss local government matters with?

    Council gritter

    "I assume, at the moment, they will stick to talking to Cosla, which will continue to represent 28 councils.

    "Aberdeen has for many years now argued that it receives a lesser amount of financial support from the Scottish government than it is due to than other councils do.

    "The objective criteria used to determine most of that distribution don't favour Aberdeen. It has pockets of poverty, that's undeniable, there are people living in Aberdeen who are struggling.

    "But, by and large, it's a very prosperous area; [it has] little in common with Glasgow, Renfrewshire and to a certain extent South Lanarkshire."

    Cosla insists the move is not the end for the umbrella group and that the four councils will be welcome back any time.

    07:44: 'Creeping' towards identity cards

    Plans for a new identity database are to be debated by MSPs later amid civil liberty concerns.

    Willie Rennie

    Under the proposals more than 100 public bodies, including HMRC, would be able to access adults' private data on the NHS Central Register (NHSCR).

    One of the politicians opposed to the scheme is the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie.

    The MSP told Good Morning Scotland: "The main concern is the creeping nature towards a single number - a universal database - right across the public sector. It is one small step away from creating an identity card.

    "I know the Scottish government say they are against identity cards, but these are identity cards in all but name."

    07:38: Play to champion disabled acting

    A play featuring a number of disabled actors is set to take to the stage in Dundee.

    Thousands of pounds has been spent improving disabled access at the city's Rep Theatre for the new production of Blood Wedding.

    Dundee play rehearsal

    The cast includes deaf actors and wheelchair users, and is backed by the Graeae Theatre Company, which promotes the work of disabled thespians.

    Blood Wedding runs at the Dundee Rep until 14 March.

    07:30: Man arrested over bus sex attacks

    A 36-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged sexual assaults in the city centre of Glasgow.

    It comes after police released images of a man they were keen to trace in relation to a series of incidents on buses in the city.

    Three women were allegedly assaulted between 19 and 27 November last year.

    07:28: SSE donation 'window dressing'

    An organisation campaigning for cheaper electricity charges for people living on the Western isles has criticised a £40,000 donation from SSE to a charity.

    light bulb

    The money will be used by Energy Action Scotland to raise awareness of the help available to people struggling to pay their household fuel bills.

    Describing the money as "window dressing", Western Isles Poverty Action Group said SSE could afford to do more.

    SSE said the donation was aimed at helping its most vulnerable customers.

    @BBCScotWeather Ice risk BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Take care this morning, folks - widespread risk of ice.

    Ice warning
    07:22: Forth Bridge birthday

    On its 125th birthday, we have published a selection of your best pictures of the Forth Bridge.

    Forth Bridge

    The cantilever railway bridge which spans the Firth of Forth from nine miles (14 km) west of Edinburgh city centre to North Queensferry in Fife, is one of Scotland's most famous landmarks.

    A fly-past by a Spitfire and an RAF Typhoon will mark the 125th anniversary at 13.25 GMT.

    07:14: Transparency call over principals' pay

    The University and College Union (UCU) Scotland claims Scottish universities have broken promises made on transparency over principals' pay.

    university principal

    It says over two-thirds of universities refused to provide full minutes of the committee meetings where pay was set.

    The union is urging the Scottish government to intervene.

    Universities Scotland says remuneration committees' policies were set by the universities' governing bodies, which included staff and students.

    @BBCTravelScot Rail delays BBC Scotland Travel Latest


    • speed restriction between High Street and Glasgow Queen Street - 10 min delays - all day
    • 07:23 Elgin/Inverness cancelled
    • 07:36 Carstairs/Dalmuir cancelled
    • replacement buses to Glasgow Central, one to stations, one direct.
    07:08: Councils plan to leave Cosla

    Confirmation is expected later from Aberdeen Council that it is leaving Cosla, the local government umbrella group, to join a rival body.

    The Labour-led council is expected to form a new negotiating group with three other Labour councils: Glasgow, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire.

    Successive administrations at Aberdeen have expressed dissatisfaction over their relations with Cosla.

    It says the four councils will be welcome back at any time.

    07:06: Dungavel detentions Calum McKay BBC Scotland

    Dozens of asylum seekers have been held at Dungavel immigration removal centre (IRC) in South Lanarkshire for months, figures released to BBC Scotland reveal.

    Dungavel, near Strathaven in South Lanarkshire, opened in 2001

    In some cases detainees were held for more than a year.

    The figures come as MPs have called for a limit on the time someone can be detained under immigration powers.

    The Home Office said it only detains people for the shortest period necessary.

    @BBCScotWeather Ice warning BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Good morning! Gillian, here. Watch out for ice this morning. Still a scattering of showers during am, mostly dry with sunshine by afternoon. 6-8C.

    07:01: Super ID database

    Plans for a new identity database are to be debated by MSPs amid civil liberty concerns.

    identity database

    Under the proposals more than 100 public bodies, including HMRC, would be able to access adults' private data on the NHS Central Register (NHSCR).

    Opposition parties argue the move amounts to identity cards by the "back door".

    A consultation on the issue closed last week and the Scottish government has promised to "listen to all concerns".

    07:00: Here we go... Thomas McGuigan BBC Scotland News

    Good morning and a warm welcome to Wednesday's Scotland Live.

    News, sport, travel and weather between now and 19:00, with a sprinkling of your views on the day's events...



  • forth bridgeIn pictures

    Your reflections on the Forth bridge at 125

  • Elderly manSuicide decline

    The number of old people killing themselves has fallen. Why?

  • Petrol pumpPumping up

    Why are petrol prices rising again?

  • Image of George from Tube CrushTube crush

    How London's male commuters set Chinese hearts racing

  • TricycleTreasure trove

    The lost property shop stuffed with diamonds, bikes... and a leg

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.