An English referendum?


By Father Ross K. Bell

Around this time in 1979, I was studying for my Scottish O’ Grades.  For our English exam we had been given Animal Farm, by George Orwell to study. 

I recently came across my copy of the book, obviously purloined from Bell Baxter High School (should they wish it back please feel free to contact me) I had covered the book with a page from Punch 28th Feb 1979.  What  was written thereon is worth reproducing here; it is utterly germane to our current situation.

Most questions are of the yes/no sort, periodically one has a further codicil.


1. From what you have seen of the Scots (eg at football matches and on the Costa Brava) do you think they are capable of
a. Running their own country?
b. Running a fish supper shop?
c. Declaring UDI and expecting the English to fund them?

2. To get the Callaghan (read Cameron) Government off the hook and ensure their return at the next election, would you be willing to pay heavily to support:
a. A power-crazed, breast-beating bureaucracy serving a nest of neo-Jacobites and red boilermakers on the Firth of Forth?
b. A power-crazed, breast-beating bureaucracy serving a rable of Jenkinses on the River Taff

3. Under the Callaghan plan the Scots, if they are given (sic) their own Parliament, will still have the right to send their hairy MPs to Westminster, where they will be free to meddle in English affairs, while the English will be unable to offer mature guidance in the theirs.
a. Is this right?
b. Is this decent?
c. Is this not absolutely iniquitous?

4. Do you want to be free to disobey the Fourth Commandment without being nagged by killjoy MPs from the Highlands? (Remember the Sabbath Day etc)

5. When you hear Scots Nationalists talking about “their” North Sea Oil, do you get
a. Mildly irritated?
b. Hopping mad?
c. Severe cardiac symptoms?
d. An urge to write and explain to them that all they own is bracken heather and sheep dung?

6. Do you think the “Highland clearances” should now be followed by the Lowland clearances?

7. Alternatively, are you in favour, even at this late stage, of building a high wall to contain the Scots in their native land?  If so, how high?
a. Ten feet?
b. Twenty feet?
c. As high as humanly possible?
d. With broken glass on the top?

8. It is widely recognised that repatriation of Scots shop stewards from English factories and hospitals would mean that England would have no shop stewards left and might well be faced in consequence with a new era of prosperity.
a. Do you favour breaking these historic, sentimental links with Scotland?

9. The Scots and the French used to be linked in a treacherous “Auld Allience” and probably still are.  Do you think:
a. The Scots are more slippery than the French?
b. The French are more slippery than the Scots?
c. There is nothing to choose between them?

10. Bearing in mind the fighting qualities of the Scots (eg at football matches and on the Costa Brava), and the claim of the Highland Division to have defeated Hitler without other assistance, would you be in favour of employing the Scots as mercenaries, like the Gurkhas, to pull English chestnuts out of the fire?

11. Bear in mind that Kitchener in World War One was reluctant to allow the Welsh to have their own division, on the grounds that no one can be sure what a load of Taffies are really getting up to, would you be willing to allow the Welsh to be used as mercenaries to pull English chestnuts out of the fire?

12. Finally, do you not agree that Scots and Welsh affairs should continue to be dealt with as hitherto on occasional Friday afternoons at Westminster, thus sparing untutored Celts the distresses inseparable from attempts at self-government and thereby saving the English a great deal of money? (Their italics)

As an historic document it reinforces the sort of attitude held by the English Establishment to Celts both then and now.  I commend this article to the House…