By Paul Kavanagh
Since the referendum campaign kicked off we’ve been subjected to a barrage of ridiculous scare stories from our political masters at Westminster. From repatriating pandas to partition, from the outbreak of a sectarian war to being left as isolated and friendless as North Korea only with a lower standard of living and a less democratic government, the Unionist alarm calls are becoming ever more shrill and hysterical.
If ever you were in any doubt about the meaning of the term Perfidious Albion, you only need watch the preposterous preening of a UK Parliament which keeps telling us it’s the legitimate government of Scotland and has our interests at heart, yet all they come out with is irresponsible and childish scaremongering designed to scupper Scotland’s economy and the well-being of our body politic, whether we stay in the Union or leave it.
We’ve had Philip Hammond playing his defence organ as he trotted through Westminster’s greatest hit, My Trident Goes Boom Bang a Bang. Like a cheesy performer in a 1970s holiday camp, Phil thought he was playing to a captive audience who’d be grateful for any auld rubbish to relieve the tedium. Apparently we’d be incapable of defending ourselves if we got independence because unless we pay for weapons of mass destruction and a navy able to invade Iran we’ll fall prey to the predations of those expansionist Faroese Islanders. Westminster remains stuck in its British Empire timewarp, but Scotland’s moved on.
William Hague announced with a straight face that British embassies would no longer promote Scotch whisky, conveniently omitting two key facts. Firstly that an independent Scotland will be perfectly capable of promoting itself in the world without the assistance of some chinless wonder in the Westminster Foreign Office to intercede on our behalf, indeed that’s one of the main advantages of independence, and secondly that UK embassies only promote Scotch whisky when Scottish companies pay them ridiculously large sums of money to do so. Scottish embassies will promote Scottish businesses for free, seeing as how that’s what they’ll be there for. They may even supply the Ferrero Rocher, since all the soor plooms have been taken by Johann Lamont. The only interests to suffer in this deal will be those of William Hague’s Foreign Office. That is indeed a scare, but not for Scotland.
Alistair Darling howked his troosers oot from under his oxters long enough to protest that the proposed referendum question is unfair and biased. Together with Count Mikey Forsythula he’s proposed a totally fair and unbiased question to be used in the referendum instead:
“Do you want to cruelly and thoughtlessly wrench apart God’s own United Kingdom which stood up against the Nazis in WW2 and be cast into utter darkness without heat, food or light forever and have to worship Alex Salmond like he was Kim Il-Sung? Do you? Do you? Eh? Because if you do you’re just letting Hitler win. Plus your football team will still be rubbish, you’ll make the Baby Jesus cry, and this little kitten will drown. And that’s a fact.”
Others in the Unionist camp thought it was wrong that the SNP had blagged the “Yes” answer, leaving them with the scowling po-faced negative. This would be easy to remedy, the proposed question “Do you agree that Scotland should become an independent country?” could be rephrased to “Do you agree that Scotland should remain a dependent country?” There, sorted.
The BBC’s Big Debate kicked off. In line with Pacific Quay’s usual definition of impartiality, there was one independence supporter against two Unionists and an undecided. Scottish Conservatives have complained that they weren’t invited, because three Unionists against one independence supporter is what’s really fair and balanced. But since nowadays no one can tell the difference between Lib Dem Tory-enablers or a Labour party that’s enthusiastically signing up to the Tory cuts agenda and yer actual Tories, it wouldn’t have made much difference even if the Action Krankie had come abseiling in wrapped in a Union flag to kick box some Daily Mail common sense into the proceedings.
In the absence of a self-declared Tory making an eejit of themselves, the highlight of the show was Tinkerbell Tankerness disappearing up his own fundament in a puff of hypocrisy. Complaining that nationalists always accuse Unionists of scaremongering whenever they attempt to defend the Union, Tinkerbell then launched into yet another scare story by claiming Scottish trade with England would be blocked by trade barriers. Nicola Sturgeon pointed out that all of the EU is a common trading area without any trade barriers and demanded that Tinkerbell be specific or haud his wheesht.
Without a trace of self-awareness, and let’s face it a woman who leads a party of clowns isn’t going to be clued into ironic subtlety, Johann Lamont claimed that Alex Salmond only hates David Cameron because he’s English. Just the other week Johann’s party was howling because St Joan of McAlpine had said that the Unionist parties had been anti-Scottish in their attempts to deny the Scottish people the right to determine our own future on our own terms, and Labour burned her at the stake for it. But it’s perfectly reasonable for Johann to say the Nats are anti-English. Johann hates David Cameron because he’s a Tory. In fact Johann hates the Tories so much she’s determined to expose Scotland to decades of Tory governments we didn’t vote for just so we won’t forget just how crapulous they are. It’s for our own good really.
In other news, some Tory hereditary peer, My Name Is Earl Sinclair, is deeply concerned about the right to self-determination of the Unionist gulls on Rockall. Earl is a monicker usually associated with the crack and alcohol ravaged denizens of trailer parks in the Deep South, and appropriately enough he resides in the Deep South in the heart of Davie Cameron’s Tory safe seat. Earl has introduced an amendment to the Scotland Bill demanding that Rockall be considered a part of Dorset because seabirds have colonies in Poole Harbour and hundreds of red white and blue tern families will be cruelly separated if those evil Nats get their way. But he’s gulling no one with his puffin, all he’s done is to illustrate to Scots another way in which Westminster is an albatross around our necks.
Crying wolf is a game of diminishing returns. There’s only so much miserabilism a sane human being can take. By subjecting us to such patent nonsense, the Unionists have blown what little credibility they once possessed. Compared to the sour faces of the Unionists, independence supporters are as positive and cheerful as that episode of the Waltons when Granma popped a couple of ecstasy tablets and Granpa bought viagra on the internet.
So in order to level the playing field it’s only fair that independence supporters have some scare stories of our own. Inventing childish and immature scare stories is a fun game all the family can play. The following scare stories have as much basis in reality as the guff that is coming out of Unionist Panic Central, and unlike Unionist MPs and unelected members of the Lords, I’m not getting paid public money to make them up.
All ‘UK national’ infrastructure paid for by North Sea oil will be repatriated to Scotland. The M25 London orbital motorway will be dug up and relaid between Perth and Inverness, the Channel Tunnel will be moved to the Pentland Firth, England’s high speed railway lines will be moved to Scotland, and the new Heathrow runway will be constructed at Sumburgh airport. Westminster will be sent the bill for the costs this will entail. The London Underground will close down due to a lack of funding and all major businesses with their European headquarters in London will relocate to Paisley the new economic and cultural hub of North Western Europe, now linked to Glasgow airport and all Scots cities via a lovely new high speed railway.
Riots will break out in tea-rooms in Berkshire as elderly Tory matrons discover that in a post-independence England, scones are at a premium. There will be a thriving black market in marmalade, raspberry jam, Abernethy biscuits and Dundee cake. The Women’s Institute will find itself a proscribed organisation after an investigative journalist goes undercover posing as a bootleg jam salesman and discovers a vast criminal conspiracy. Alongside shady dealers pushing crack and heroin, English cities will witness a plague of elderly women on street corners asking passers-by if they wanna score some shortbread.
The UK was founded as a Union between Scotland and England. The EU and UN will announce that since Scotland is an older nation than England, Scotland has seniority and will be considered the legitimate successor state to the UK. Scotland will inherit the UK’s seat on the UN security council and will veto English membership of international bodies, forcing it to return to its status as a province of Normandy. England will become a part of France. London will be renamed Sarkozyville-sur-Tamise and FIFA will record the 1966 World Cup as a French victory. Jimmy Hill will have to change his name to Jacques Coline.
In other sporting news, Andy Murray will win Wimbledon and BBC sports presenters will finally be able to crow about a British tennis champion … Oh, wait …
England will have to pay to use words contributed by Scotland to the English language. These include some of the most versatile and useful words in English, like the planet’s favourite f-word, first attested in the poetry of the mediaeval Scots writer Dunbar. Swear-boxes will be set up on every street corner and pub in England. Known as the F***ing Scots Tax, the fines collected will be sent north of the Border to pay for speech therapy sessions for Goddon Brown and weather forecasters who tell us that there will be stomms in the noth of the Kengomms in the monning. English-resident Billy Connelly will be subject to a government banning order, so it’s not all bad news.
The word ‘blackmail’ was also borrowed by English from Scots. This is the real fear of the Westminster village. After Scottish independence Westminster will no longer be able to blackmail the population of the rump-UK with its asinine tales of woe, doom and gloom because if it does Scotland will serve it with a breach of copyright notice and close it down faster than you can say Megaupload.
In an attempt to rescue their careers, Dougie Alexander, Jim Murphy, Magrit Curran, Wee Wullie Bain and the rest will seek safe seats in English Labour constituencies, if there are any safe Labour seats left after the Tories have finished gerrymandering the constituency boundaries. After serving out their time as lobby fodder for the party whips, they’ll get bumped up to the House of Lords where they can continue to shape public policy, and the good people of England will never get shot of them.
But the independence campaign doesn’t need scaremongering. All across Scotland people are putting forward a positive case for independence, you only need scare stories when you’ve got no positive case of your own. If it existed we’d have heard the positive case for the Union by now.
The deluge of Unionist scare stories only illustrates the paucity of the arguments for retaining the Union. They’re trying to get the people of Scotland to cower in fear, they want us to be afraid of our own potential, because in an independent Scotland there will be no place for politicians who rely upon the people to remain childlike and infantilised.
They’re afraid we’re growing up and they’re afraid of that vote in 2 years time that will allow Scots to say that we’ll never again be patronised by idiots who take us for granted. “Do you agree that Scotland should become an independent country?” Hell yes.