Less than a fortnight remains before the people of Scotland vote on whether their country should be independent or should remain part of the United Kingdom. During the past year I’ve avidly followed the campaigns by the ‘yes’ side (i.e. ‘go for independence, Scotland!’) and the ‘no’ side (i.e. ‘don’t do it, Scotland!’) and I have to say I’ve found the information put forward by the ‘no’ one particularly enlightening. I’ve learnt many things from it and, in several cases, I’ve had to drastically revise what I thought I already knew.
By the ‘no’ campaign I mean the official campaign-group Better Together and other unofficial ones like Vote No Borders; and the political parties who’re backing a ‘no’ vote, namely the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP; and newspapers that are sympathetic to the ‘no’ cause like the Times, Sun, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Independent, Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Scotsman, Herald, Daily Record, Press and Journal, West Highland Free Press… Well, basically everyone apart from the Sunday Herald; and those many, ordinary-but-vociferous ‘no’ supporters who write to and post online in the newspapers. So here are eight things I’ve learnt whilst reading and listening to the arguments in favour of voting ‘no’, put forward by this large and intellectual body of opinion.
One. Scottish nationalism was invented by Mel Gibson.
(c) Paramount Pictures
I’d mistakenly believed that the desire for Scottish independence could be traced back to the founding of the Scottish National Party in 1934 and that the question of whether or not Scotland could be a self-governing country again had bubbled fitfully since then. And I’d mistakenly thought that, in the eight decades since, independence had been supported and promoted by people like John MacCormick, Hugh MacDiarmid, Ian Hamilton, William Wolfe, Winnie Ewing, Tom Nairn, Margo McDonald and Jim Sillars. But I was wrong. Don’t blame me for misunderstanding Scottish political history, though. I’d read about it in a book called The Battle for Scotland, written by Andrew Marr, who was obviously lying.
In fact, I’ve learnt from ‘no’ supporting politicians, journalists, activists, Tweeters and comment-posters (who surely know what they’re talking about) that all this stuff started only in 1995. Until 1995, the Scots had been contented, docile citizens of the UK, happy to describe themselves as ‘British’ rather than ‘Scottish’, to sing God Save the Queen as their anthem at sporting events and to let Westminster make their decisions for them. But then a terrible thing happened. An agent provocateur appeared. He roused those previously-loyal Scots and transformed them into a rabble. Yes, an anti-Semitic Australian with a booze problem donned a kilt, painted his face blue, picked up a broadsword and charged along a muddy field screaming “FREEEE-DUUUUM!” And that’s how this troublesome Scottish independence nonsense began. With a film. Called Braveheart.
You might think it far-fetched that a political movement supported by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of (clearly deluded) people could be triggered by something as trivial as a Hollywood movie, but there are other examples of this. I’ve seen Logan’s Run, the 1976 science-fiction film about a society of rich, beautiful and privileged people who have their every wish fulfilled living in a plastic future utopia that’s basically a giant shopping mall – a utopia where anyone who has the temerity to become wrinkly, diseased, disabled, unproductive and dependent on the state (by growing old) gets vaporised by a death ray. That was obviously the blueprint for Thatcherism.
Two. All Scottish women live in kitchens.
The last time I was in Scotland I thought I saw a few women out on the street, but I realise now this was probably a mirage caused by unusual climatic conditions. (The Scottish weather had been unseasonably clement – i.e. it was above freezing and not pissing with rain all day). Scottish women never actually go outside. This I’ve learnt from watching the recent Better Together advert aimed at ‘undecided female voters’.
Scottish women, you see, are much too busy to venture beyond the parameters of their kitchens. And when they aren’t cooking meals, washing dishes and scrubbing floors, they sit at their kitchen tables, sipping coffee out of giant flowery mugs and complaining about their husbands, or ‘men-folk’ as we say in Scotland, who will insist on blathering on about boring things that women can’t understand, like politics. The man whom the poor woman in the Better Together advert is married to is particularly unreasonable in this regard. He insists on talking about the referendum during breakfast, instead of eating his cereal. I mean, the thought of it. What a creep!
Of course, ladies, you need to do the right thing regarding this referendum business, which is so complicated it’ll probably make your heads explode if you try to think about it. Just vote ‘no’.
Three. Nothing is more horrible than being related to foreigners.
I hadn’t realised how ghastly my family life was until I heard many ‘no’ supporters argue that an independent Scotland would mean Scottish people with relatives in England would see those relatives suddenly become ‘foreigners’. That got me thinking. Foreigners must be horrible people. It must be absolutely dreadful to have them in your family. And actually – oh God, no! – my family is already infested with foreigners. My dad was born in the Republic of Ireland – a bloody foreigner. My aunt, uncle and three cousins are Australians – more bloody foreigners. And my girlfriend’s an American – another one of those foreign scumbags! I can only thank the ‘no’ campaign for alerting me to the awfulness of my situation.
Actually, three leaders of the political parties supporting a ‘no’ vote have had to live with this dire state-of-affairs for years. Ed Miliband, for example, is the son of a Pole and a Belgian, while Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage are married to a Dutchwoman and a German respectively. So I think it’s very decent of Nick, Ed and Nigel to support the ‘no’ campaign, to spare many people in Scotland the horrors they’ve had to endure through being related to foreigners.
Four. ‘Yes’ supporters don’t love their families.
From the drum.com
In fact, it’s just as well that ‘yes’ supporters don’t love their families. It won’t matter to them if those families end up full of foreigners.
Five. Hadrian’s Wall stood on the border between Scotland and England.
I once lived in the north-eastern English city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and I was sure that the famous wall erected by the Roman Emperor Hadrian had its eastern end there, in the North Tyneside district of Wallsend. I was also sure I’d once cycled across northern England alongside the route of the wall, from Newcastle, through places like Heddon-on-the-Wall, Chollerford and Walton, and finally to Carlisle. All of them are a good way from the border with Scotland. Indeed, Wallsend must be about sixty or seventy miles from it.
However, my memory must be faulty. According to many comments by ‘no’ supporters I’ve read, about the English having to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall to prevent millions of starving refugees flooding south from a bankrupt independent Scotland, or about the Scots having to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall to prevent millions of political refugees flooding south from a totalitarian independent Scotland, the wall must’ve stood on the border. After all, if the wall was in England, wouldn’t rebuilding it mean lots of English people in Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear would be imprisoned in Scotland?
Also, Rory Stewart, the Conservative MP for Penrith who’s sometimes known as ‘Rory the Tory’, recently tried to organise a cross-border stunt whereby 100,000 people would hold hands along the route of Hadrian’s Wall to show solidarity with the Scots and urge them, symbolically, to stay in the UK. Now nobody could be daft enough to stage a massive human chain along the border between two countries to emphasise their emotional, cultural and historical links, but actually have everyone stand tens of miles inside one of the countries instead? I mean, nobody could be that stupid?
Six. Douglas Alexander is Jesus.
(c) The Scotsman
Douglas Alexander, Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and a man who likes to ruminate brainily on Scotland’s constitutional future within the UK if it rejects independence on September 18th, is given copious breathless coverage in Scotland’s ‘no’-supporting press. Well, so he should be. He’s a political genius. After all, as David Miliband’s campaign manager in the 2010 Labour leadership contest, he steered David to triumphant, er, defeat at the hands of his brother Ed.
However, what has lately become obvious is that Douglas is not merely an MP and a political genius, but also the Son of God, the Messiah returned to earth so that “we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (First Thessalonians 4:16-17). This was ascertained by a Scotsman photographer who one evening snapped a picture of him standing by the River Clyde in a significantly crucified position. And verily, the resulting photograph showed Douglas’s head ringed by a halo!
Unbelievers have argued that the halo is actually the curve of Glasgow’s Clyde Arc (aka ‘the Squinty Bridge’) in the background. I don’t accept this, however. Douglas is irrefutably the Messiah. He can cure the afflicted with his touch, walk on water and feed a multitude with a few paltry loaves and fishes. If he was nailed to a cross and had a sword thrust into his side, I’ve no doubt that he’d rise again from the dead three days later. Actually, maybe we should do this to Douglas just to prove those sceptics wrong.
Seven. Civilisation collapses when someone chucks an egg.
Recently, Jim Murphy, the brave, wise and noble Labour MP for Renfrewshire East has been on a speaking tour of Scotland’s towns and cities, engaging the local populations in friendly and open conversation about why it’s best to vote ‘no’ whilst standing on an Irn Bru crate and bellowing at them through an amplified microphone. When Jim visited the streets of Kirkcaldy last week, however, an atrocity was committed by a ‘yes’ supporter. This thug flung an egg at Jim and almost fatally wounded the gallant MP by making a bit of a stain on his shirt. Immediately, the media was aflame with anti-independence journalists, commentators, Tweeters and posters proclaiming, quite rightly, that this marked the end of democracy and free speech in Scotland, and the beginning of an onslaught by the forces of fascism and anarchy. Why, civilisation itself in Scotland was about to fall.
Admittedly, a few people pointed out that in the past eggs had been thrown at politicians like John Prescott, Nick Griffith and Nigel Farage, and on those occasions Kristallnacht had failed to materialise. However, there’s an important difference this time. Those previous egg incidents had occurred in England. The egging of the valiant Jim Murphy had taken place in Scotland, where the entire population is liable to go into a murderous frenzy if they catch a whiff of spilt egg-yolk.
Eight. Scottish independence? It’s all the work of one crazed, evil super-genius.
On television you may see politicians like Nicola Sturgeon, Patrick Harvie and Dennis Canavan arguing for Scottish independence, but these are not real people. They’re merely animatronic puppets controlled from afar by one man. When he isn’t using remote-controlled androids to do his dirty work for him, he sits at his computer and writes, under a vast array of pseudonyms, all the copy that appears on the pro-independence websites like Wings over Scotland, Bella Caledonia and Newsnet Scotland. Using many more aliases, he posts too all those pro-independence comments on newspaper-website opinion threads. Yes, all of them.
Any footage you’ve seen of rallies in support of independence involving more than one person is fake – he doctors the footage with computer-generated images to make it look like there were lots of people in attendance. And you know how recently a million people supposedly signed a petition for Scottish independence online? That was also him, clicking on his computer a million times.
Who is he, this insane, evil but brilliant mastermind, who’s been probably cloned from scraps of DNA from Hitler, Stalin and Chairman Mao and who’s orchestrated the whole Scottish independence campaign single-handedly in a fiendish attempt to bring the UK to its knees?
You know who it is. It’s him!
(c) Eon Productions
No, it’s not him. It’s him!
(c) Daily Record