Wednesday 4 January 2006

The true English spirit

I finally reached my tipping point just before Christmas. One of those MPs with a thick ‘och aye the noo’ accent was banging on about the urgency of merging the English and Welsh police forces into EU-approved regions, and I suddenly thought ‘Hang on, what’s this got to do with you?’

You Scots wanted the power to run your own affairs, and now you’ve got it. So why are so many of you still intent on sticking your noses into ours?

English voters will soon have a choice of three party leaders: a dour son of the manse, the only red-haired Highlander who doesn’t have a drink problem (apparently), and a bloke called Cameron. I can’t be alone in thinking it’s not much of a selection.

So I’ve decided that the time has come to start an English resistance, and I’m doing my bit by declaring a total economic boycott of Scotland. I can easily source my grass-fed beef from English pastures, and the thought of never eating another farmed salmon is immensely cheering.

But there is one really good thing that comes out of Scotland, apart from newspaper editors. It’s brown, comes in 70cl bottles and adds greatly to the jollity of life (which is odd, really, considering the conspicuous absence of merriment at most events I’ve attended north of the border).

True, there are some excellent whiskeys produced by Bushmills in County Antrim, and I’ve read reports that a Lakeland Single Malt is under development near Kendal, using imported Scottish grain. But as a Northumbrian, I’d much rather be drinking a genuinely local product.

We’ve got the barley, water and peat all right here. The Cheviot hills are pockmarked with the remains of illicit stills, so we know it can be done.

The long maturation period obviously represents a bit of a challenge for someone with my limited life expectancy, but that just makes it all the more important to get started without delay. This could herald an economic renaissance that will make the Coquet as famous for its liquor as the Spey. And as developments go, it’ll be an awful lot less intrusive than wind farms.

The only potential snag is that I haven’t actually got the couple of million quid needed to get the venture off the ground. However, I am prepared to waive my intellectual property rights and to provide a free service covering PR, marketing and product testing.

Millionaires with the requisite cash, vision and patience should e-mail me at

Keith Hann is a PR consultant and English, even if he does live north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Originally published in The Journal, Newcastle upon Tyne.

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