Wednesday 17 September 2014

Scots wha hae

Tomorrow our nearest neighbours may decide to press the non-nuclear button and vote to become an independent country.

In which event, I suppose it behoves me to find a polite way of saying “good riddance”. But sadly I can’t.

I think that anyone minded to take this great leap in the dark under the leadership of a manipulative banker – and a Scots banker at that – needs their heads examining.

But then the Scots imagine that they are hard done by; adore the sound of the bagpipes; believe that haggis, deep-fried Mars Bars and Buckfast tonic wine constitute haute cuisine; and fail to grasp that both kilts and tartan trews look utterly ridiculous. So there is ample evidence that they needed their heads examining anyway.

I have lived a double life for the last five years, but with one factor in common: both the places in which I base myself are close to the English border.

In Northumberland I can actually see the border from my windows but rarely venture across it, because I have been made to feel so unwelcome whenever I have done so of late. I don’t think it’s anything personal, but a country that makes much its undisputed natural beauty as a tourist attraction might perhaps try a little harder not to make English visitors feel so spectacularly unwanted.

From Cheshire I cross into Wales on a daily basis, for the simple reason that my principal client is based there.

One notices the difference immediately, as the worn-out, potholed English road gives way to the immaculately tarmacked Welsh one.

Like the Scots, those who live in Wales have a variety of other expensive privileges showered upon them, from free prescriptions to cut-price university education. Yet oddly house prices are materially higher on the English side of the Welsh border.

This may be because the NHS in England is marginally less likely to kill you, or because the supermarket signage is not incomprehensible, or because many people don’t want their kids educated in a dead language that sounds uncannily like someone with bad catarrh clearing his throat.

In both the Welsh and Scotch (as we may now surely say once more, not having to bow to their absurd preference for “Scottish”) cases, there is abundant evidence of our Celtic fringe being heavily subsidised by the English taxpayer in the vain hope of keeping them on side and perhaps even a little bit grateful.

There is no sign of this strategy proving even a teensy bit successful, and I for one have had enough of it. I am absolutely outraged by the all-party offer to shower yet more benefits on the Scots if they vote “no”, without even consulting the rest of us.

I’d much prefer them to vote “yes” if the alternative is an even more biased constitutional and financial settlement at England’s expense.

I have never recorded my nationality in a hotel register as anything but “UK” (because it expends fewer calories than writing “British”) but I am sure I will easily adapt to identifying myself as English.

It will, of course, be a blow never again to have a Prime Minister of the calibre of Gordon Brown, or to see a Labour government more than once in a blue moon.

Don't panic! On second thoughts, do. And make that "Two Nations".

I won’t actually pour my large collection of Scotch single malts down the drain but I shall never buy another drop of the stuff. I fancy this may be very good news for shares in Northern Irish distillers.

When the hungry refugees start trying to trickle across the border in a few years’ time, I shall enjoy a chuckle at their expense as they are turned back by well-trained Northumbrian pikemen.

It might actually have been cheaper to keep Trident.

All this is assuming, of course, that we actually take any notice of the referendum result. Rather than pronouncing, in EU style, that the voters clearly haven’t understood the question and making them do it again until they produce the right answer.

Alternatively we could send in the military, arrest the ringleaders and charge them with treason. There is something about Alex Salmond’s perpetually smug expression that always makes me wonder how his head would look on a spike on the battlements of Edinburgh Castle.

Originally published in The Journal, Newcastle upon Tyne.

1 comment:

CC said...

Sincerely hoping sanity prevails and Scotland stays with the rest of the UK.

You have my deepest sympathy, coming as I do from the land where only unborn fetuses should be protected while elementary school teachers are being encouraged to get a gun and learn how to protect their students and themselves IN our schools. Just had a young pregnant woman shot "accidently" here over the weekend and the baby died as well. Great tragedy that also complicates the argument. Looking for a safe bed to hide under……. Fingers crossed for tomorrow's vote. I love the UK and want it to stay together. CC