Kick Up the Tabloids


Two years to go to The Referendum, and the biggest challenge facing all of Scotland is keeping the Nation interested.

The level of apathy on the subject of independence really does dismay and surprise me. This is the most important question we will have been asked in three-hundred years and some people aren’t that bothered.

In other countries people have gone to extreme lengths to try to gain freedom. Only a few months back, two people in Tibet set fire to themselves as a protest against Chinese occupation of their country. Fair enough, plenty of people in Scotland set fire to themselves every year. However, it’s not normally done to make a political statement, it’s normally some poor guy trying to make chips after he’s got home from a night in the pub. Furthermore, the last person in Scotland who did try to make a political point by setting fire to himself got a severe kicking from a baggage handler at Glasgow Airport.

Perhaps it has always been this way, perhaps people have always been apathetic throughout Scottish history. Who knows how many people sat on the fence at Bannockburn? Possibly some people havered on about health and safety before deciding not to lend Flora McDonald their rowing boat. Who knows? Perhaps some people even changed channels half way through Archie Gemmill’s goal at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

I think the current mood of disinterest can be partly attributed to the fact that most people are still a bit unclear about the pros and cons of independence.

On the downside, it has been suggested that there might be border checkpoints at Carlisle. However, on the upside, there might be a duty-free shop at Gretna Services. The positive of having our own contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest is likely to be less appealing when our entry is chosen from a short list of Susan Boyle, Michelle McManus, Lulu, Darius, Sheena Easton and Marti Pellow.

However, on the upside, under independence, we will have politicians who are directly answerable to the people of Scotland. On the downside, nobody knows who any of these people are. Aside from Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, public recognition ratings of most Scottish politicians are very low. Show the average person in the street a picture of Johan Lamont and ask “Who’s this ?”, the chances are that few would recognise her as leader of the Scottish Labour Party. Answers would range from Susan Boyle, to a professional cage-fighter, Chancellor of Germany, or Rab C. Nesbitt’s wife

So, do we have the stomach for the long game towards freedom for Scotland? History suggests it may not be easy. The USA had to fight a war to gain independence, as did Ireland. Indian independence was mainly brought about because Ghandi went on hunger strike to bring down the British Raj. You can hardly see Alex Salmond going on a hunger strike. It could last for years, and we could all have lost interest by the end.

Maybe a simple Yes/No referendum is too stark a question to ask.

I reckon the following questions would serve as more appropriate Referendum for the people of Scotland.

“Please place the following options for Scotland’s future in order of preference.”

A: Full independence from the UK.

B: Independent from the UK while retaining membership of the European Union.

C: Independent but with Lorraine Kelly, Kirsty Wark and Michelle McManus remaining within the UK.

D: Remaining within the UK but with Gordon Ramsay being deported to a country that still has the death penalty.

E: Remaining within the UK with increased powers for the Scottish Parliament

F: Scrapping the Scottish Parliament

G: Scrapping the Scottish Parliament, the Edinburgh Trams and new Forth Road Bridge.

H: Independent from the UK, but with with Scottish people still allowed to sell the Big Issue on the streets of London.

I: Independent from the UK, but with the area around Buckfast Abbey in Devon declared as sovereign Scottish territory.

J: Don’t know.

K: Havnae got a clue, pal.

L: Freedom!