Kick Up the Tabloids

Vladimir McTavish’s Kick Up the Tabloids


We live in significant times for Scotland right now. Whatever the result of the referendum, whenever that referendum may take place, the next few years will be seen in years to come as being a pivotal point in our nation’s history.

Finally the Government have launched their “Road Map to Independence”. Very inspiring, very impressive but a bit behind the times. This is 2011, for Christ’s sake, nobody uses a road map in this day and age. Get with the project, Eck. Let’s see your SatNav to Freedom

At this autumn’s SNP conference in Inverness. MSP Humza Yousaf spoke proudly of his grandfather’s fight for Indian independence, and compared it to his own part in Scotland’s march towards freedom. What he failed to mention was the role that Ghandi’s hunger strike had played in bringing down the British Raj. You can hardly see Alex Salmond going on a hunger strike. And, if he did, how long would it last? It could drag on for years.

Then Alex himself proudly proclaimed to the same conference that “The eyes of the World are on Scotland”. I think this may well be true. I have no doubt that in Libya, as the country celebrated its own liberation from 40 years of tyrannical dictatorship, people were having conversations along the following lines: “Forget queuing up for two hours to see Ghadaffi lying in a fridge, I’m going home to watch BBC News 24. I want to find out what’s happening at the SNP conference, and after that I’m going to catch up on River City on iPlayer. By the way, did you hear that Ayr United knocked St Mirren out of the League Cup last night?”

You can hardly see Alex Salmond going on a hunger strike. And, if he did, how long would it last? It could drag on for years.

While independence is likely to be achieved harmoniously, there are several vexed questions which could yet lead to bitter cross-border disputes. For example, there is the whole issue of Berwick-upon-Tweed and in which country it finds itselfin the event of a split in the Union. This is perhaps the most contentious of issues and one with no obvious solution. After all, who wants Berwick-upon-Tweed?

The Scottish Government has reassured us that, post-independence, we will still be able to watch X-Factor. I was in favour of independence up until they said that but I’m suddenly going off the idea. And, let’s face it, X-Factor needs Scotland a lot more than Scotland needs X-Factor.

The big question, however, is about questions. What question or questions the Referendum will ask. In order to please everybody, and in keeping with Scottish electoral tradition, it will not pose as simple a question as “Do you want Scotland to be independent from the UK? Please answer Yes or No”. In this country we like to keep our voting systems as complicated as possible. So expect the Referendum to take the form of an extremely complex multiple choice menu. Like the Driving Theory Test but with fewer obvious answers. Here’s a sample of how the Referendum could be worded.

“Please place the following options for Scotland’s future in order of preference.Alternatively, you may answer Yes to as many questions as possible, if that’s what you prefer:

A: Full independence from the UK.

B: Independence from the UK while retaining membership of the EU.

C: Independent from both EU and UK but still part of NATO.

D: Independent from the United Kingdom, but still with the Queen of the United Kingdom as our Head of State.

E: Independence Lite

F: Devolution Max

G: 99 percent fat-free, low-salt reduced-sugar Independence Max

H: Remaining within the UK with same powers for Scottish Parliament

I: Scrapping Scottish Parliament

J: Scrapping Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh Trams and new Forth Road Bridge

K: Remaining within the UK but with no Scottish players in Team GB for football at 2012 Olympics.

L: End London Rule

M: Independent from the UK, but with Rangers and Celtic playing in the English Premier League.

N: I’m a bit unsure. I’m really quite patriotic, but I don’t like the idea of Border posts, and needing a passport to visit my cousins in Leeds. Also, will we still be able to watch Eastenders on the telly?

O: Let’s keep things the way they are.

P: Let’s keep things the way they are but without the Smoking Ban.

Q: Bloody Hell! You’re not still going on about the Smoking Ban, are you? It was five years ago, deal with it.

R: The only reason I’m going on about the Smoking Ban is that it has ruined the licensed trade in Scotland. That plus the recession, and cheap deals on booze in supermarkets

S: Independent from the UK, but with St Andrews leased back to England.

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

U: Remaining part of the UK but with Scottish people not supporting any England team in any sport apart from, bizarrely, cricket.

V: Independent from the UK, but with Andrew Neill remaining in England..

W: None of the above.

X: Don’t know.

Y: Havnae got a fuckin’ clue, pal.

Z: Freedom!