I do love a guilty pleasure…a glass of wine before 5pm, crunchy salt on skinny chips, reading the Press after an English football defeat. Beating them all right now is the sound of British bleating that the Union might actually be working for once and the family of nations voting enthusiastically.
Indignation! Incredulity! Induced hysteria! Every bulletin in a tight BBC voice – ‘Alex Salmond says he will vote down a minority Tory government’ – and every headline – ‘SNP will sabotage British democracy’ – has me mimicking that Salmond Smirk behind my hand.
What pleasure to see the metropolitan clique flapping like headless chickens and hear them reveal what the Union truly means to them – Jocks in a Box.
They thought they were hammering the lid shut on September 19 but, God Bless Old Scotia, the peasants revolted and came out kicking, rusty claymores in hand, chanting: ‘You want us to stay? Well, here we come.’
And they don’t like it up ‘em. Forget all that stuff about lots of devolution if we stay; this time Scots are not waiting for the Establishment to dispense it, but we are ready to take it from them for once by using the very thing they have used against us – the authority vested in Parliament. They have no defence in a democracy except to wail ‘It’s no fair’ which adds to the fun because it leads them into all that deeply embarrassing and anti-Unionist crypto-xenophobia – exactly the kind of wretched name-calling Nationalists were accused of when we were supposed to be narrow-minded, parochial and anti-English.
When I hear their disgust at the idea of Scots having influence ‘over England’, I think of Carson, the butler in Downton. He had a way of conveying the haughty disdain of the nobs too polite to say it out loud and he could silence a footman with an arch of his eyebrow.
I’ve always known that the London elite didn’t mind us at table so long as we stayed below the salt but the latest outburst of squaking at the exercise of our rights as British citizens says they’d prefer us just to stay below stairs.
The funniest part of course is that this is what the Union is about with all constituent parts contributing, the only difference being that this time it won’t necessarily be the Big Two (overwhelmingly England) deciding who wins. You couldn’t have a better example of the concept of Union and I doubt if it has happened in the previous 300 years. That the top brass in London give the Scots the clearest message that their votes shouldn’t count as much as England’s is a kind of Nationalist Comedy Festival feeding the idea that, if you have a grain of national dignity left, the Unionist gig is over.
I feel for those who don’t want in power a party dedicated to breaking up Britain, but isn’t that to deny the very result delivered by Scots in the referendum? The SNP lost. They are not heading to Westminster to raise the saltire but to rearrange the existing Union – as expressly required by the No campaign.
And what to Unionists say to the likely addition of the DUP to the existing Coalition partners if the Tories and Lib Dems don’t have the numbers? It’s true they don’t want to break up Britain but they had links to paramilitaries, notably the UVF, who killed British citizens in Northern Ireland. Is the party of Ian Paisley more welcome to influence a British government than social democratic Scots?
It’s is Pythonesque and it’s a luxury we rarely get to know we have upset them so much and that Labour are floundering so badly. It may not last – who knows – but you can’t deny it’s a lot of fun. I see the time now is dead on noon. Too early for the vino?
(I’m heading off to Edinburgh to interview Alex Salmond for Newsnet and to chair a public meeting about his book. It will appear on the site later.)by