At the door to the allotment shed, old Uncle Jeremy dozed in the broken armchair with the springs sticking out. ‘Wake up’, said a voice. It was young Kezia, his niece, shaking the shoulder of his Mao jacket.
‘Eh? What’s up? What day is it? Has the revolution started?’ He ran fingers through his straggly beard. ‘Stalin didn’t shoot his own wife, you know. It’s a lie put out by the Kremlin plotters.’
Kez laughed. ‘Don’t be silly, uncle. The revolution’s over – Mr Blair has gone. I want you to come north with me on a trip.’
‘Up north! You mean north of Islington? Like Enfield?
‘Even further north, uncle.’
‘You mean Watford’
Kez remembered why she loved old Jeremy so much, despite thinking he was doolally and should have retired years ago.
‘I’m taking you to see my new place which I run all by myself and have lots and lots of new friends. It’s called Scotland.’
‘Oh alright. But only if we can travel in an overcrowded carriage with the peasants carrying chickens in wicker baskets and share home-made bread while the guard plays a balalaika.’
And so Jeremy arrived in Scotland on an island Kezia said was called Stornoway where people spoke a strange a language and made garments out of steel wool. Kez said it was named after a Mr Harris. They had a meeting with a nice Mr Brian Wilson who said he had a plan to make it another socialist paradise like Cuba.
To make him look more Scottish and make sure he didn’t patronise anybody, Kez asked him to play the bagpipes for the camera.
Then a rude person asked a whole lot of ridiculous questions. ‘How can you protect workers’ rights outside the EU? Why do want to keep nuclear weapons? The Institute for fiscal Studies says you would keep £7 billion of Tory spending cuts hitting the poorest. That true?’
Jeremy smiled. ‘Did somebody remember to water the strawberries before I left the allotment?’
Then it was on to a traditional bastion of Jeremy support – a working steel plant where men wore overalls and had dirty fingernails. This was what he stood for – honest toil in a furnace factory. The union official told him the only reason it was still open was because something called the SNP had stopped it from closing down.
‘Quite right too! They are heroes of the people.’
Then Kez whispered something in his ear. ‘I mean they are the enemy of working people and must be crushed. They are the same as the wicked Tories with their boot on the throat of the workers.’
The SNP had privatised Cal Mac ferries, he said next until a rude person coughed and said that was a lie from nice Mr Wilson. And they sold off Scotrail, he added, until a voice said they had no power to do that.
‘Well, never mind. I’m open to lots of different devolution ideas like Scotland having its own legal system.’
Someone coughed again.
‘Will you SHUT UP’, shouted Jeremy.
Kez gave him a cup of tea and said they would visit Lanarkshire where many people liked him and would have turned up to see him if only Cash in the Attic wasn’t on BBC1. Jeremy asked if he could meet the council leader but Kez said he was under house arrest accused of corruption.
‘That’s a shame’, said Jeremy. ‘I wanted to tell him how the SNP must use all their budget to reverse the injustices foisted on Scotland by the Unionist government they didn’t vote for.’
He said they should abolish student tuition fees, retain the maintenance grant, reverse the housing benefit cut for 18 to 21 year olds and create thousands of apprenticeships. They should pay another £600 a year to carers, prevent profits being made from assessing disability and cover for cuts to council tax support. They should mitigate the bedroom tax and oppose the third child benefit cut and not waste money on Trident and not privatise the NHS…He went on and on with his list of progressive demands and waited for applause. But there was only silence. People looked away. Kezia took his arm and whispered that the SNP had already done all this while Labour had abstained on the Tories’ austerity plans in Westminster.
She said he should stop now before he embarrassed her in front of her new friends.
Kez realised she had been right all along. He really was doolally and should have retired years ago.
The only thing he’d got right was that Scotland should never ever, under any circumstances, run its own affairs, because even an ignorant, condescending allotment dweller from Islington could do a better job than any Scot.
Jeremy waved goodbye to Scotland. ‘Got to go. I’m chairing a meeting of the allotment summer produce collective in the morning. We’ll need to grow all our own once we leave the EU, you know. Och aye the noo.’by