It was recently revealed that Better Together are to embark on a new phase of their campaign. The fearmongering and the scare stories just aren’t cutting it any more, and have only resulted in increasing support for a yes vote in opinion polls, so we are to be love-bombed by Unionist politicians and celebs who are going to tell us how much they love us. To date we’ve seen at least two examples of this new loving tactic, neither of which have left anyone feeling moist. Although there have been quite a few tears of laughter.
First up was John Barrowman in an excruciatingly embarrassing performance for Burn’s Night. It contained enough ham to supply the Danish bacon industry for a decade, but failed to convince that Rabbie Burns would have signed up to the Unionist cause. John was attired in a tartan jaiket last seen on a 1970s TV presenter – the only thing missing was his hand up a muppet’s arse, but one muppet fisting another muppet was probably deemed too meta for a prime time audience.
However in the true style of an overly friendly 1970s telly presenter, John tried to make out that Westminster’s abuse was actually a loving act. He did this by mugging to the camera with a glaikit expression and a series of pish poor jokes about Alex Salmond and how fat he is. As an exercise in love-bombing it was a dismal failure – the first time anyone has attempted to employ toe-curling as a sexual practice.
John Barrowman emigrated to the USA before he hit puberty, so I’m not going to criticise his Virgin midAtlantic accent. It’s quite normal for people who move to another country in early childhood to adopt the accent of their new home, or a facsimile thereof. Unfortunately however, John’s concept of Scotland is also prepubescent, as he doesn’t think we’re a grown up country capable of grown up decisions. John takes his intellectual cue on all things Scottish from the Krankies, and believes we’re in safer hands with the 1970s TV presenters.
Next up was something with a bit more intellectual substance. That’s substance in the sense of that suspicious brown matter you find inside a dirty public toilet. Martin Woollacott, formerly the Guardian’s foreign editor, published an article in the paper telling Scotland how much England loves us, and warning us that we will miss them when we go. Martin employed the tired old divorce metaphor, which has already been done to death, and made a number of references to thon movie starring that Australian American with the dodgy politics.
Anyone following the independence debate knows that a Braveheart reference in any discussion of Scottish independence is a reliable indicator that the person making the reference knows less about Scottish politics than they do about copra harvesting in the Comoros Islands. It’s a bit like discussing Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet in a technical report on ship building standards and the risks posed by icebergs. No wonder Better Together is holed below the water line.
According to Martin’s fact free zone of an article, which was ignorant and patronising in equal measure, Scottish independence will have a devastating effect on England’s self-esteem. The English, he tells us, are terribly afraid. I immediately telephoned some English members of my family in order to reassure them, asking if their sense of personal well-being might suffer if Scotland declared independence. However the reply was, “Eh? Are you on drugs?” I took that as a no.
The truth is that a large majority of English people are indifferent to Scottish independence. A minority want us to stay, another minority supports independence, but most don’t give a shit – and why should they. They know what Martin Woollacott and a plethora of pro-Union commentators don’t know – that the independence debate is about Scotland, it’s not about England at all.
Of course the obvious question which Martin’s article raises is that if this guy was the paper’s foreign editor, and he’s so ridiculously clueless about the affairs of a country so very close to his metropolitan home, just how reliable are the paper’s reports about places further away? Or indeed, their reports on anything at all.
That’s the big problem Better Together’s love-bombing campaign will not be able to overcome. They’re relying on people who know bugger all about us, and their ignorance is plain to see for a Scottish readership. Every time some clown puts his grinning mug in front of a camera and makes a fool of himself for the Union, a little bit more of Scotland’s rapidly diminishing faith in the UK media dies.
Better Together has spent the last 18 months trying to frighten us with alarmist tales and scary stories. Now they’re telling us how much they love us and need us. That’s not love bombing. It’s stalking.
Of course, I am just saying this because of the SNP microchip implanted in my brain …