Many of Project Fear’s scare stories say nothing at all about Scotland as an independent state. They focus on the process of becoming independent – What currency will we use? Will the EU let us in? You’ll have to renegotiate every single treaty the UK ever signed. In an independent Scotland there will be crisis meeting after crisis meeting as we realise to our horror that we’re still at war with the Mughal Empire and the Emir of Zanzibar, we’ve not formally recognised the Greek royal family or unrecognised them after the Greeks got rid of them, and we’ll have to set up a special committee to deal with our failure to ratify the treaty determining the border between Alaska and Canada.
It’s a bit like warning someone not to take up an offer of a holiday in the sun because they might get held up in a queue at the airport. This is what is so crass about independence supporters being described as separatists, it’s like saying people only get married because they want a big piss up and a fight to break out between the best man’s girlfriend and the bridesmaid, followed by trip to the airport and a fortnight in Benidorm. They’re not getting married because they love one another and want to build a life, they’re just irresponsible airportists who want to cause arguments and unpleasantness for their own selfish reasons.
Travellers going via Alicsammin Domestos Airport will have forms to fill in, paperwork to complete, 10,000 treaty applications to make. Going to the independence airport will be worse than making an application for disability benefit, but thanks to Iain Duncan Smith only marginally. We’ll have to undergo an ATOS assessment and get a letter from our GP saying that the Westminster parliament is sick in the head and not fit for work. That will be the easy bit, you only have to look at Westminster to realise the institution passed the point of senility a very long time ago. You’ll need passports, copies of your grandparents’ birth certificates in triplicate, a signed declaration from a vet that your dog doesn’t have worms – and make sure you have translations available in Slovene, Estonian and Croatian or you won’t even get in the queue for check in. Anyway you’ll never get past security, not with that Spanish veto. You won’t even be allowed into Benidorm that’s just how little they think of you. And there’s the uncertainties, will there be more surcharges than Ryanair, can men pee in the airplane lavvy without spraying it all over their trouser leg?
Why bother with independence eh? Forget about all those dreams you had of a better life. It’s just big argument, a queue in the airport and piss stained trousers that you’re missing out on. Who wants that hassle anyway.
Instead of an independence day party that’s got a nation sized cake followed by an exciting life journey of independence adventures and making our own decisions about where we’re going, we’re promised a devolution journey. We don’t get to choose the destination, and there’s nothing on the road except a flattened hedgehog which Johann Lamont is trying to pass off as a radical new increase in tax raising powers for Scotland. The devolution road itself bears a suspicious resemblance to one of those wooden backdrops in Roadrunner cartoons which independence supporting Wile E Coyotes slam into at great speed – just in time for a Westminster gravy train to appear from nowhere and flatten them. It‘s a very old joke which has been repeating for decades, but it’s nowhere near as funny as a Roadrunner cartoon.
Yesterday Alistair Help Me Rona Carmichael proudly unveiled some new roadkill in the devolution highway. After a no vote, he wants everyone to get together for a cosy chat over some shortbread and scones about what devo rodents we can all agree on, and we’ll have none of that lip from Nicola. Then once we’ve decided that we’d quite like a small hamster, he’ll have a wee word with a Davie Cameron who will not want to appear to give anything away to the Scots after they’ve voted no and he’s got UKIP voters to woo so he can win a rapidly approaching General Election. They won’t stand for English taxpayers footing the bill for a Scottish subsidy hamster, so he’ll roll the hamster ball to a committee somewhere down a dark and dismal Commons corridor, where it will get flattened by a stampeding rush of Tory and Labour MPs. And that will be the end of the devolution journey until the next time Scotland can think of a way of forcing itself onto the Westminster political agenda by finding a rabbit to pull out of a hat again.
There is no devolution journey. There’s a game of snakes and ladders with the dice loaded against you. No ladders but snakes aplenty, and no end in sight. It keeps us passengers occupied while the Westminster drivers privatise the motorways.
We’re better off at the back of the bus with certainties you can trust, like the certainty that the CBI would be back to issuing warnings about the uncertainties of independence just as soon as they thought the upset over their registration as No supporters had died down. It’s only been a fortnight since they swore blind it was all a terrible misunderstanding, that’s how long they think your memory lasts. What do you imagine they think we’ll forget between now and whenever they get round to delivering devolution, or a high speed railway connection to Scotland.
And while the UK media is quickly back to pretending that the CBI’s interventions in the independence debate are entirely neutral and motivated by nothing but genuine concern for our well-being, they don’t want to cover the storm that’s brewing on the offscreen side of the BBC weather map. The National Union of Journalists is growing increasingly frustrated by the decision of BBC Scotland management not end the corporation’s management of the CBI. It’s almost as though journalists on newspapers don’t have any idea what’s happening with their fellow union members at Pacific Quay.
They can’t be reading Newsnet or Wings or Derek Bateman’s blogs either – apparently it was pressure from the NUJ which led to the decision to include the online media in the round up of the papers at the end of BBC2’s shortly-to-be-axed Newsnicht. Instead we’re getting a radical new change in direction from BBC Scotland news and current affairs. Something presented by a woman with a famous faither that’s going to have fitba in it. So like Reporting Scotland then, only later at night. Certainties that you can trust, just like the devolution journey and the CBI.
I’d rather get the first available plane ticket. There’s a flight leaving on the 18th of September from Independence International airport. Let’s go on a journey that we choose.