Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Peter Wilson | 11/08/2014 | 0 Comments

So let me see if I’ve got this right. It’s 19 September 2014 and a majority yes vote that every major polling organization somehow managed to fail to see coming has sparked off blind panic in the streets of Perth and every other city north of the border. Scottish readers of 39 southern-owned newspapers such as the Express, the Mail and the Times have been caught completely unawares, their daily litany of the horror pending having totally obscured any indication that huge numbers of the nation’s citizens would collectively and willingly choose to move lemming-like towards a financial cliff. From John O’Groats to Derby, the previous furthest distance that massed ranks of Scots had managed to penetrate into England, the queue of economic refugees – academics, accountants, doctors, financiers, lawyers and scientists, the veritable wealth of the nation - is endless, with at least 700,000 (we’re assured by an objective BBC) having decided to swiftly up sticks, pack a few pathetic possessions and the family dog into their Discovery’s and desert their homes, jobs and schools for the nirvana offered in what is thankfully still the comforting world of the southern UK status quo.


Yes, new homes and jobs are going to be immediately made available by a magnanimous Westminster Government wholly sympathetic to the disaster that has cruelly overtaken these people, presuming of course they can prove they voted no. Those choosing to remain in Scotland will be punished by the City of London undertaking something it has never done before - large scale manipulation of the financial markets – to ensure that mortgages north of the border will rise by a minimum of £1600 per year. I know this because Johann Lamont, the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland and a woman whose economic genius I have long admired, had - some 40 days before the vote - prophesied this would happen. I have to say this prescient statement from someone I had previously and foolishly not associated with the word ‘vision’ had at the time fair left me gasping for breath but I thought, no, surely not.


But now the very tragedy she foresaw has happened - long lines of desperate people waiting endless hours before being allowed to pass through the control booths that have mysteriously appeared overnight on the southern side of the now razor fenced border between Scotland and England. These poor people’s lives have been totally destroyed – the value of their houses has plummeted to unsaleable levels, their employers have prudently but secretively already removed themselves to more favourable fiscal climes, whilst their accounts have been frozen by the very banks they previously believed were Scottish but which now turn out to have been London domiciled all the time. Those at the back of the line are still standing forlornly in front of ATMs now empty of the Bank of England notes they desperately need to get through their first days in a new and unfamiliar world. And everywhere the talk is the same: “how could this disaster have happened? We were told the referendum was in the bag, after all, especially the postal bag, so munificently inflated by Ministry of Defence instructions to service personnel to vote no in a referendum that had the temerity to ask the people the simple question ”should Scotland be an independent country?”


Back in Edinburgh, the Scottish Government is desperately trying to respond to the sudden collapse in oil prices and its immediate, tumultuous effect on a Scottish economy it had until now predicted would quickly blossom under independence. For it and the nation too, the question is, “how could this have happened to our burgeoning North Sea industry, especially when the traditional sources of liquid fuel – Iran, Iraq, Libya – have proved to be a tad unstable and have caused oil prices everywhere else on the planet to skyrocket? Why does nobody anywhere now want our Scottish oil? Why didn’t we listen to the predictions that this was a dying industry?” The fact is, the new fields that until now were regularly being discovered have overnight turned out to be entirely dry, as if a tap has been turned off in proof of the stark warning we had previously scoffed at - that the North Sea is in terminal decline and the value of the oil remaining in it worth zilch.


And what of our precious renewable energy? Overnight, Scotland’s electricity exports to England - until now a major source of supply for our southern neighbour - are no longer required, it having already found alternative, cheaper Continental providers. Thank God we’ve still got whisky. But wait, Diageo and the other global brand owners of our distilleries have just announced that, in the light of the unstable fiscal regime they expect to shortly emerge in Scotland, they plan forthwith to produce the water of life in their overseas alcohol factories. What else now for a Scotland left emaciated, deracinated and totally isolated internationally by a democratic vote? Pestilence can’t be far away but, again, I have to say that we had ample warning this would happen if we voted yes.


There is still a chance we might be forgiven for our impetuosity by pleading with our big brother to return us to the world we previously knew and loved, the comfortable, predictable and unquestionably better together world of bedroom taxes, child poverty, food banks, nuclear weapons and illegal wars. He says that if we do this he will treat us equally in future because he loves us and has always loved us. It’s just that, in his very southern way, he has always found real difficulty in demonstrating affection and generosity towards us and admits he has been guilty at times of acting very strangely. Me, I’m really looking forward to this new, grown-up relationship between us, especially as he’s promised that I’ll be given all sorts of new and exciting responsibilities, albeit not the keys to the house because I might just let the cat out of the back door again. 

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