|McGutteridge of Blog|
[The Scottish Nationalist Party had a landslide victory in the Scottish elections last week: we live only half an hour from the border]
I’ve started to collect Scottish £5 notes. They’re kept in a shortbread biscuit tin with a picture of Edinburgh Castle on the lid.
You see, once the divorce with England takes place, I’m assuming Scotland won’t want the Euro as its unit of currency, so I thought a few Scottish pounds might prove useful.
They’ll be hard to spend, though, as I predict the new currency will be divided into its original pre-1707 component parts of doyts, bodles, placks, bawbees and merks, which nobody will be able to understand without the calculator they’ll sell to immigrants and tourists at passport control.
But it looks like Scotland’s the place to be. Maybe we should relocate now? I’m sure Jo won’t mind moving to an even colder farmhouse. The weather’s not really that much worse, if you wear a warm enough overcoat in summer. And the food is, well, hearty.
I suspect she might have problems with the language, though. It’s taken her three years to be able to communicate with the locals here; we had a Scottish workman in the house the other week and her look of incomprehension was priceless: he was only asking the way to the toilet.
Nevertheless I’m sure there’ll be loads of advantages for us: Izzy will qualify for free everything for life, including university lectures, medical prescriptions and eye tests. Also, she won’t have to pay a penny for me to stay in my old people’s home in Peebles.
I hope they’ll grant us residency visas. Joseph Gillan, my great-great grandfather, was born in 1808 somewhere in Lanarkshire. That makes me one-sixteenth Scottish and Gillan is my middle name: surely it must count for something?
In fact, most of Jo’s American friends are convinced we live there already, and our London friends think we may as well, so remote is our Northumbrian farmhouse. They must all picture us in kilts.
That’s how we used to paint the SNP: all beards and sporrans. In fact, as the election results showed last week, most of Scotland’s population, across all parts of the social spectrum, now supports the SNP. There’s no other real option: all the other parties are irrelevant minority also-rans in Scottish politics. Whether these people will also support independence from England when the referendum is held in a couple of years is another matter. If the SNP continues to play the game so well, and Labour so badly, a vote for separation should be a tartan shoe-in.
You don’t have to be a political analyst to know that the consequences of Thursday’s vote will be far-reaching in England, and it’s nothing to do with independence, which is neither here nor there to most of us south of the border. Labour’s worst performance for 80 years saw its Scottish powerbase destroyed; even if this were partly reflected in a Westminster vote, they’d find it numerically impossible to be elected in London ever again, so reliant is the party on its Scottish MPs.
Already the rise of nationalism has affected my own industry. The BBC reserves a major chunk of its programme budget for what it calls “the nations”, and most of that goes to Scotland. It means that if I want to make an entertainment programme, the easiest way to get it commissioned is to say that I want to film it in Glasgow. It’s a lie, of course: I’d rather film almost anywhere else, but they’ve built an enormous state-of-the-art television centre there with our licence fees and they’re desperate to fill it.
Two of our last three prime ministers were Scottish and Cameron almost is: it’s clearly the fashion. Speaking of which, the editor of my newspaper, who comes from Aberdeen, wears a very fetching kilt at black-tie dinners. I must ask him where I can get one for my new Scottish persona, once I’ve saved up enough £5 notes.