It’s all got terribly exciting of late, but I’ve not really been following any of it too closely, what with organising a funeral, and when not occupied with that have been fully engaged with full-on Schadenfreude. I have to hand it to my late partner, he certainly picked a time to go which provides a vast amount of amusement at the self-inflicted discomfort of the British establishment.
And we’ve got a baby. We can’t leave Westminster because Kate’s pregnant and we’re needed to pay the child maintenance – which in this wean’s case involves a large shooting estate in the Highlands. If we vote Yes, we won’t get the BBC and won’t be able to participate in all the bunting and joyful Nicholas Witchelling. Don’t say you’ve not been warned.
Fraser Nelson was on Newsnight the other night. The actual Newsnight, not the wee pretendy one that used to get aired just after the actual Newsnight. You know that Scotland has changed forever when you find yourself getting nostalgic for Gordon Brewer. Scotland is never off the telly these days and has even pushed Willinkatebabe off the top of the news. Nicholas Witchell is receiving grief counselling.
The reason for all the attention is because of a couple of opinion polls showing Yes has closed the gap and is showing momentum have sent the Westminster establishment into a blind panic and the No campaign into a confused and contradictory meltdown – although to be fair they’ve been confused and contradictory since the start and it’s not always easy to tell the difference. Thankfully Fraser is a licenced North Briton who is able to translate the strange Caledonian ogams and portents for an audience who have only just realised that Scotland is serious about this independence lark and that it’s far more significant than the small brown blob at the top of the BBC weather map might suggest.
I’m not entirely sure what Fraser was saying as he elocuted at Emily ‘Will Scotland Stay Loyal’ Maitlis, because I can never get past that, ahem, idiosyncratic accent of his. It’s not that he’s hard to understand, it’s just I’m transfixed by his irritable vowel syndrome and miss what he’s actually saying. He speaks like a Scottish person as imagined by Inspector Clouseau. Neuou thehnks Freiyzihrh. A phonetic ballet like that only happens when you’re so far up yourself that you come out the other orifice and as a lifelong student of language it would only be rude not to sit back and appreciate the performance.
Whenever Fraser’s on the telly I keep expecting him to introduce his new range of pasta sauces, the ones with oahreganouuh and touamaahtouhs in them. He’s the Lloyd Grossman of Scottish politics, he takes us through the Westminster keyhole to discover that there’s a wee floater in the lavvy pan. That’ll be what’s left of Davie Cameron after the rest of the Tory party have flushed him.
They don’t speak like that in Paisley you know, except for a weird guy in a cowboy hat I met in a pub once – he loves line dancing and went on holiday to Miami for a fortnight in the late 80s and acquired a mid-Atlantic accent as a result of a psychotic episode on cocaine that made him realise he was the incarnation of General Custer. We discovered this week that the entire leadership of the UK political parties are also the incarnations of Custer, only they not mounting a last stand so much as a beg-a-thon in the hope of saving their careers and reputations. It has the whiff of desperation about it, in the same way that five thousand litres of raw sewage have a hint of unpleasantness.
And then we had a history bit, and Tom Devine and Niall Fergusson got stuck into one another after Niall said we’d be voting to become like Belarus only with worse weather. Drawing on his great academic stature, his deep understanding of Scottish history, his immense erudition, and an intellect which is galactic in the spacey sense and not the chocolate bar sense – Tam telt Neillie boay tae shut his geggie, stop with the pettit lip and whit would you know anyway ya wee fuckwit self-publicising apologist for colonialists, war mongerers and casino capitalists that’s only ever had the one idea in his entire life. Your cringe is showing. Now fuck off and get back to us when you want to be a grown up ya hysterical puffed up balloon. Or words to that effect. Or it might be that’s what I wanted to tell Neillie and I imagined it all.
However the main news, apart from the news that the No campaign has melted, is that the Unionist parties are making a last stand on an offer of more devolution which doesn’t smack of desperation at all, oh no. Scotland can have all sorts of extra special powers, tax powers, spending powers, and JK Rowling said that she’d had a wee word with Dumbledore and is willing to throw in the power of invisibility too. Mind you, Scotland has had that power for decades, which is how we’ve made it through the past 50 years with Westminster scarcely noticing us at all.
Well they say more devolution, but they’re not able to tell us exactly what it might consist of, except that it will be a very very special prezzie, much better than that naff sweater that your auntie knitted you for Christmas. There will be jam, there will be more jam, and chocolate, and eclairs, and cream cakes, and you can eat your cereal. The shock of Yes pulling ahead in the polls has electrified the No campaign, which explains why the Westminster parties look like they’ve been tasered.
Although they can’t tell us exactly what extra powers will be coming to Scotland, Gordon Brown insists that there’s a definite timetable for delivering the powers that we don’t know what they are. Only someone forgot to tell Ed Balls. Someone also forgot to tell Gordon that he’s not actually the prime minister any more and doesn’t have any power to do anything at all whatever promises and commitments he makes. However David Cameron is also hoping that everyone has forgotten that Gordon isn’t prime minister in case anyone asks him to speak to some Scottish people who are not in possession of press passes or Tory party membership cards. Gordie’s just a very convenient human shield. You’ve got to be pretty desperate when your shield is Gordie Broon addressing carefully selected audiences of supporters.
An attempt at love bombing ended in ignominy on Tuesday. Davie Cameron had ordered the Scottish saltire to be flown from Number 10 for the duration of the campaign. It’s the very definition of gesture politics, but in the face of a two fingered gesture from Scotland it’s pretty much all they’ve got left. But Number 10 couldn’t even manage to fly a Scottish flag. It fell off the pole as staff attempted to raise it. So it’s a Sign then, not a flag. Meanwhile a call from Ed Miliband for Labour controlled local authorities in the rest of the UK to fly the Scottish flag met with a resounding meh from the good burghers of England. The only people who care if Scotland leaves the Union are those politicians whose jobs and careers depend on us staying. That ought to tell us all we need to know.
Phase two of the love bombing starts on Wednesday. All four UK party leaders are honouring us with their presence this week, Davie, Ed, Nick and even Nige. They’re all going to promise lots of different unspecific things, which they will definitely do as soon as possible. Right away. And have some jam with your cereal. Lots of jam. We can talk about the flavour later. No uncertainty there, oh no not at all. You can trust us. We have the answer, and the answer is jam and cereal. Independence, it’s so uncertain, there’s not enough information, trust us to make the changes we think are best for you.
The best way to decide when there is not enough information is to become your own teacher. The best way to confront uncertainty is for you to be the agent of change. The best way to predict the future is to make it happen. And the only trust you need is the trust you place in yourself. Be the future. Make your own cereal, make your own jam. This is the breakfast revolution, and we’re at the beginning of a new day.