Friday, 13 January 2012

Let English tax-payers hold a referendum on expelling Scotland

I can’t be the only person in England who, while listening to all the latest hoo-hah about Scottish independence, found myself dreaming of a pre-emptive strike against the whingeing subsidy-junkies north of the border. Why doesn’t England announce plans to hold a referendum on whether to expel Scotland from the Union? I reckon it could be used to set a precedent for future elections by confining the vote to tax-payers (as we’re the poor sods who fund the Exchequer’s lavish subsidies to Scotland).

Oddly, I think this might bring Jock to his senses. At the moment, he appears to be labouring under the misapprehension that England is simply terrified that their partner in a loveless, abusive marriage will walk out (after eating the last deep-fried Mars bar, draining the whiskey bottle and slapping wifey around a bit for old times sake). While this might be true of those living in those English regions which – like Scotland – take out more tax than they put in, I suspect that the Midlands, the South and the South East would be quite happy to see the curmudgeonly old sod take a permanent hike.

Relationships are doomed when every last scrap of affection disappears. Whatever affection Scotland felt towards England (not a lot, admittedly) evaporated in the 1980s, when Mrs Thatcher refused to go on supporting the ruinously heavy, cul-de-sac industries that provided employment for so many Scots. For nearly two decades, England maintained its affection for Scotland, but when your partner replies to every cheery “Hello!” and gift and act of kindness with a glum silence or a sarcastic aside or a hurtful insult – well, it’s hard not to start harbouring fantasies about reaching for the rolling pin.

Apart from Margaret Thatcher, the other person I blame for Scotland’s attitude is Brit-hating Mel Gibson- Braveheart has a lot to answer for. But what caused England to tire of its role as the abused wife? Two things, I reckon. First, there was that widely reported remark by Andy Murray that he’d rather see any football team win the World Cup other than England.  I suspect it was merely a jokey aside, but I imagine a lot of English people began asking themselves why the hell, if that was his attitude, they should support this tartan twat – or, come to that, any Scottish athlete?

Then, of course, there was the credit crunch, brought to us by a combination of a Scottish prime minister who couldn’t stop spending our money and a grotesquely incompetent Scottish head of a grotesquely incompetent Scottish bank. I suspect – fairly or not – that every bit of terrible economic news and every tightening of the English belt is associated in most English minds – whether consciously or subconsciously – with Scotland.

As a result, when it comes to the area of the kingdom north of Carlisle, the iron has entered the English soul: the kitchen drawer has been opened and we’re rootling around inside for that rolling pin.

Of course, the marriage analogy suggests an equal partnership, but a better analogy might be to describe England as the long-suffering parents of a bolshie, out-control teenager who refuses to do a thing they’re told – tidy their room, wash the car, do their homework - despite being in receipt of a lavish weekly allowance despite the fact that Dad has just been made redundant. Of course, it’s the parents's fault for not setting behavioural limts, or demanding anything in return. The reason for that is simple – the last authoritarian parent the Scots had to put up with was Mrs Thatcher, and they’ve been throwing a tantrum about that for thirty years. Successive foster parents have smothered them with kindness, but that’s only made their behaviour worse.

Announcing an English referendum would be the political equivalent of a grown-up taking charge and shouting “Go to your room, young man – you’re grounded!

If that doesn’t make the ungrateful little sod come to his senses, then there’s little for it but to throw him out of the house so he can taste the reality of “Freedom!” in a world where Mum and Dad aren't footing the bill, and his formerly generous European uncle has run out of money. 


  1. And if they vote 'Out' we can continue the fun by either (a) vetoing their entry to the EU, if the Spanish or Belgians with their fear of separatist movements don't get there before us; or (b) let them join and laugh as they are forced like all new entrants to join the euro; or (c) the following option. A possible interpretation of EU constitutional law would be that Scotland and England plus the other money-pits would succeed to the UK's membership as two separate states instead of one, in order to preserve the existing rights of individual EU citizens. At that point, an opportunity arises to decide which of the four constituent elements of the UK wishes to exercise the privilege of remaining in the EU.

    At a political level, I'm surprised the Eurosceptics haven't thought about putting forward the idea of giving the Scots a decision by referendum on whether they wish to remain in the EU as well as in the UK. They would say Yes of course, for the hand-outs. But an EU-related amendment to the legislation setting up the Scottish referendum would re-open an issue of wider consequence that has been put off once and will remain a potential Coalition-buster until it is resolved one way or the other.

  2. I take a scunner to this post. No more "Haste Ye Back" for you.

    I trace the modern antipathy of the English towards the Scots to three football games between 1967-1970 which firmly pricked England's bubble of superiority; Celtic win the European Cup [1st British Team]; Scotland destroy the much vaunted [and deeply questionable] World Cup winning team at Wembley [Gentleman Jim Baxter and Denis Law hand out a footballing lesson]; and Celtic dump Leeds out of the semi-finals of the European Cup [Wee Jinxie Johnstone shreds the reputations of Cooper and Hunter].Never to be forgiven events, apparantly.

    I am off to sing my little ditty in the shower;

    "Just a wee deoch an doris, just a wee drop, that's all.
    Just a wee deoch an doris afore ye gang awa.
    There's a wee wifie waitin' in a wee but an ben.
    If you can say, "It's a braw bricht moonlicht nicht",
    Then yer a'richt, ye ken."

  3. Tongs, you illustrate a point that goes right to the heart of the issue. I remember the argument from Scots at the time that as England had won the 1966 World Cup and Scotland had beaten them in 1967, that made them the world's best football team. For you Jocks, it's actually more important to tweak the nipples of the English than to do anything worthwhile as a nation in your own right. So you would rather become a stand alone country of the same size and significance as Lithuania than stay part of the UK, just to annoy your Mum and Dad, as Scott puts it.

    Well, at least you'll have your national football team, still obviously the greatest in the world as everyone acknowledges they have been since 1967, with your goalkeepers in particular the envy of all.

  4. Ex-KCS, if you mean that it might trigger a referendum on EU membership here in England, I imagine the results would be 70% for leaving, with the English money pit regions the only ones voting to stay. I'm now really looking forward to 2014. I wonder who the Scots will blame for their woes when they don't have the English to kick around any more. Mind you, I expect it'll still all be England's fault, come what may.

  5. Ben Doon and Phil McCavity14 January 2012 at 13:15

    Tongs Ya Bass, you don't have to go all the way back to the 1960s for examples of Scotland besting the English - why, didn't Fred "Jinxie" Goodwin play a blinder back in 2000 for RBS when he slotted a winner past lumbering English behemoth, Natwest? Oddly, the same fantasies about Scotland emerging as a dominant player in the world banking sector soon went the way of their dream of being a great international footballing force. Aye, there's many a mickle maks a muckle - or something.

  6. Yes Ben etc, if the RBS had had a decent Compliance and Finance Department, the company's equivalent of goalkeeping, I suppose it might have helped. Instead, they had a board comprising Frank Haffey, Jim Leighton and a wee bandy-legged boy wearing bottle-top speccies over an eye patch. And still the Scots see this disaster and their free standing insolvency as being a minor blip on their way to being a global superpower, like Greece without the climate, bouzouki music and those amusing salads with the feta cheese and a single black olive on top.

    Those of us old enough to remember as children the unspeakable dullness of New Year's Eve entertainment on TV, with BBC's White Heather Club with Andy Stewart all that was on, will recognise that there has always been a divergence between how our dear Scottish friends see themselves and their proud inheritance, and everyone else. Can EU subsidies for sword dancing and sectarian football chanting be far off?

  7. UKRIP. You make two derogatory remarks about Scottish goalkeepers. I remember the inept Chelsea 'keeper, Peter Bonetti, handing the quarter final to Germany in the 1970 World Cup. And Robert Green's display in the 1-1 draw with the United States in the 2010 World Cup.....? Please re-consider your position.

  8. I have indeed reconsidered and I apologise. I now realise that stereotyping Scottish goalkeepers as incompetent is no more valid than smartarse comments about the bravery of Italian commanders in a crisis.

  9. Yes, the Scots do tend to have a somewhat distorted view of themselves. At a dinner with some old broadcasting acquaintances last year, one of them told me about a prominent Scottish TV journalist (who looks as if he'd explode if you stuck a pin in him) had seriously poured scorn on the notion that the Scottish people drank more than other Europeans! (Maybe he was thinking of the Finns.)