The factoid has taken root, and is now stated as fact – Alex Salmond wants a second question, and is happy to accept devo-something as second best – a consolation prize if independence fails to win a majority. The Scottish electorate are now safely marginalised - having shown disturbing signs of being a sovereign democratic voice – and the future of Scotland will be determined by Civic Scotland, Reform Scotland, and the outcome of the referendum consultation. In fact, there is no real need for a referendum at all, since a series of unelected bodies, representative of nothing but the agenda of those who lead them, and the outcome of a self-selecting online questionnaire will determine how we are governed.
When we get right down to it, anyone who wants to start up a body that they claim represents Scottish opinion can launch their own consultation on Survey Monkey. All this is very heartening – we can dispense with all the political parties, manifestos, elected officials, etc. and simply claim to speak for the people, whom we can rely on to remain safely silent.
Well, not quite – the forms of democracy must be maintained so as not to frighten the horses, so a referendum will be held, with a ballot paper so confusing that the outcome will be contentious enough to be dismissed, unless of course it gives the right answer, namely – anything but independence.
The world will be safe for WMDs, Trident will stay in the Holy Loch: death in foreign fields, the Labour Party gravy train and the House of Lords will continue, the poor, the vulnerable and the sick will still be the scapegoats for all our ills: the Tory conspiracy against ordinary people can press on relentlessly to destroy the NHS and the welfare state, and the military/industrial complex can expand the killing machine again. The parade of coffins draped in the Union Jack can continue, fat old men in berets, blazers and badges can revel in the death of the young, and the Last Night of the Proms will acquire a new resonance.
The scales have fallen from my eyes – I see it all clearly now, and can spend my declining years reading old copies of Boy’s Own Paper and singing Rule Britannia. Oh, happy Empire day!