Donald MacInnes: Let's pretend Scotland won and now a salmon is running the country


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The Independent Online

I wasn't going to touch Scotland at all this week. Lord knows, enough politicians and Oxbridge-minted columnists have had a squeeze of the holy haggis in the past few weeks to render anything I have to say on the matter irrelevant and lost in the noise.

But I have never let the fear of irrelevance get in my way before, so why now? In fact, why not embrace it?

As I write this, we are just 24 hours from the start of the Big Momentous Poll Against Which All Other Polls Will Be Measured For Generations to Come. Or BMPAWAOPWBMFGTC, if you are in an acronymic frame of mind. All over my abandoned homeland, those individuals lucky enough to be permanently domiciled are furiously shaking their biros, in the hope they will not be left ink-free when the time comes to vote for: a) exciting but somewhat terrifying change with all the sleepless nights that might entail; or b) same as it ever was (if I might quote Talking Heads' David Byrne, another expat Scot who isn't allowed to vote).

My opinion being officially unwanted, I shan't bore you with how I would have voted, had I not been denied the franchise. What I will do is imagine that the Ayes had it and then go on to envisage what life feels like on the first Saturday in the life of a brave new Scotland – a truly undiscovered country where things are different on a scale never before imagined.

Aside from the hope of free Tunnocks Teacakes for everyone and cream soda to be pumped from all city fountains, there's a lot to be hopeful for.

So let's pretend that, since around dawn on Friday, Scotland's oil revenues have been flowing into Scottish piggy banks. Soon everyone will have a million [insert currency here] to spend on golden Italian cars. Let's pretend that the nuclear missiles and ominous black submarines housing them in the Holy Loch are being ushered elsewhere by a flotilla of red and pink and blue pedalos from Queen's Park in Glasgow.

Let's pretend that Alex Salmond finally does what we all wish he would do and drop the "D" at the end of his surname, thereby acting as a walking, impressively dour billboard for the country's fish industry.

Let's pretend that the Queen's immoral Balmoral estate is converted into a sprawling, gothic Centre Parcs, where local children can get pruney fingers from swimming too long. Let's pretend that no more grouse or pheasant will be blasted out of the sky by single malt-soused hedge fund managers from Three Bridges.

Above all, let's pretend that nothing too bad happens to Scotland, as it sashays uncertainly into a new tomorrow. Let's imagine it has become a country that no longer struggles to have its own identity due to the crushing weight of the anti-English chip on its shoulder. Let's, I suppose, hope for miracles. But then I've always been optimistic. Bring on the future. Or not.

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