Bunhill: The taxing question of whether to vote 'no, yes'

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The Independent Online
Only a few days left to the referendum on devolution in Scotland and, at all the fashionable meeting places north of the border, the big question is: are you a "yes yes" or a "yes no"? In other words, do you want a Scottish parliament with or without tax-raising powers? At least that's what we hear down here. But Bunhill knows different.

After undercover research in the Border hill country, where men are men and balls are oval, we at Bunhill Towers can reveal a new political strategy that is set to sweep the Scottish nation - the "no yes" gambit (otherwise known as the mid-Melrose question).

The implications of such a vote are obvious - no to a parliament, yes to tax-raising powers. In the light of this momentous possibility, Bunhill would like to make his bid early. Horse and bullwhip at the ready, I hereby formally apply to the Secretary of State, Donald Dewar, for the position of taxfinder general for Scotland.

The Bunhill family is flung far and wide, but Bunhill pater familias, to whom all tributes must be paid, is my colleague Matthew Rowan, a man of sensitivity and wit - despite his attendance at the place they call Stamford Bridge. So it is with heavy heart that I must draw to your attention a rare failing on his part.

On 27 April he suggested that our illustrious Prime Minister, Mr Tiger Woods, bore more than a passing resemblance to the young American golfer Mr Tony Blair. Alas no, dear cousin. For surely it is obvious to all that Mr Blair is the proprietor of a bar on Space Station Deep Space Nine - familiar to viewers of Star Trek - and that our Prime Minister is a chap called Quark the Ferenghi.

Naming Names

While Lloyd's of London frets constantly about its Names, Bunhill sends a big hello to Lloyd's of Leyton, door stockists of Lochnagar St, London E14, surely the best place to go for nameplates. Of course, one just has to ask what other companies could be lurking out there that bear a passing resemblance to greater institutions. Perhaps representatives from the following would get in touch: twin-stacked bedding systems manufacturers, Barclay's Bunk; constructors of the finest wigs, and synthesisers of a remedy for male-pattern baldness, British Hairways; and trading post for those tired of their inner footwear, The London Sock Exchange.

Did you know that Pond Week starts this Saturday coming? Founded 10 years ago by Southern Water, in association with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, Pond Week has, we are told, been responsible for the restoration of over 600 ponds across the South East. This year the project hopes to restore over 100 more ponds, with the support of that doyen of European politics, Dr David Bellamy. This is an admirable project, and Southern's chief executive, Mike Kinski, has every reason to be proud. Such a shame that his rivals at certain other unnamed water companies are less interested in putting life back in our ponds, preferring instead to resemble the life that inhabits them.

Wrong kind of Visa

Cash is a "Kerching" of the past. Remember that? How could we forget the stomach-turning ad campaign for Visa's Delta debit card? My fellow scribe Emma Hall from Campaign tells me that they spent about pounds 4m on the promotion. You tend to assume that Visa cards are universal - the point being that any card can be used to pay anywhere that accepts Visa. But not, it would seem, if you have a Visa credit card from Sweden's Sparbanken. Anna Maris, from Bristol, has such a card, and tried to use it to pay her Mercury phone bill. Sorry, Mercury told her, that's not a British Visa card, and she had to use her husband's Abbey National version. Some cards, it would seem, are more of a Visa than others.

PS: How many conservative economists does it take to change a light bulb? None - the darkness will cause the light bulb to change itself.