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Thousands threaten to leave Scotland after a Yes vote - why not just go to a good bookshop instead?

TO Main Point Books in that part of Embra known as the Pubic Triangle where, for a mere fiver, an underclad young damsel is happy to dance in one's lap, with or without her spikey heels on.

Main Point is owned by my dear amigo Jennie Renton, who knows more about books than anyone you care to mention. But these are tough times for the trade, not least because of eBilge, the internet and Amazon, up which too many of us are prepared to swim in the quest for a bargain. During my visit to the shop there is steady trickle of customers, most of whom have an air about them that is perhaps best described as "glaikit". "Can I help you?" asks Jennie, part tour guide, part shrink. One or two mention a subject or a title to which they are immediately led or directed elsewhere. A couple of tourists happen by. "Is there anything in particular you're looking for?" One looks at the other, and the other replies. "Not really," says she, "we just like the atmosphere of bookshops."

Some 700,000 tubes have intimated they will leave Scotia in the event of a Yes vote. Meanwhile, 200,000 say they will go if there's a No vote. So widely has this story been reported that one has to assume that there are some people in prominent positions in the meeja who actually believe this to be a possibility. How, one wonders, do they attain such eminence?

That 700,000 is about one-seventh of our entire population and around the total population of Edinburgh or Glasgow. Call me unimaginative, but one has trouble picturing them departing en masse. Where would they go and, more pertinently, who would want to give them house room? I suppose they could apply for citizenship of Ingerland but by then it will be governed by Nigel Farrago and his barking mates whose views on immigration are well-known. Wales and Northern Ireland are options but I fancy few of the 700,000 will be inclined to go to either of these splendid places given that they may yet follow Scotia's lead.

In my own travels I have come across a couple of folk who are considering leaving come independence. Both cared little for the state of the country or the wellbeing of their fellow human beings. What they were concerned with was their pensions. They'd already investigated the charms of Carlisle. Haste ye awa!

JUST six weeks to go before you-know-what. Anything, we keep being told, can still happen, though what that might be is beyond even my powers of imagination. By spooky coincidence I have been wading through back copies of the Hootsmon for September 1997. Wizened readers may recall that anything did happen then; news broke that Princess Di had died in a car crash in Paris, which I dare some conspiracy theorists still think was arranged by the bampots in Think Twice - Better Together's predecessor - desperate to do whatever they could to turn the tide of opinion. One fondly recalls my dear pal, Tam Doolally, the Laird of Linlithgow, proposing that the vote should be postponed - or, ideally, abandoned - as London came to a standstill because the Tube was flooded with the crocodile tears of cabbies. Then, as now, the usual Jeremiads warned of dire consequences should we daft enough to say Aye. But even then, and contrary to received wisdom, the Hootsmon in a resounding editorial led the chorus for change. Do seek it out when you get a chance.

DAS Bild, a German newspaper, has published an unflattering portrait of Brits abroad, at which some in the Deep South have taken kneejerk umbrage. According to Bild, the average British tourist is drunken, stupid, overweight, lecherous, tattooed and sunburned, none of which one can argue with. Majorca appears to be one of the best places to go to spot these frights, though of course there are many others.

A Durham University academic who specialises in Anglo-German affairs, suggests that the EU is the cause of the German diatribe and, in particular, the breakdown in relations between Mrs Merkel and Posh Dave over the appointment of Jean-Claude Junket as president of the European Commission. Alternatively, Das Bild could simply be giving Brits a dose of their own medicine. But what the reaction does demonstrate is that it is not only the Germans who have a sense of humour deficit.

ALARMING news: polis employed to keep the peace at the Commonwealth Games say they're so overworked they've been soiling themselves - yuck! - rather than dashing to the nearest latrine. Why this revelation has not been given the prominence it deserves I know not. While it does seem a rather extreme reaction, my sympathies are with the lawpersons, some of whom are on horseback, like Wyatt Earp. Herein surely lies the solution to this noxious problem. Often horses in public life, such as those that pull Queen Tupperware, are fitted with bags to prevent their droppings falling on to the street. Could not the polis be issued with something similar? I offer this idea free of charge and with no claim on its copyright.

Alistair Carmichael, Secretary of State, says that "maintaining a strong presence north of the Border in the event of a No vote in September would mean the independence question would never be put again and Scotland's future would be settled once and for all". Do tell me I am not alone in perceiving this as a threat of occupation.

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