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scrabbling round the referendum

Everybody and their auntie is having a say about our independence vote.

Academic Matt Qvortrup pops up regularly on TV news channels and even on these pages.

Should we heed his words even though he is associated with the Centre for Policy Studies, a Thatcherite think tank? Then again his surname has a respectable Scrabble score of 22.

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, says nothing will be gained from breaking up the UK Union. He's a Belgian politician (with a surname Scrabble score of only 13) whose country had no government for years because the Flems and Walloons couldn't agree on any kind of union.

Cyprus, a former British colony, says an independent Scotland should get to the back of the queue for EU membership. The same Cypriots whose EOKA terrorists killed Scottish soldiers during their struggle for independence back in the 1950s.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette in Indiana had an editorial saying Scotland should not be free because it would be "another European mini-state unable to contribute meaningfully to global security". And therefore unable to contribute significantly to America's colonial wars.

I have noticed no word yet about our future from the Falkland Islands. The Falklanders are busy with their own referendum. Their's is a long question which boils down to: Would you rather be an Argie or a Brit? Yes for Britain is a safe bet, even if penguins and sheep are allowed to vote.

In Pakistan a political party has launched a referendum asking voters if the country should be run along Taliban lines. Presumably with a second question asking if teenage girls should be shot in the head for saying they want to go school.

Meanwhile back at our saner debate, the Let's Batter Scotland Together campaign continues to get solid support from the kilted editions of the English press. Scottish author Ronald Frame has been wheeled out to say he will be for the off from an independent Scotland. He says it would not be just a small country but a small-minded country.

I haven't read any of Frame's award-winning books but I'm missing him already.

n Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, has not as far as I know pronounced on our referendum. Which is a pity, since his short surname has an impressive Scrabble score of 22.

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