by Douglas Lindsay, with Dr Ian Shackleton, senior lecturer at the Glasgow School of Politics and Football
Independent Scotland set to lose the right to call itself Scotland
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With news that the opinion polls are closing, amid SNP hopes that they could be leading most national surveys by mid-summer, David Cameron today stepped up plans to make sure that an independent Scotland would not have the right to use its name should it ever get to have its own seat at the United Nations.
Top political analyst Dr Ian Shackleton believes that Westminster is considering several possibilities to legally lay claim to the name Scotland prior to independence, allowing them to deny Holyrood its use in the event of a Yes vote, much in the way that the Greeks have maintained with Macedonia.
Options being considered include:
• designating the area around Berwick in the north of England as the Unitary Council Authority of Scotland
• re-naming the Falkland Islands as Scotland
• producing a cheese in the north of England named Scotland, and registering its legitimacy with the European Union
• buying a certificate claiming ownership of the name Scotland on the internet for £1
Continued suggestions, however, that Scotland will need to become known as The Former Yugoslav Republic of Scotland - FYR Scotland - seem unlikely.
Westminster, it is rumoured, will be pushing for the new nation to be known as the Former United Caledonian Kingdom of Scotland - or FuckScotland, as it will be called if it ever gets to take its place in New York.
'There is no doubt,' Dr Shackleton told me this morning, speaking from his 98th floor office in the glittering Burj Salmond, overlooking Glasgow's celebrated financial district, 'that the FuckScotland campaign is gaining ground in Westminster.
'Just remember that it was the Tories who started the Opium Wars, massacred Zulus, re-introduced child labour in the 80's and were the primary cause for Scotland losing 1-0 to Costa Rica at Italia '90. They will stop at nothing.'
Friends of political insiders say that the campaign against Scotland is only just beginning, and that in the next few weeks the government in Westminster intends to tell Scotland that in the event of a Yes vote:
• it can't use the colour blue for its national sports teams
• Flower of Scotland will need to include verses about Culloden, the Darien Scheme and Wembley '63
• Buckfast Abbey will not be granted a licence to export fortified wine
• the whole of FuckScotland will be carpet bombed by American troops 'looking for something to do' after withdrawing from Afghanistan
• Scotland could be bricked off and declared a penal colony
In response, Holyrood insiders have repeated claims that First Minister Salmond is aiming to push for Derby in a new spring offensive.
In Other Referendum News From The Past Week
Sunday April 6:
Under-fire UK government Culture Secretary Maria Miller can have a job "any time she feels like it" in the Scottish government, Alex Salmond said today.
Referencing the popularity of Miller north of the border, as well as that of many of her Westminster colleagues, Salmond said a future independent Scotland would look to build a Gordon Brown-esque Government Of All the Talents (GOAT) administration.
'Government by GOAT worked brilliantly for Brown,' said Salmond, as he spoke this weekend from New York, where he is launching Braveheart Week across the US.
'That's what we need to do in Edinburgh. Suck in people with talent from all over, and govern as a kind of cross-party autonomous collective. If Maria is somehow forced out by a desperate opposition and a baying press corps, she's welcome at Holyrood. We'll find her a seat, nae bother.'
Salmond is also rumoured to be eying up other top Tories, popular north of the border, but who sometimes come in for a rough time in Englandshire.
Dr Shackleton is unsurprised by this new approach. 'Look at guys like Eric Pickles and Jeremy Hunt,' he said to me.
'People in Scotland love them, and yet the English don't appreciate what they've got. And Michael Gove - sure, he sounds posh, but of course he's as Scottish as early World Cup exits and a male life expectancy of 57.'
Maria Miller was unavailable for comment, but a statement released by her people indicated that while she had heard of Scotland, she wasn't entirely sure she could place it on the map.
Tuesday April 1:
While levels of acrimony and bitterness between the Yes and No campaigns in the Scottish referendum have grown exponentially, there's one thing on which they all agree: politicians, pundits, political analysts, commentators, party insiders and crazy people on the internet have never had so much fun.
As a result, regardless of the outcome of the vote on September 18,it seems certain that Scotland will have another referendum next year.
The likes of Johann Lamont, John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon have become Scotland's answer to Beyonce and J-Zed, with constant demands on their time, be it for modelling contracts, celebrity TV chat shows, or appearing naked in rock videos with Katy Perry.
'You can understand how these politicians have become attached to the celebrity lifestyle,' says Dr Shackleton.
'One minute they're grubbing along in the dirt with a name recognition equivalent to some guy who was in an episode of CSI Bishopbriggs once, and the next minute they're wife-swapping at drunken Hollywood parties. Consider Ruth Davidson. She received about 12 votes at the last election, yet now she's hanging with Aung San Suu Kyi and Hillary Clinton.'
While it's not yet clear what question will be asked at next year's referendum, insiders believe that if the winning margin in the independence vote is less than 1%, the vote will be repeated in an effort to get a more clearcut result.
'That's what everyone's after,' says Shackleton. 'We all want exactly the same thing next year. The public especially, they can't get enough of it.'
However, if September's vote sees one side getting their arse handed to them, then all kinds of questions could be on the table, including:
• should Scotland's national anthem be Flower of Scotland, Highland Cathedral or the Bay City Rollers' Shang-a-lang?
• Should Scotland apply to join Warsaw Pact II?
• Should curling replace football as the national sport?
• Should Scotland just stop playing rugby because, to be honest, it's getting embarrassing?
Speaking from the set of Tom Cruise's Top Gun II, where he's appearing as Maverick's new sidekick, Donut, Alex Salmond was excited at the thought of repeating the whole referendum experience.
'I'm going balls out for this. It's awesome. Look, I need to dash, I'm doing Celebrity Man Versus Food in 10 minutes.'
'One thing's for sure,' said Shackleton. 'When this thing's over, it'll be like the whole nation has died. The morning of 19th September is going to be the flattest day in history, even for the winners. Nobody's going to know what to do with themselves.'