by Douglas Lindsay, with Dr Ian Shackleton, senior lecturer at the Glasgow School of Politics and Football
The movement of the polls may be going only one way, with the Yes campaign on a roll and Better Together lurching from one inadequate catchphrase to the next, but this weekend was not all good news for Alex Salmond.
In a new blow to the First Minister's assertions that life will be business as usual - only better - following a Yes vote in September's referendum, officials in Millport on the island of Cumbrae have indicated that if Scotland secedes from the Union, and the country takes its place in the world order as the Former United Caledonian Kingdom of Scotland, Millport is likely to seek independence for itself. While some commentators and political analysts are sceptical of Millport's chances of going it alone, others point to the fact that Millport is rich in natural resources - such as fish suppers, rock and cycle hire - and is well suited to become the Liechtenstein of the west.
'Globally, we are in an era of national fragmentation, and Mr Salmond would be unwise to ignore the signs,' says Dr Ian Shackleton of the Glasgow School of Politics and Football.
As we sit in his office on the 98th floor of the spectacular new Buckfast Building, overlooking the city's alcohol quarter, Dr Shackleton is in expansive mood. 'There are all sorts of rumours coming out of Millport. They're looking at offshore banking, they're talking to the Russians about building a submarine base, there's talk of them transforming the Ritz Café into a $247m casino, and there's even suggestions that they might try and attract the curling stone trade away from Ailsa Craig. fuckScotland better watch its back.'
With speculation mounting among pundits, politicians, political insiders and friends of political insiders, newspapers today are reporting that plans are already afoot for Millport to place itself firmly on the map with several statement events in the coming 18 months:
• Cumbrae to host the next series of Bear Gryll's The Island
• the launch of a new T20 tournament, the Cumbrae Premier League (CPL), with teams in Millport, Keppel Pier, Fintray Bay and Crocodile Rock
• Millport to make a late bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics
• the Ritz Café to sell half-price 99s
• the launch of the Millport To Mars exploratory two-man space expedition, with a couple of guys from down the Kelburne.
Garrett Carmichael, the Millport-based lawyer at the vanguard of the breakaway movement, was in bullish mood as she made an unscheduled appearance on Newsround.
'There's a hubris about the SNP that we've seen before. From the Darien Scheme to Argentina '78, all the way to Glasgow Rangers and the RBS, the Scots have a way of taking something bold or successful and making a complete arse of it.
'Why is this going to be any different? That's why Millport will be better off breaking away. Tax revenue from Mapes joke shop alone will see our GDP nearly double that of iScotland by 2034. One day soon North Sea oil will run out, but fart cushions and itching powder are forever.'
In other related news, Millport Football Association have placed an injunction in the courts in an attempt to replace Scotland in Euro 2016 qualifying.
Other Referendum News From The Past Week
Saturday 14th June:
The Better Together campaign was reeling again this morning as it awoke to find that it had lost further territory overnight to the United Cybernats Independence Party (UCIP).
UCIP, a radical online movement, has made huge gains across the whole of Scotland, swallowing up entire towns and cities as Better Together crumbles before the onslaught.
The leadership structure and funding of UCIP is not entirely understood, but while some have claimed the campaign has been orchestrated from the office of the First Minister, Alex Salmond has been quick to distance himself from all Cybernat activity.
'Clearly the Better Together people have been very poorly prepared,' said Dr Shackleton. 'Westminster thought they'd done a good job, they thought they'd provided them with everything they needed to fight the campaign and yet they just folded overnight.'
To make matters worse for Better Together, it appears that UCIP have been taking the opposition's weapons and ammunition and using it against them.
'Better Together just fled, leaving behind all this crap,' said Shackleton, 'and UCIP have been using it all. Every leaflet, every hand-out, every press announcement, every statement uttered by Alistair Darling and his minions has been turned against BT and they're in total meltdown.'
As the international community looks on in helpless disbelief, various world leaders from the Pope to President Obama, not to mention people who don't lead anything such as Hillary Clinton, have expressed support for Better Together.
Nevertheless, whether these words of support ultimately lead to putting more grassroots people on the ground to fight the UCIP insurgency remains to be seen.
Yet Dr Shackleton has a word of caution for all involved in the referendum debate. Stroking his long white beard, as he looked out over the golden spires of the city, he said: 'Be on your guard. There are older and fouler things than Cybernats in the deep places of the world.'
Thursday 12th June 2014:
In what many analysts consider to be a breakthrough moment in the campaign, both sides today demanded that their opponent apologise for things that hadn't yet been said.
As the tone of the debate inevitably slides from the gutter into the sewer (with descent into the sorrowful inferno of the fiery abyss expected some time in the middle of August), apologies are being demanded, issued, rejected and rephrased on a daily basis.
A new poll this morning shows that more people are disgusted with something or other than at any time since voters started to become disgusted in the early 1990s, and in the last three days a record 37 apologies were issued in relation to #indyref, up 37 from this time last year.
'This is largely down to people being dicks,' says Dr Shackleton. 'However, it's not as though we can expect that to change any time soon.'
Now, with temperatures rising and words spewing forth like toxic lava, both the Yes and No campaigns are demanding apologies in advance.
'It's inevitable that Alistair Darling is going to make some new, egregious claim about something stupid,' said an unidentified friend of a Yes spokesperson. 'We demand that he apologise now for everything he intends saying over the next three months. He should be ashamed.'
An aide to the friend of a No vote insider responded: 'These things that are going to be said by the Yes campaign are a total disgrace. It starts at the top. Alex Salmond waves a flag and the next thing you know someone on Twitter is making nasty, pejorative claims about JK Rowling, suggesting she can't write for biscuits. Or worse. It's time they apologised. For everything.'
In a later development, Yes insiders denied that they'd said what they were going to say and demanded that No insiders apologise for demanding an apology.
Shortly afterwards, Scotland exploded...