The UK government in Westminster appeared to turn up the heat in the referendum campaign again this morning when it was revealed that moves are being made to introduce an international ban on the use of the Saltire in Scotland, in the event of a Yes vote in September.
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While there has been some speculation about the future of the Union Jack should Scotland secede from the union, insiders believe that the government has no intention of altering the British flag, regardless of the outcome. Consequently, they are loath to allow Scots use of the Saltire.
'Re-designing the Union Jack would cost billions,' said one Tory party source. 'There'd be the flags to replace, the paperwork and graphics to be amended, plus there'd be all that merchandise which would suddenly be worthless.
'Think of the work carried out by six year-old children in Indonesia making crappy Union Jack mugs and fridge magnets. Do we really want that hard toil to have been in vain? Good God, man, if nothing else, think of all the unsold Union Jack underpants.'
With the St Andrew's Cross remaining an integral part of the Union flag, Westminster appears keen to be seen retaining ownership of the cross, and quite possibly of St Andrew himself.
Insiders believe that David Cameron is drawing up secret plans to extend the use of the St Andrew's Cross across a much broader spectrum than already exists, building on the fact that the saltire is already one of the most widely-used designs in heraldry, flag-design and international symbology.
The coming months will see the Bank of England issue a new £10 note bearing the image of St Andrew, St Andrew will be named the patron saint of the England football team, and there will be a new line of government-issue St Andrew's cross BDSM equipment, released through NS&I. Proposed advertising for the latter is believed to feature Theresa May and Michael Gove.
As soon as iScotland attempts to fly the flag as being representative of the nation, Westminster will pounce with an army of international lawyers and diplomats, intent on blocking them at every turn.
'Let there be no mistake,' Dr Ian Shackleton of the Glasgow School of Politics and Football told me this morning, as we spoke in his refurbished office on the 98th floor of the magnificent new Commonwealth Games Norovirus Complex in the city's east end, 'things are going to get ugly.
'Everything is on the table, not just the Saltire. You want to wear tartan on your wedding day? You want to eat porridge for breakfast? Good luck, my friend. If there's a Yes vote in September, Westminster lawyers will be ready, and they will bring the rain.
'If nothing else, iScotland will spend the first 50 years of its life in court fighting just to use its own name, fly its own flag, and deep fry its own burgers in a bun.'
Nicola Sturgeon was said to be outraged, although sources close to the Deputy First Minister privately admit that she's pretty much outraged about one thing or another on a daily basis. 'She had that nippy sweetie face on one day when the wind changed,' said one SNP insider who wished to remain anonymous.
The belief that Prime Minister Cameron will stop at nothing to prevent iScotland retaining any sort of national identity was confirmed later this morning, when it was reported that air traffic controllers for the entire British Isles have been instructed to prevent planes crossing each other's flight paths on sunny days, so that there will be no inadvertent saltires created in the sky by white contrails against a clear blue background. The head of National Air Traffic Services UK refused to comment.
Despite their indignation at the Prime Minister's latest assault on Scottish identity, sources close to the First Minister, Alex Salmond, have indicated that designs for a new national flag are already being discussed, and that Holyrood is considering renting out space on the flag to a sponsor, after the fashion of football clubs and the front of their team strips.
Bidders to be Scotland's first ever flag sponsor include Buckfast, Greggs, the Taj Mahal restaurant, and Oor Wullie.
The SNP are also believed to be planning to introduce an away flag for Scotland to use overseas.
Other Referendum News From The Past Week
Wednesday 16th July:
In what is being seen as a major boost for the No campaign ahead of September's referendum on Scotland's future, the Westminster government today announced that six of the eight UK sites being considered for the first real-life Jurassic Park in the UK are in Scotland.
The SNP dismissed the reports as a publicity stunt and stated that the only way to guarantee dinosaurs on the streets of Scotland was a vote for independence.
The UK is thought to be leading the way as scientists strive to recreate the dinosaur park of the successful movie franchise, and now Westminster is keen to let Scotland know that there is a 75% chance that the site chosen for the park will be north of the border. The final decision will be announced on September 19.
'It has been over 65 million years since dinosaurs were seen in Scotland,' said Prime Minister David Cameron, making the announcement, 'thanks to isolationist policies of successive independent Scottish monarchies and chancellorships throughout the centuries.
'Now, as part of Great Britain, the people of Scotland will once more have the opportunity to feed baby chickens to velociraptors.'
Mr Cameron claimed that lessons had been learned from the movies of the same name and that every precaution would be taken to ensure that there would be no breaches of security of the type that resulted in people getting eaten.
'Let me be absolutely clear about this,' he said. 'In the last 20 years, scientists have perfected the non-breeding gene that Richard Attenborough got so badly wrong. We'll also make sure that there are no big fat guys stealing stuff.'
Having brought Dolly the cloned sheep to the world, scientists in Scotland are now at the forefront of dino-replication. However, some paleontologists remain to be convinced about placing the park in Scotland.
'Dinosaurs and Scotsmen,' said Dr Alan Grant, of the Glasgow School of Diplodocus Studies, 'two species separated by 65 million years of evolution, give or take 64.9 million years, will just be suddenly thrown back into the mix together. How can we possibly have the slightest idea what to expect? Someone's going to get chibbed.'
The Prime Minister was at pains to point out that there would be a high percentage of female dinosaurs. The SNP, however, were unimpressed with his announcement. 'They're just making shit up,' a source quoted a friend of a party insider saying. 'Next they'll say Scotland's going to get a space station.'
The sites chosen in Scotland for the dinosaur park include St Kilda, Ailsa Craig, Gruinard Island and Great Cumbrae.