MELANIE Phillips accuses Alexei Salmonella of "xenophobic opportunism".

Blimey! Routinely - and accurately - described as "a right-wing nutter" and other things which I will refrain from mentioning in this throbbing organ, Ms Flippin-Fedup used to rant in the Daily Mail but has recently been polluting The Times with her excretions. She is not alone. As the going has got even tougher and the likelihood of a Yes vote has increased, patronising oafs in the metropolitan meeja have descended upon Scotia in dozy droves. Recently, one numpty visited Shetland where, had the islanders been less welcoming, he ought to have been given a good seeing-to. Seeking enlightenment he went to a pub. There, he happened upon a woman who had "gratifyingly clear diction". What is he? A hack or an elocutionist? Elsewhere in the same chip paper, we learn that "the SNP say a physical border is unlikely to replace Hadrian's Wall". Note the "unlikely"! Also, here's another Melanie, surname Reid. According to her, altruism personified, Scots are "spoilt, selfish, childlike fools" who don't live in Nairn or North Berwick but somewhere called "nirvana". Her reasoning? We are not Eritreans or Somalis piling into Calais in the hope of getting across the Channel. Barking!

A group of lively youngish folk are travelling by train from Glasgow to Edinburgh on a work-related outing. Says one lass to a well-endowed other: "How dae yi get a' that in there?" Interjects one lad: "Are yi talking about her bag or her T-shirt?"

ACCORDING to the Beeb, Posh Dave is desperate to save the Union, to which end he has "written an article in the Daily Mail". The poor fellow just doesn't get it, does he? He's coming north, we're told, with Nick Clueless and Ed Moribund, though they're travelling separately, because they can't stand the sight of one another. Better together? Happier apart, more like! Each of them, moreover, is carrying a case full of carrots in the hope that we donkeys will grab them and elect to vote No. Mr Salmonella calls this a bribe, which is not a bad word for it. I am reminded - being of a certain vintage - of 1707, when a parcel of rogues were bought off by the promise of English gold.

Of course, this was an offer made to a few well-heeled toffs, not to hoi polloi who had either to accept their lot or riot. Many chose to go down the latter route. But back to the Posh Dave/Nick Clueless/Ed Moribund rat pack. They say that if we vote No then legislation will be quickly put in place to ensure Holyrood will have wonderful new powers which make us all go weak at the knees. This, however, presupposes they are all singing from the same hymn sheet. Which, patently, they're not. Forget Plan Bs. Do they have a Plan A?

JOHN Major - the Brahan Seer of Surrey - says I telt youse. Indeed he did. In his breathless autobiography in which - spookily! - no mention is made of my old chum Edwina Currie, Mr Minor devotes much more space to devolution and Scotia than Tony Bliar did in his self-serving tome. "Scotland," wrote Mr Minor, "mattered to me." Showing an admirable disregard for history, he added: "Scotland has always been a turbulent and restless neighbour to England. Scottish folk heroes like William Wallace and Robert the Bruce owe their status to their hostility to the English."

Jings! However, Mr Minor was right in predicting that a devolved parliament in Edinburgh would lead to the possibility/probability of a Disunited Kingdom. And I believe he was also sincere when he said that, in supporting the Union, he did not expect any kickback for the Dodos. If only the same could be said of Laybore and the LibDumbs.

Why anyone bothers with the latter has long been a mystery to me. I fondly recall the moment in 2007 when the SNP usurped my dear amigo, Jack McConnell, gaining 47 MSPs to Laybore's 46. It was not, of course, enough to give the Gnats an outright majority so everyone assumed there would be a coalition between the LibDumbs and the Gnats. Indeed, I distinctly recall Moira Salmonella, the First Meenister's elegant missus, saying she was sorry that a Nicol (Stephen, the LibDumbs' then leader) would be Deputy First Meenister and not a Nicola (Sturgeon).

As we know now, the LibDumbs chose not to countenance coalition, thus condemning themselves to impotency. Who knows what might have happened had Mr Stephen decided otherwise. What we do know is that, in 2011, he became Baron Stephen and entered the House of Tubes, since when nothing has been seen or heard of him.

ON learning that Standard Life has threatened to leave Edina - again! - in the event of a Yes vote, the Home Secretary announces that if it does she may take her zillions from its maw and invest them elsewhere. That ought to have them quaking in their baffies! Like Alexei Salmonella, the HS is an alumnus of St Andrews University. She, like him, also studied medieval history and economics which, she insists, got them both to where they are today. Unlike him, however, she did not finance her studies by backing winners at Aintree and Epsom. Nor has she ever nailed her colours to a political party though there was a time when she used think kindly of the LibDumbs, possibly because they promised to stop a cull of wombles.

YOU will be wanting to know how I will vote when, come Thursday, I enter Northesk Church Hall and am alone with my conscience, in the privacy of the ballot box. Were I a switherer, I wonder, how long do I have in which to make up my mind before I must vacate the space? I shall, of course, be voting Yes. Not Yes-but, but Yes, sir, Yes, meenister, Yes ma'am, Yes, please. Yes, indeed. Yes, Yes, Yes.