I don’t often bite when the Bitter Together trolls engage in the twitterverse, life is just a little bit too short to keep metaphorically battering your head against a brick wall. Sadly the other night I did bite and was rewarded with some of the most dubious and ignorant arguments for voting NO. I don’t think it was the arguments themselves that left me angry, the usual ‘donning of a white sheet and hiding in an alley’ Project Fear gibberish, but that it was coming from a relatively young individual. This goes hand-in-hand with the Better Together cinema campaign I was discussing the other day, where young people are apparently looking at the referendum debate and saying to themselves : ‘Yes, those Westminster MP’s know best. Let’s allow them to continue to make our decisions.’ Continue reading
Right, here’s the deal, like. I’m at nursery, right? Been there a while. I know the score. Been around the block so tae speak. I’m down wie whit’s happening and I know everywan and everywan knows me. They’re aw my pals, even the nursery teachers. I got them in ma back pocket. Pals wae my folks ye see. Connections. Networking fae a young age so am ur. So I’ve got the run of this joint and I’ve got a certain way ah doing stuff and normally everybidy faws in line and does whit thur telt. It’s good fur them and it’s good fur me. Everybidy wins. Continue reading
Here follows a snippet of The Great Separatist Bin Rake .
The street was dark tonight. The lamplights which normally offered a sanctuary from the blackness hadn’t turned on this evening. I, Blair ‘The Nappie Filler’ McDougall, was beginning to think that this was no mistake by the council ( they were all close friends of ours). This was deliberate. Those pesky cybernat separatist bastards were coming tonight, I was sure of it. They’d been caught just the other day trying to rake through the treasure trove of information in our BIN storage units – Brilliantly Insightful Nostalgia. Our brave team of UKOK supporters, three of us now including Ian ‘I fucking hate stickers’ Murray, came rushing out of our secret underground bunker to do battle with these vile separatists. There were only a few of them, cowardly scum that they are, and so we managed to scare them off with righteous insults about their parentage and a few expertly thrown nappies (which we had enthusiastically filled earlier). We had beaten them off but we knew they would come back.
In the darkness we waited, mentally preparing ourselves for the engagement that we knew would be upon us. Our nappies had been cleaned and thoroughly restocked after our expensive lunch; the other Ian was paying. Our UKOK Defence and Ultimate Fighting Force – UKOK DUFF – had grown since the last cybernat infiltration. Three new volunteers, who were in no way here just because of they were being paid, were joined by Ian Murray, myself, Joann ‘Spellchecker of the Year’ Lamont and Anas ‘Debater’ Sarwar. We circled our BINS around the entrance to our secret underground bunker – the House of UKOK – and waited in the gloom, restocking our nappies as the night wore on. Anas Sarwar, our expert strategist, came up with the idea of placing some of our nappies in the BIN so as to throw these cybernats off of the scent. We agreed as our stock levels were pretty high.
We, the brave UKOK DUFF, hunched proudly in the darkness behind our BINS. The smell of positivity and courage surrounding us. Let those vile militant cybernats come. When battle commenced they would be no match for the glorious contents of our righteous Nappies.
I was out of bed at the crack of dawn this morning. If I’m late even once the benefits get cut. I work 40 hours a week for nothing. I’m in workfare and so is every member of my family.
If you were to put those sentences in front of me a few years ago I would have dismissed it as the ravings of those stupid and abusive ‘cybernats’. A whole family on workfare? I would have said it was simply nonsense from YES voters. I would have told you that they were misunderstanding the benefit changes and that the Tories were only really trying to stop those who were cheating the system. It was all for the greater good. The ‘welfare reforms’ were there to stop the scroungers who just wanted to sponge off the state; lazy, work-shy scum. These are things I would have said, the things I did say at the time. These are not the words that I say now. Continue reading
Location: Abandoned Region 3211-S ( Formerly ‘Scotland’)
The elevator finally stopped moving. The sound of the mechanisms fading for a few moments in the claustrophobic darkness. How far down had we come? What would we find when that door opened?
Just when I began to think whatever engines had brought us here had finally given up the ghost, the panel in front of us began to rise outward. A yellow glow emanated from the increasing gap between the floor and rising panel. Light crept in steadily until the scene of a basement storage room unfolded before us. JoLa, standing closest to the doorway and still clutching her staff, beckoned my team and I forward into this remarkably unremarkable hideout. We moved into the centre of the room, the elevator’s operator joining us after closing the panel. I surveyed the surroundings; an ornate chandelier light up a room full of cardboard boxes filled with leaflets, piles of clothes, various bric-a-brac and two well-used couches. There were grey, metal doors at either end which no doubt lead to rooms of a similar level of awe. Across the walls slogans were written in blue paint – ‘In McDougall we trust!’ and ‘Resistance: Stay Positive!’ – which were accompanied by posters of a male Broadway actor in tartan trousers and Kermit the frog.
‘Welcome to the Resistance Headquarters!’, JoLa announced as she waved at us to take seats on the couches. ‘We’re well protected from those Nats down here! Plenty of room! This is just the entrance to the entire complex. A bit shabby but Taylor’s money was running low after we’d installed the pool room, bowling alley, cinema, jacuzzi and everything else in the bunker under the E.I.C.C.’ She shimmied over with her staff and pulled over a wooden chair from the back wall. She sat down with the groan of the elderly. The elevator operator had now drawn his hood back, revealing a elderly skinny man with short, snow-white hair and round spectacles. The wild black eyebrows were even more prominent contrasted against his hair. He had turned to regard one of the posters – the word ‘Barrowman’ could now be made out at the bottom – and stared at it, unmoving.
‘We need answers JoLa,’ I asked, turning my attention back to the small, angry woman. ‘ What exactly is this place? Who is ‘The Resistance’ and who are you two? My team and I have been dropped into a nightmare worse than anything we thought possible! We need to get out of this place and report back to Lord Robertson!’
‘Lord Robertson, eh?’. She smiled. A crooked smile that didn’t quite sit right on her face. I felt even more uneasy. ‘We work for Lord Robertson too you know!’, she continued. ‘Should’ve known he’d be the one behind your incursion. He’s a good man is oor Lord Robertson.’
‘The best!’, cried the elevator operator with crazy eyebrows. He was still in the exact same spot he had been when staring at the posters but had turned one hundred and eighty degrees to face all of them. He stood perfectly still…blinking rapidly.
‘This is Darling’, said JoLa, brandishing her staff in his direction. ‘He is our most trusted servant. A true representative of Better Together and The Resistance. An’ I can tell you folks we need aw the help we can get these days.’ She settled back into her chair, her face taking on a melancholy look.
‘Tell them Johann,’ Darling said, still blinking.’They need to hear everything.’
‘Awright Darling,’ she replied, ushering us all to skooch up a bit as if she was a village elder about to entertain the children by the fireside. ‘It began with Lord Robertson. He’s such a gifted wee man. He saw aw this trouble before it started, ye know. Many years ago he prophesied the rise of the Forces of Darkness in this land. He knew that if the citizens of what once was ‘Scotland’ voted YES to separation it would cover all the lands in a second darkness.’ She stopped to cough and spit at the side of the chair.
In the background Darling’s face had began to twitch. It was a worrying sight combined with his excessive blinking. A few coughed words later – ‘Salmond!’ and ‘Nationalists!’ – and he seemed to calm down. JoLa continued.
‘Lord Robertson knew naebody would take his warnings seriously so , when the separatists put forth their wee pretendy referendum, he called the most powerful agents in the land to form the first line of defence against the Forces of Darkness: Better Together. We were a hearty band of proud Scots who tried with reasoned argument, honest debate and an endless supply of positivity, to stop the separatist vote from increasing. We kent Salmond was in league with the Dark Forces and was using the YES vote for his personal gain but naebody wanted to listen. In the end we failed.’ JoLa drew out a dirty handkerchief from her cloak and began dabbing at her eyes. ‘Oh help me boab but we gave it the best we could!’
‘Separatists!’, cried Darling, physically shuddering as he did so. The next moment he was as still as a statue, except for his eyes, which were blinking, rapidly.
‘We were too late to make it oot when the cataclysm happened,’ continued JoLa. ‘The lowest YES voters turned almost instantly into the vile zombie creatures ye encountered. Factions emerged from the higher echelons of the YES movement, Some joined with the creatures of the night, others carving out their own territories to rule over with their fearmongering. That cyber-bastard returned calling himself the ‘Reverend King’ and laid claim to Bathgate, with his ‘Winged Legions’. Macintyre-Kemp and Mckee hold the gateway to the highlands taxing onybody stupid enough to wander into their realm.’
‘What happened to those that didn’t vote YES?’ I asked, intrigued to find out if there was a substantial force which might be able to aid us in our journey home.
‘There were loadsy us! The YES vote won by a baw-hair! We’re still convinced it was rigged cause naebody in Scotland liked Salmond onyway. When the evil rose out the earth and descended fae the sky, our brave Better Together campaigners were hunted doun like dugs. We banded together though and managed to form a resistance! Some tried to make it oot but ye’ll know yersel how perilous the borders are now.’
‘We are everywhere. We are legion. Better Together reps round every corner. You’ll never see them but they’re there. Watching.’ It was Darling again, staring off into space, still blinking.
‘He does that sometimes,’ explained JoLa. ‘Find it best to ignore him till it passes. Got knocked on the head a bit before the referendum. Was never quite the same. Still a brilliant guy but.’
As Darling continued to mumble – ‘Cybernats!’, ‘Sssalmond!’ – I took stock of our situation. Three special operative agents – christ had I even asked their names before I began this mission? FAFD Agents 27 and 45 were all I knew – a hobbling angry, old woman and a strangely mystic old man with extraordinary eyebrows and an increasingly worrying case of nationalist tourette’s. We needed more firepower if we stood any chance of even attempting to get out of this place and report back to Lord Robertson and H.M.F.A.F.D.
As silence descended on the room, Darling having taken to admiring the Barrowman poster again, there came a crackling sound like that of a signal being received on a walkie-talkie. JoLa burst from her chair and made her way to a desk at the left side of the room. As she unlocked a drawer, a voice could be heard:
‘Come in! Come in HQ! This is Ruth! Code red! Code Red! I repeat Code – ‘
The signal stopped. JoLa’s left hand, which was now holding the walkie-talkie, began to shake furiously. Darling, now turned back to face the group, had began a strange keening sound. ‘Eeeeeeeeee.’
‘JoLa,’ I began as I made my way over to the angry-teacher, ‘what’s a ‘Code Red’?’
She said nothing for a few tense moments. Then she turned, utter terror in her eyes and muttered five barely audible, words.
‘The National Collective are coming!’
Location: Northern Britain ( formerly ‘Scotland’)
It has been over a decade since the citizens of Northern Britain sensibly rejected separatism in the referendum of 2014. Ever since then, across every acre of these islands, the Union of Britain has been unified as never before. A selection of cabinet ministers, including myself, felt that it was time to venture north once more and see first-hand the improvements that have been taking place.
One of the first things that my colleagues and I noticed after touching down on our private landing-strip at ‘The Airport of the Rt. Hon. Thatcher’ ( previously Glasgow Airport), was the much improved atmosphere of the city compared to the last time we had visited, some months before the referendum. Gone were the tatty and parochial saltire flags ( previously the ‘national’ flag of ‘Scotland), in their place were thousands of heart-warming Union Jacks lining every building, lamp-post and railing. A government decree passed not long after the No vote banning the parochial flags and making it a criminal offence for a household to not have at least one visible Union Jack on the outside of their residence. It was a sight to behold – even from the tinted-windows of our limousine – as we made our way into the heart of the glorious city of Glasgow.
Something stirs awake in this dark cave. Eyelids slowly open, closed for so long I forgot how to see. Dark dreams I’ve had of late. Dreams where I cowered in the corner, small and insignificant as those bigger and more important than I kept watch. The few scraps I was thrown were barely enough to keep me moving and with each passing day I felt myself fading. I grew weak in these dreams. I felt no strength inside me, no spirit to keep me standing tall. I cowered in the corner and was grateful for those scraps. I was small and weak in those dreams. I knew my place and it was of servitude.
Those dreams are over now. With every stretch and sigh I feel the strength in these bones of mine. I am not that cowering creature with the broken spirit. I was proud once, before this deep slumber. I remember now. I was confident and sure-footed. The steps I took were of honour, integrity and majesty. I stumbled here and there but always I found my way back to the right path.
The light outside is rising now. The dark cave that has been my home for so long is no longer fit for purpose. I have been asleep too long. I shake off those dreams and with them the doubts that clung to them. I am sure of myself again. I am able.
The sun has risen. My slumber is over. The world awaits me and I shall meet it head on.
My hibernation is over.