Exodus 10 (Scottish version)
And David Cameron said to Alastair Darling, “Stretch out your hand over Scotland so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”
So Darling stretched out his staff over Scotland, and Cameron made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; they invaded all Scotland and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Scotland.
Alex Salmond quickly summoned Darling and Gordon Brown and said: “I have sinned against Cameron, the Prime Minister and against you. Now forgive my sin once more and pray to Cameron – and the Queen – to take this deadly plague away from me.”
Darling then left Salmond and called Cameron. And Cameron changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the North Sea. Not a locust was left anywhere in Scotland. The Union was saved.
Reading the London papers recently and especially this Sunday's, the pastiche above is extremely mild. For their warnings and threats make a plague of locusts look agreeable compared to the ills they forecast will afflict Scotland should it vote for independence on Thursday.
The Mail On Sunday runs an extraordinarily offensive story. Seizing on the fact that the Scots Nationalist leaders, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, are not parents they proclaim: "Leaders of SNP want to break up union because they do not understand families" under the headline "Childless SNP chiefs who have no feel for UK family." It's such a low blow that it descends to the ankles. Of course, the Mail is not claiming this themselves, they have a former Scotland rugby player called Steve Munro to do that – but the intention is clear.
The previous Sunday, the Mail really surpassed themselves. In English editions of the paper they ran a column by Simon Heffer, "Why don't we tell the Scots to shove off!" The Mail added that the paper didn't agree with the columnist's view, but it still felt the need to splash it on the front page. Meanwhile, in the Scottish edition, they led with "Cameron: Don't rip apart our UK family." Perhaps feeling that those warnings weren't strong enough, they went for the jugular with another story: “Miliband: We'll put guards on Scottish border." This suggested that the Labour leader, the possible next prime minister, was going to introduce passport and customs checks on the frontier between England and Scotland. Just like the equivalent on the Irish/UK border – which, of course, don't exist.
The fact that one can drive freely between Dublin and Belfast, without any impediment, rather proves that this was just blatant scaremongering.
The Sunday Telegraph had a columnist, who is an Irish citizen, trying to explain why Ireland and Scotland were different this weekend – i.e. independence was great for the Irish, but would be dreadful for their Celtic cousins. This would be like saying that having children was a fantastic idea for Prince William but that Prince Harry shouldn't have any. He's different, you see, he would be doing it after his older brother and in Telegraph logic it only works if you are first.
Their Sunday front page really took the biscuit. "Scottish soldiers lost their lives trying to preserve the United Kingdom. What will their families say now: 'Well, it no longer matters'?" This is so hideously offensive that I don't know where to begin. It's essentially similar to alleging that the massive Russian and Ukrainian sacrifice in World War II means nothing, because those countries later left the Soviet Union which they were, technically, defending at the time. It's also dancing on the graves of innumerable brave soldiers over centuries.
To be fair, The Observer is much fairer, as its editorial calling for a “No” vote is measured and not vindictive. The Murdoch papers – The Sunday Times and The Sun – are also calmer, perhaps because their editors feel that Murdoch himself is in favour of independence. Murdoch once described Salmond as "clearly [the] most brilliant politician in [the] UK."
The only Sunday title which actually breaks a story is Glasgow's Sunday Herald. They reveal that the Treasury in London orchestrated a horror story that Royal Bank of Scotland would leave the putative independent state. This was one of countless scaremongering stories doing the rounds last week. Others included threats of supermarkets raising prices after a “Yes” vote and pretty much everything else, except the sky falling in.
The BBC reported on Wednesday night that RBS plans to relocate its registered office to London, if the electorate says “Aye”. The bank's announcement was made the next morning. The Herald alleges that officials at Chancellor George Osborne's department leaked the news to the BBC in an email late on Wednesday.
Nobody is saying the path to Scottish statehood will be easy, but also no rational person could believe that such a course of events would lead to sky-high food prices, the collapse of the banking sector and a militarised border with England. The fact that London-based media has been pushing such nonsense serves only the damage the campaign to retain the union. It's foolish and is, most likely, driving many wavering Scots to the Nationalist camp, tired of the propaganda assault which belittles their intelligence.
The British film, “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People,” springs to mind. Adapted from Toby Young's book, it shows a young, hedonistic Englishman – educated at Oxbridge like most of London's media chiefs – managing to fall out with everyone he meets in New York. Despite meaning well, and having considerable talent, his behaviour irks his American hosts – much like his fellow travellers in the London media are doing recently in Scotland. Losing the Scottish and alienating them. If the union is broken on Thursday, the English – and their media – have only themselves to blame.
“Fleet Street” is losing friends north of the River Tweed and alienating Scots. They have three days to change tack. One way to save the union is less fear, more hope – and to stay away from the locusts.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.