Alistair Darling (who is not my darling) is now the darling of the Scottish Tories. Leaving aside his unionist views, he has a family connection that will please the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party – his great-uncle was Sir William Darling, Tory MP for Edinburgh South.
And his new Tory fans undoubtedly smiled conspiratorially in the Stirling bars and whispered “Isn’t Alistair a darling, darling? Did you know that, before he joined Labour when he was 23 years-old back in 1977, he was - believe it or not, darling - a Trot and supported the International Marxist Group! But class will out – Sir William’s genes will win through – Alistair will find his way back to true-blue unionism after this independence nonsense is buried with a stake through its heart. I mean, look at all the lovely money he makes on the lecture circuit – and to whom he lectures, darling!”
Among Alistair’s ideas for saving the remnants of the British Empire from final dissolution is urging Scots relatives of members of the Scottish electorate living in the rest of the UK to ‘love bomb’ family members eligible to vote in the referendum with phone calls, emails, letters urging them not to vote for the independence of their country, Scotland.
This fits neatly with the orchestrated attempts to paint England, Wales and Northern Ireland as ‘foreign’ countries after independence, with relatives staring in horror at each other as ‘foreigners’ over border posts manned by stern-faced, kilted and claymored border guards. This shameful, pejorative exploitation of the terms ‘foreign’, ‘foreigners’ and ‘foreign country’ is bordering on racism in its use of language, a usage now spreading like a virulent virus across Labour, Tories and LibDems. UKIP is already fatally infected, and the even more extreme parties are pustulating.
Like many Scot, I have relatives outside of Scotland – three in England, several in the Republic of Ireland, America and Canada. In the strange minds of the unionists purveying this pernicious rubbish – Gove, Brown, Darling, Goldie et al – those in England are in danger of becoming ‘foreigners’, and those elsewhere in the great Scottish diaspora, living in proudly and fully independent countries which long since freed themselves from the British Empire, are already ‘foreigners’ in a ‘foreign’ country.
I know what my Irish, American and Canadian relatives would think of this infantile yet dangerous rubbish. I also know what my immediate, close family in England think. I don’t expect a missive from any of them soon urging me to save the Union and vote NO, nor do any of them want, or think they are entitled to a voice in the Scottish referendum.
But if they wrote to me at all on this subject, I think they would write in the same terms as any other family members living in England would to their loved ones in Scotland about their vote, so I offer this composite letter, which I feel might come from a great many in similar circumstances. (I accept that some expatriate Scots, or those of Scots descent, might well write a Darlingesque letter.)
Dear ( ……)
The sun is shining here, a fine English early summer’s day at last. I love it here – vibrant community life, wonderful, welcoming pubs and great neighbours. We have a local election coming up for the Council, and I’m off to do my bit for my local candidate. And I’m thinking hard about how I’ll vote in the General Election in 2015, which doesn’t seem so far off now!
How are things with the referendum debate going up there? We get some idea occasionally from television and the press, but most of the time people around here are focused on local affairs and politics, as am I.
I wish you well with whatever decision you make – it’s for Scots resident in Scotland to make, and nobody else, and whatever the outcome, I tell all my English friends, colleagues and neighbours that England and Scotland will still live happily together as they have always done, with shared interests and ties of kinship. And nae border posts!
Looking forward to seeing you soon …