That’s right: trouble. Take it from me. I’ve spent most of my adult life working with the damned things.
Gotta be careful what you say. One false word and you’re toast. That’s not to say you’re crusty and dripping with butter. Not in most cases, anyway.
It’s just another way of saying you’re in trouble or, if you prefer, your tea’s oot.
In Beowulf, we learned to look upon our word-hoard as treasure. In Shakespeare, we found that words pay no debts (tell me about it). And in Scotland, we now know that some words frighten the horses.
Prime among them — pause as the skies darken, thunder explodes and lightning flashes — is the word ‘independence’. Though normally thought in the English-speaking world to be a fine, manly word, in Scotia Minor, it stands for fear and loathing.
Famously, we Scots are not as other men. But in this instance, we’re mighty peculiar indeed. If you follow politics at all, you’ll probably know that in Scotia M there’s a hooha aboot the aforementioned — cover your ears, Martha! — independence.
Personally, I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Ain’t going to happen, not while the decision is in the hands of the snivelling electorate. Everybody knows they’ll chicken out in 2014, so the whole thing’s academic.
Even if it did happen, it won’t — pace the unionists — be the end of the world. Things will get a wee bit better and we’ll have some more money. It’ll be nice to make our own decisions an’ all, and to live in a more caring culture without having all that Thatchery-Blairy stuff imposed upon us.
But nothing much will change. You’ll still work and pay your taxes. It’ll still pish doon in June.
However, with a political and media culture beholden to yonder London, the lieges are daily assaulted with the idea that independence means armageddon.
This got the SNP thinking. And when you want to think, who do you get in? That’s right: you get your Yellow Pages out and turn to ‘p’ for ‘psychologist’. Another scary word. Usually, it’s all sex with them. Feeling depressed, missus?
Maybe it’s because you lack a knob. You look guilty there, sir. Are you, perchance, dreaming of illicit relations with your mother?
You say: “Let’s all run away from this!” Normally, I’d commend such an idea, as I didn’t get where I am today by standing my ground.
But, in this instance, I have to say: Don’t be silly now. There’s more to psychology than knobs and whatnots. And that’s probably psychiatry anyway. No, psychologists, at least at the more popular end of things, are also concerned about such things as positive thinking.
Oh no! Not that old canard. Well, oh, as it were, yes. Particularly when it comes to politics, ya gotta accentuate the positive. How many times have you heard disastrous election results spun positively by the party’s man in the studio?
To wit: “This is a great outcome for us, a massive improvement on the position in 1902 when, admittedly, we didn’t actually exist.” Nope, you can’t be negative in politics or you’re a whole rack of toast, slice it which way you will. So, according to the Sunday Herald, a top psychologist has advised the SNP to stop talking about ‘independence’. You’re fully awake now and have this question: “But isn’t that the very thing the SNP stands for?” Madam, if I had a coconut about my person, I’d award it to you with due ceremony. It is indeed what the SNP stands for. But, hush your wheesht, it’s not that they’ve given up on the idea. Indeed, they’ve been advised to big up an ‘independent’ Scotland.
It’s just the ce-word that they reckon terrifies the lieges. This is because it’s a concept — d’you see? — and one that unionist politicians and media have managed successfully to associate with ‘risk’. Fear is the entire basis of the unionist strategy and, bearing in mind the aforementioned gibberish about positive and negative thinking, the Nats hope this could prove their downfall.
They themselves plan to focus on the upbeat, with the idea that being independent, as such, is a positive personal quality. Well, it’s arguable, I suppose. But, again, it may not play in Scotland, where being dependent is powerfully ingrained.
Truly, it’s a shameful thing. But Scottish voters are famed as fearties, and might blast out Flower of Scotland before slinking into the polling booth to think again.
Not everyone in the SNP gets this psychobabble.
One party source told the Sunday H: “This is becoming a bit of a guddle.” Guddle is the word, and a good one too. Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, who opposes his own country running its own affairs, frothed thus: “Would the SNP advisers call a spade a spade or a soil-diving dividing implement because it sounds less offensive to worms?” These horticultural perorations aside, you have to ask whether the Nats are adding too much manure to the budding young plant of, er, independence. Personally, I think they’re on to something. But don’t take my word for it.