My referendum ramblings ruffle feathers


Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear. Woe is me. It appears that I have upset someone.

A letter has wung it’s way down from Oop North. No, it’s not a letter from the Embra parliament banishing me from The Kingdom of New Caledoniashire (should it get the thumbs up at The Vote) from King Soapy after last week’s column.

It’s a starchy letter from The Peebles Republic, from a descendent of Wee Mel, one Mr Wallace (Letters Southern, September 11).

I should have guessed that a distant relly of the blue-fizogged freedom-fighter would have had no truck with the indecision of a cross-border interloper (me).

As Darth Vader might have said: “The genes are strong in this one.”

What I thought was a light-hearted exploration of my swithering over the referendum, with some humorous touches parodying (or that’s what I thought) the days of Empire, has ignited passions on a par with the feminist reaction to Britney dressing as a schoolgirl for her ‘(Hit Me) Baby One More Time’ video.

One person’s idea of irony is interpreted by another person as a statement of fact – a truth.

Did anyone else (of my regular ‘band’ – a term I use very loosely – of readers) think that I actually used to bat folk aside at airport check-ins using my hard-backed British passport?

Having travelled widely, including spending time in far-flung cities where kidnap and firefights in the street are a daily occurence (Mexico City and Falkirk, to name but two), I am well aware of leaving a light footprint and a pleasant memory when I travel.

I understand the merit of respecting other cultures and staying safe.

Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to travel without incident through Venezuela aged 17 in the days before mobile phones and the internet.

Would anyone think that I was using mortalled (for those over 50 and non-Irish, this term is used by my Irish friends to describe someone who has had a couple of sweet sherries too many) teens as a serious illustration of how the break-up of the union between Scoatlan and Englandshire might affect us?

I suddenly feel like an ignorant Brit from the days of the Raj, blithely bumbling on unable to see which unfortunate servants I’m trampling on due to the stiffness of my upper lip.

Anyone who has ever seen the dining room scene from the end of ‘Carry on up the Khyber’ will know what I’m talking about.

A Victorian era Sid James et al sit around a beautifully-laid table at a silver service dinner, passing the port and making light of nearby cannon and gunfire as the room is slowly ripped apart and chunks of ceiling plaster plop into their soup course. Unflappable in their stoic Britishness.

In the Bad Old Days when I was a real journalist and worked on The Hootsmon newspaper up in Embra, we had a columnist called Church Elder.

It was about a moany old soul who always wore a bunnet and was ‘a pensioner from Peebles’.

Methinks now that might have been you, Mr Wallace.

Please don’t take this column too seriously, I certainly don’t.