Hullo, I’m Alistair Darling. You may remember me as the UK Secretary of State for Transport who brought in wholesale change in the railway sector without addressing the fundamental problems inherent in a privatised passenger train network, and also for my guest-starring appearance as the Chancellor overseeing the scrapping of the 10% tax bracket. But I’m here today to advise you, the people of Scotland, as to what you’ll feel is “ours” if you decide to vote for independence.
You see, after independence, you’ll no longer identify with those songs, films, TV programmes, books, artworks, poems, plays, and other cultural products that currently fall under the category of “British”. What was once “ours” will become “theirs”, and thus a reign of artistic darkness will fall upon Scotland, a bleak midwinter of Jimmy Shand LPs and Paul Coia repeats. Your soul will no longer feel alive and at one with the sparks of creativity that happen to emanate from other parts of these Isles, and instead will spitefully eject acclaimed talent from your heart, to be replaced with No Mean City paperbacks.
I’ve taken the liberty of outlining some individual cases for you, as to guide your quest through what you should feel is “ours”:
1. George Frideric Handel
While you may feel Water Music to be an appropriate anthem for such a climatologically-challenged nation such as ours, a Yes vote in 2014 will ensure you derive no universal human joy from his catalogue. Not only German-born, he also became a naturalised British citizen and premiered Messiah in, of all places, Dublin, where mine blog host stayed in the hotel named after him. On no account must you feel that an independent Scotland would allow you to bathe luxuriantly in Zadok The Priest, or indeed listen for one second to its use as the Champions’ League theme tune.
2. Super Furry Animals
Not only will Scotland feel instantly ill at ease with the Welsh popsters after independence, their insistence in singing in their native language from time to time renders doubly jarring the rejection they will inevitably face if powers over, for example, defence and foreign policy are transferred to the Scottish Parliament. I would advise any youngsters who currently possess a copy of any of their beat-tastic albums to sell them now, ahead of the inevitable price crash when thousands of CDs go on the market at record shops across the nation.
3. Oscar Wilde
This chap was “theirs” initially, then became “ours” until 1922, then became “theirs” again. At some point he became “ours” again, and you can’t have him. Not if you vote Yes. He was lying in our gutters, looking at our stars, and being gaoled in our prisons. Any admiration or connection you may have had for his writing and reflection of the human condition will disappear in Autumn 2014 if you give the wrong answer on your ballot paper. Your copies of The Ballad Of Reading Gaol will no doubt be subject to confiscation by Salmond’s cultural commissars, so I recommend you read them now while you have the chance. And obviously Stephen Fry and Michael Sheen will be off-limits too, so no more QI & The Damned United for you.
I have selected but three examples from our cultural milleu, but be under no doubt; an artistic steel curtain will descend upon Caledonia if you choose to establish a new system of government for the country. Those shared, tender moments with your loved ones experienced to a soundtrack of music composed and performed by people outwith Scotland will metamorphise in your mind into a dark, dank nightmare, haunted by the spectres of Del Amitri and The Time Frequency. The times you sniggered away on the bus as you read Adrian Mole: The Prostate Years will be no more.
Don’t let this happen to our great and proud nation. Vote No to Independence. And help keep Keith Lemon “ours”.