HOME rule for Scotland is being debated at the moment although the English don’t seem to care a moth-eaten sporran one way or the other.
At issue is a land traditionally inhabited by a people in skirts famous for blowing wild music out of one intestine-shaped item and for eating a meal cooked in another.
Add to that a language whose brogue is so broad that conversation with them for “Sassenachs” is practically impossible without a translator and you wonder why Westminster doesn’t just tell them to get on with it.
That reticence owes everything to whisky.
The Scots view every dram consumed by the English as pure waste, a loss eased only by the loch-fulls of money we have to pay to get it.
What then enrages the Bannockburn Boys even further is that Westminster gets its own back by levying all sorts of taxes on the precious liquid.
Therein lies the main reason for Scottish Independence.
Scotland reasons – and not without some justification – that if they can only cut the English adrift then whisky can help them rule the world.
Their faith in the attractiveness of whisky is sound because you need something wonderful to gee you up a bit when you’re facing a chilly climate with no underwear. When you add in voracious biting midges during what passes for summer it’s enough to drive anyone to drink.
So Scotland wants out, it wants its own currency, it wants to rule its own affairs and it wants only enough whisky set aside for export as is absolutely necessary to help balance the books.
Westminster is being quite reasonable about this. If Scotland wants to print a banknote showing a scraggly sheep on a windswept hillside blurred by lots of squiggly ink to stop it being forged, then good luck to them. The House of Commons certainly doesn’t mind Scotland ruling its own affairs because of delicious anticipation that it could all go horribly wrong, but to give up control of whisky? No chance.
Ever since former Chancellor Gordon Brown’s rather public support for whisky no one has been left in any doubt just what really matters to the Scots.
Independence would allow them to massively develop the whisky trade, to vastly expand the number of sites where it is made and to build whisky concessions into international trade agreements.
You could wind up with new brands for the political arena such as Salmond’s Snifter, Barack’s Blend and Maggie’s Malt….well perhaps not that.
Whatever the name on the bottle, the contents clearly hold the key to Scotland’s future. They know it and have put Highland hooch at the heart of their Independence drive and Westminster knows it but is keeping quiet.
So think carefully when you next go down the off-licence to renew supplies. The whisky you are buying could soon by rationed if Scotland has its way.