Martin Hannan: I jest can’t take any more, guys

Michael Moore is talking of farm track border controls. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Michael Moore is talking of farm track border controls. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Have your say

By far the funniest comedians around at the moment are not on the Edinburgh Fringe. No, they are lurking in the offices of the Better Together campaign along with members of the UK Cabinet.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore’s recent vision of patrols on farm tracks at the Border was just the latest in a long line of laughable jests from the people who call themselves Project Fear but should really be named Operation Joker.

So for some light relief, here’s a reminder of some of their jolly japes. Sorry, that should have read powerful anti-independence propaganda, but I was bent over my keyboard laughing at the rib-ticklers sprayed out by the Unionists.

Remember how Scots with mobile phones would be subject to roaming charges to call people in England? That same day the European Commission said all data roaming charges would be cancelled by July 1, 2014, before the referendum even takes place. Tee hee.

They told us Scotland would become a “foreign country” and Scots would be treated as foreigners – Moore’s border control piffle in another guise. It’s all tosh, not least because the UK Government refuses to discuss post-independence arrangements. And presumably that will mean the end of the Common Travel Area between the UK home nations and the Republic of Ireland?

Former home secretary John Reid suggested that an independent Scotland would be more at risk to terrorist attack from al-Qaida. Well, only if we Scots illegally invade Iraq . . .

In one memorable jest, we were told Scotland would need to have its own UK Information Commissioner and national sports body. We have had such a commissioner since 2003 and sportScotland is doing very nicely, thank you, and has done since the Scottish Sports Council was founded in 1972 – by Royal charter, mind you, with the Unionists thereby insulting Her Majesty by ignoring a body she approved.

The universal postal service will be scrapped under independence, quipped the UK Government. That will be the same Government that is trying to flog off the Royal Mail – that’s no joke, by the way, they really are that insane.

The economy is suffering even now because of the mere threat of independence. What a laugh. Inward investment in Scotland is running at a 15-year high, with record investment set for the North Sea oil and gas which, of course, will start to run out by 1988, as the UK Government said in 1980.

Another thigh-slapper was that Scotland will be forced to join the euro if we want to remain part of the European Union. I am just back from Croatia which joined the EU on July 1 and whose people will decide when or if they want to join the eurozone, just as the Scots will when we are 

The UK’s AAA credit rating would also be lost under independence, said Operation Joker – that will be the AAA rating the UK promptly lost.

My favourite witticism was the UK Government’s claim back in February that 14,000 UK treaties would require renegotiation. The next day ministers had to admit most of the treaties were obsolete. It’s the same sort of hoax that says Berwick-upon-Tweed is still technically at war with Russia.

As an SNP member, I once worried that Project Fear’s incessant scaremongering would work. Now I just laugh at Operation Joker.


So Edinburgh City Council has been shortlisted for five gongs in the Association of Public Service Excellence awards. So what, you might say, but then you look at the bottom line and the nominated schemes have saved the council more than £3.8 million. That is

worth celebrating, surely.

Let’s lead way to tackle trolls

The sad death of 14-year-old Hannah Smith has highlighted once again the activities of trolls, those anonymous swines who pollute the internet with their ravings.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again – there is no such thing as anonymity and if the authorities were really serious about catching the trolls, they could and would do so.

Scotland should take a lead and pass a law requiring all internet service providers operating in this country to supply the names of “anonymous” trolls on demand to the police at the request of victims of these hate crimes. Then the courts should be empowered to really tackle the trolls by having the power to confiscate their computers, tablets and smartphones.

Sparkling stuff at the Fringe

I promised you a few personal recommendations for this year’s Fringe and I have no hesitation in pointing you in the direction of Sparkle and Dark Theatre Company’s production of Killing Roger at the Underbelly.

It’s an extraordinary mix of puppetry and the very serious issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Not for the kids, though.

I have been following the career of a brilliant young Scots-Canadian songwriter called Alex Hynes, and I’m delighted to report that he is in fine form on the Free Fringe at the Tron Kirk. Get along and catch the start of what will be a great career.

Ringing in a cash-laden era

If our hopefully pregnant panda has a wee one, it will have to have a double-barrelled Chinese-sounding name. How about Ring Ring, because that’s what the cash tills will be singing.