So the Tories go to Troon and launch Friends of the Union. A little like the Village Green Preservation Society but without a decent choon or chorus.
And who should they haul out of retirement to lead the shebang but Auntie Bella? She made the best joke of it herself so I won’t even bother trying. And it’s a role she’ll be well suited to, given that she spent years trying to flog a hopeless cause to an indifferent and unresponsive electorate. If anyone can save the Union, it won’t be Annabel Goldie.
The Liberal Democrats have also unveiled their secret weapon. Charlie Kennedy, another former leader of these parts, will be leading their line just as soon as he can make it back to Scotland on a plane. Something he’s had a little difficulty managing in recent weeks.
And apparently, in the red corner for Labour will be Alistair Darling. Another of mature years with plenty of experience and time on his hands, now he’s not running the country’s finances into a black hole. Oh and Gordon Brown has deigned to put in the odd appearance, which is more than he does at Westminster these days.
Of course, all the Scottish leaders are saying that actually they will be in charge. That’s enough Chiefs for a war council; in fact, they could end up with more chiefs than indians at this rate.
But isn’t it all so predictable? Where are the fresh faces to lead the charge to defend the Union? Or rather the anti-independence campaign, for while they might like to think they are pro-Union I’ve yet to hear a decent argument to be made for staying put. Instead, what we’ve had is the sad, old usual scare stories and some soundbites amounting to stronger together.
And this lot come with baggage, tonnes of it. Every utterance and appearance might remind people of their past successes but also of their failures and their parties’ failings too.
I want – and wonder if I’ll wait in vain – for a surprise. Yes we have a long way to go and yes they are all only getting going. But go on, just this once, spring one on us. A name. Someone new. Someone with something positive to say about the cause of preserving the old ways. Please.
Already the SNP has its campaign in place and is starting to roll out the supporters. For sure, it will be the same old at the forefront but the difference is that Alex Salmond is not yesterday’s man, he’s the current leader of his people (all of them, that’s in his party and in the country at large). He and his team are weel kent faces because they have a role to play in running the country.
But there is a strategy in place to make their yes vote campaign look more like a movement, gathering momentum and people as it goes, rather than a raggle taggle bunch playing their old instruments largely out of tune. There is no sense of coherence about the anti-istas’ message or theme or how they are going to go about it. Instead, there appears to be a smug reliance on the current poll ratings, showing just how much work the SNP and others who are pro-independence have to do to get to the mountain top. Not big, not clever.
So while they rest on the poll ratings, the SNP is getting on with it. There are new folk pledging allegiance to the independence cause. Shiny ones too. Ones that make some of us ooh and ahh, or at least raise our eyebrows. A steady trickle of folk crossing the rubicon and coming out in favour of going our own way. Cameron MacNeish was first out of the blocks, joining a pretty starry cast already lined up. There’s big Sean of course, Elaine C Smith, Alasdair Gray and David Hayman. More recent converts (or at least, declarers) include James Cosmo, Martin Compston, David Greig, James Robertson, Liz Lochhead, Iain Banks and Lou Hickey. Even Kyle Falconer – the lead singer of Dundee’s finest, the View – has come out in support.
The thing about all these celeb supporters is that they actually say why they support the cause. In Falconer’s case, it’s because he thinks it will be good for Scotland’s music industry. People and purpose: it’s an intoxicating mix.
Unlike the old war horses who think because it’s aye been that this will be enough. Of course, a group (groupie?) of celebs and artists does not a mass movement make. But expect more new faces to pop up between now and 2014 to pledge allegiance to a yes vote. Some of them might even be ordinary voters, and it will all contribute to the big mo’.
Meanwhile, those arguing for the status quo increasingly look like their namesake band – yesterday’s men, trudging out the tired old hits, trying not to look out of place in among the bright young things on stage, and stretching those waistcoats across their expanding waistlines in the hope that they can make it through one last gig without popping a button. Or worse.