In a body-blow for the No campaign, Ed Miliband today entered the independence debate at the Labour Party’s Perth conference with a heartfelt declaration of love for Scotland.
“My father trained with the Royal Navy at Inverkeithing,” the Labour leader fondly reminisced. “It instilled in him a huge affinity with Scotland, although he never made it back there because for the rest of his life he was really busy. But he always had a special smile for lucky white heather sellers, and a high tolerance for bagpipe music. I remember my conversation with him as a boy, when he said to me, ‘Son, when you’re Prime Minister don’t forget to suck up to the Jocks. They’ll vote for any old rubbish if it wears a red rosette’. And I said to him, ‘Dad, I’m Ed. You’re mixing me up with David again.’
“Only Labour can restore the 50p top tax rate in Scotland,” Miliband continued, “because by the time we’re finished with the economy nobody will be earning enough to pay it anyway. Under independence Alex Salmond would find himself competing with David Cameron in a race to the bottom, whereas within the Union we would pool and share the collapse of the economy so that everyone suffered equally.
“John Smith, whom respected mediums have confirmed to us would definitely have voted against independence, passionately believed in social justice. So magnificent was his vision that it’s taken us twenty years to come up with a plan to implement it. But we’re ready now, as long as the opinion polls don’t go tits up.
“Alex Salmond used to call himself a social democrat. He can’t any more, because we’ve debased politics so much in the last few years that the term’s meaningless. Now that we’ve made punters think all politicians are the same, I can call him a Tory without anybody batting an eyelid. Why put up with him making life easier for rich people with obscenities like free university tuition and prescription charges, when you can vote for us, and ensure 10,000 extra civil service jobs administering a means-tested quagmire?
“Anyway, it’s time for my oil change, and then I have a train to catch. Bye!”
Mr Miliband’s speech came after Scottish Labour’s new “red flag” policy document Together We’re Crap had been unveiled by deputy Scottish leader Anas Sarwar in a five minute speech that lasted for four hours. The document will be mailed to all Scottish households at the expense of Aberdeen council tax payers. It has several key planks, many of whom helped to write it.
“It’s about something bigger than independence,” indicated Sarwar, practising circular breathing to make sure no-one else got a word in edgeways. “It’s about adventure, ambitions, aspiration, assertions, assistance, assumptions and astonishment, and that’s only page 62 of the dictionary we’re at. The SNP waste so much time on mundane delivery of policies, when they could be dreaming the dream like only Labour can. Wake up, Scotland!
“Our proposals will halve child poverty by 2021. We figure that by then about 40% of those currently affected will no longer be children, so we only have to worry about the other 10%. So we’ll offer a few hours of free childcare to 2, 3 and 4 year olds and then re-define “poverty” to exclude families in receipt of childcare. Job done!
“We’ll finance it by punishing better off people for living in Scotland by levying higher taxes than the rest of the UK. If enough of them bugger off to Carlisle, average wealth in Scotland will go down, so people will be relatively less poor anyway.
"Johann’s done the sums and says 100 million people will benefit from our proposals, or maybe it’s 10, but the arithmetic doesn’t matter. Jackie Baillie will be in charge of publicity, since she’s a face that everyone can trust.”
Johann Lamont was unavailable for comment on humanitarian grounds.