By Rab Bruce’s Spider

So there’s been another Broontervention. For the first time (again), Gordon brown has told us why Scotland is better off being controlled by Westminster rather than being a normal, self-governing country. Now, I will admit that I did not listen to his comments, so perhaps I have misunderstood, but the reports I’ve heard suggest that he had some polling evidence which he claims shows that Scots have a lot in common with their English neighbours. Well, knock me down with a feather. Who’d have guessed it. After three centuries of common control, speaking the same language and consuming the same media, we have things in common?

But do these shared interests mean we want to be governed by our neighbours? That’s an entirely different question, and from what I’ve heard, it seems Gordon brown is up to his old tricks of conflating issues to make a point. He's also a great one for making things that aren't going to happen sound very plausible. Remember his promises of a near-Federal UK? They were nonsense at the time and remain so. It sounds as if his latest arguments are just as facile.

What made me laugh was when I heard that one of his arguments for remaining part of the UK was that Scots prefer Coronation Street to River City. Since I don’t watch either of them, I can’t comment on what would make one more watchable than the other, but it’s a very strange argument to suggest that enjoying Coronation Street means you want to be governed by Westminster, and have the ruling Government of the day decided by your neighbours in England. After all, I suspect many people in Ireland watch Coronation street as well, but they don’t seem to use it as a gauge of how they want to be governed.

As for Scots, a whole generation of us grew up watching US sitcoms such as Cheers and Frasier, and the next generation fell in love with Friends. But, much as I enjoyed these programmes, it did not fill me with a desire to be governed by the USA. It was simply a case of enjoying entertainment programmes which were well written and acted. The source of those programmes was immaterial to my politics.

You can, of course, throw in Australian soaps such as Neighbours which were huge hits when they first aired in the UK, and which are still being broadcast today. Again, while these shows may have persuaded some individuals to move to Australia for a change of lifestyle, I don’t recall a mass demand for Scotland to be governed by Australia.

As so often, it sounds as if Gordon brown is clutching at straws and using any old argument he can think of in order to bolster an increasingly fragile argument for remaining in the UK. Personally, to pinch a corny line from a theme song, I’d much prefer Scotland to become a normal country and then, because of shared interests, hope that our neighbours to the south become good friends.