800,000 Scots

I agree with Alistair Darling. He wants the 800,000 Scots living elsewhere in the UK to make themselves heard. I was Scottish Nationalist for about a fortnight when I was 15 but I got over it. It was a teenage symptom. Alex Salmon thought he would harness the yoof vote for the referendum, only for a recent poll to show that teenagers know the real world better than he does. Mr Darling was launching a London branch of the Better Together campaign and drew a comparison with the separatists’ Yes Scotland campaign, which asserted that people living south of the Border should not be able to donate more than £500 towards it. Sir Alex Ferguson handed over a symbolic £501 by way of contradiction. It says something if I can agree with Alistair Darling and Sir Alex Ferguson in the same paragraph.

The Better Together launch at Westminster was backed by Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Lord Strathclyde, former Leader of the House of Lords. Addressing the 800,000 exiles, which include 100,000 in London, Mr Darling said: “You may not have a vote in the referendum, but you do have a voice. You have a right to have your opinion heard and you have a right to play your part in keeping Scotland in the UK. The nationalists don't want to hear from you. They believe that, because you have chosen to live and work in another part of the country, somehow you shouldn't be allowed to be involved.” Le Mans 1956. The first of Ecurie Ecosse’s astonishing wins with Flockhart and Sanderson in D-type Jaguar XKD501.

Scarcely any of Salmond’s campaign is not now completely shredded. It is summed up by the editor of The Spectator, Fraser Nelson: “Only now is (Alex Salmond) facing proper scrutiny, and he seems strikingly unprepared. He has been flummoxed by George Osborne’s declaration that an independent Scotland may have trouble using the pound. For years, the SNP has hinted that it has legal advice claiming an independent Scotland could stay in the European Union. It has now been forced to admit that no such advice exists. The latest can of worms to burst open is the notion that an independent Scotland should have a properly funded pension scheme: dull matters, certainly, but important ones that expose the mess that separation involves.”

Jim McColl, one of Salmond’s greatest business backers, said recently that he would settle for “an independent Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom”. Some hope. A few weeks ago he was exposed as a Monaco-based tax exile. As with actors such as Sean Connery and Alan Cumming, the SNP finds nationalists who will do anything for Scotland except live there. Billy Connolly got it about right, describing Holyrood as a pretendy parliament. Remember Tony Blair reassuring somebody 20 years ago that it would be no more than a sort of parish council.

Agree with Tony Blair? Maybe that would be a step too far.

Scots in motor racing: (top) Jim Clark’s Rookie of the Year 1963 Indianapolis jacket. (above) When drivers wielded a wheel spanner. Jackie Stewart unbolts a wheel on his BRM in a Tasman race while Jim Clark drives up the pit lane during practice. (below) Dove Publishing ebook. Buy from Amazon £7.21.