Joan McAlpine, fast-rising SNP MSP, sparked controversy this week by her accusation that the pro-union parties were being “anti-Scottish”.
The charge has reverberated across the Scottish mainstream and social media, and has brought counter-accusations of “political racism” on her part. Scotsman columnist Ms McAlpine remains defiant. The row rages on.
But what merits the charge of being “anti-Scottish” exactly? How can readers ensure such a charge is not suddenly hurled at them?
Here, in what is intended as a light-hearted quiz but will almost certainly offend someone, are questions designed to explore whether you are “on” or “off” message with Ms McAlpine. With apologies to Jane Franchi and the much-missed Superscot quiz, it seeks to bring out your inner Scot: are you a Brit or a Braveheart, ultra pro-Scottish or ultra pro-anti-Scottish attitudes.
As you proceed, make a note of your answers – how many ‘A’s, ‘B’s and C’s. There is a score guide at the end. This will rank you on the Joan McAlpine Stone of Destiny Index.
1 Your favourite film is:
A) Zulu, of course. A finer portrayal of all that made this nation great has never been filmed.
B) Whisky Galore
C) Braveheart, on the sixth viewing.
2 Your favourite writer is:
A) John Buchan. That Richard Hannay knew how to deal with the Hun. South African connections too, y’know.
B) Muriel Spark. Haven’t read Jean Brodie, but it was a great film.
C) Hugh MacDiarmid. And anyone who says he was a Fascist has swallowed the propaganda of the English literary establishment.
3 Scottish unemployment is:
A) Always above the UK rate because the Weegies can’t get off their backsides.
B) Below the UK rate.
C) All the fault of the South-East bias of the British economy and won’t get better until we are unchained from the financial black hole that is the City of London.
4 You are offered a complimentary ticket to a final event at the Olympic Games. Do you:
A) Eagerly accept, even if it’s for synchronised swimming.
B) Accept, but only if it’s something you follow.
C) Decline, even if it’s a sport you were good at, citing a biased selection policy.
5 You visit London:
A) Regularly – you have an arrangement at the Caledonian Club. Very good rates once you’ve paid the subs and it’s a real home from home.
B) Occasionally for a nice weekend
C) Only to remind yourself of how much the English cling on to symbols of empire. And when my partner wants to go.
6 You are being introduced to the Queen at a Garden Party. Do you:
A) Curtsey deeply, while wiping away a tear of joy.
B) Give a slight nod.
C) Say: “I am here because my mum wants to know what it’s like, but you remain a potent symbol of inequality and privilege.” Under your breath, of course.
7 You are representing Scotland at an EU crisis summit. Is your solution:
A) The immediate break-up of the eurozone. It was all a Franco-German construct from the start.
B) A default by Greece and a smaller, stronger eurozone.
C) Immediate implementation of Plan MacB and relocation of the ECB to Edinburgh. Scotland is a global leader, don’t you know.
8 You are choosing a holiday. Do you:
A) We’ll have a week at the place in Elie and then a fortnight in a friend’s farmhouse in Tuscany. If it’s winter it’s got to be Val d’Isere.
B) Choose a bed-and-breakfast in Aberfeldy.
C) Book for Panama to see for yourself where it all went wrong in Darien.
9 You are in England and your Scottish £5 note is refused. Do you:
A) Offer an English bank note as replacement. Plenty more where that came from, old boy.
B) Point out that the Scottish note is changeable at any bank.
C) Tell the shopkeeper he’ll be sorry when the Bank of England goes bust with the rest of the rotten British state and you’ll be back in five years time with a bag of groats.
10 You are asked to add a question to a Scottish nationality test. Would you suggest:
A) The grouse season starts when?
B) The capital city is which city?
C) List all Scottish first ministers since 2007.
11 The leader of Scottish Labour is:
A) I really haven’t a clue. Isn’t it that dull grey chap?
B) Er, um Johann Strauss, no Andrew Strauss, er Jean Thingummy?
C) Always in cahoots with the London-based Tories.
12 And the Scottish Tories?:
A) Ruth Davidson, thankfully.
B) Annabel, wait, no it’s the kick-boxer isn’t it?
C) You have no mandate to ask that question and it’s irrelevant to modern Scotland anyway.
13 Joan McAlpine’s nickname outside the SNP is:
A) Who’s she? Oh yes, bit of a Ginger Goebbels I’ve heard.
B) Eva MacPeron
C) There is no appropriate nickname for the beating heart of the movement.
For every (A) score zero. For every (B) score five. For every (C) score ten.
Rating: Score total between 0-25: You are a useless, 30s hangover, so hand over the keys to your New Town flat and get off to London. 25-50: You are on the borderline. Further tests will be needed before you can vote. Over 75: Congratulations! You are wrapped in plaid and your can sleep soundly on The Joan McAlpine Stone of Destiny.