Is this proof that lockdown fever is getting to us all? – Kevan Christie

People who should know better start arguing over cosplay nationalists at the Border and a ‘unionist troll’ who wrongly claimed Nicola Sturgeon was sent journalists’ questions in advance, writes Kevan Christie as he hopes it’ll soon be time to get back into the office.

The Royal Border Bridge, illuminated in red, white and blue, enable people to travel across a border that may or may not exist, depending on your point of view (Picture: Jane Barlow)
The Royal Border Bridge, illuminated in red, white and blue, enable people to travel across a border that may or may not exist, depending on your point of view (Picture: Jane Barlow)

You know it’s time to get back into the office when some of the most prominent journalists in Scotland feel the need to defend themselves against a Twitter user with 481 followers and a profile that read: Brexiteer, anti SNP, member of the loyal orders, black belt karate, Israel, Rangers, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Yip, dear readers I came back from a lovely 10 days off and two trips to Costa Del Portobello to witness my profession finally don the water skis and ‘jump the shark’ like Fonzie in the 1977 Happy Days episode, Hollywood Part 3.

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Alexander Jardine, aka Sandy Jardine like the late Rangers football legend, described as a “unionist troll account” by one newspaper, certainly touched a raw nerve when he claimed Nicola Sturgeon vets the questions before her daily coronavirus briefings.

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Journos, some of whom are veterans of over 100 First Minister’s briefings, took umbrage, Stalybridge, and the Forth Road Bridge as they fell over themselves to respond to these remarks.

How dare he suggest our Glorious Leader gets to see the same questions in advance on face masks and social distancing that have been asked daily now for over three months and counting.

Jardine, who normally averages about five likes per post on his chosen specialist subject of conspiracy theories involving George Soros, revelled in his 15 minutes of infamy as those of us who are spending way too long on Twitter rather than meeting real humans snapped at the bait.

“Why don’t you... just switch off your computer and go and do something less boring instead?”

It used to be roasters like children “should be seen and not heard” but social media has given them a clown mobile for their views to be expressed from behind the sanctuary of a keyboard. Suddenly everyone is now paying attention to the social media equivalent of the drunk guy on the night bus.

The last time I checked Alexander’s account there was a doctored profile picture of Sturgeon wearing a ‘Make Scotland Great Again’ hat in the style of Donald Trump but MSGA doesn’t really work as a catchy abbreviation.

All of this nonsense came hot on the heels of more nonsense when a band of Scottish nationalists staged a protest on the A1 close to the border with England and shouted “plague carrier” at passing cars and warned people to “stay the f*** out”.

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At first glance I thought the artist Bill Drummond had resurrected the seminal 90s acid-house band The KLF for one of his subversive stunts, this time involving the burning of one million pounds worth of Scottish bank notes that he couldn’t get accepted in London.

But no, it was the ‘usual crew’ of cosplay nats wearing hazmat suits and masks which included a dug in a Saltire jacket who was wondering what they’d done to deserve getting dragged down to Berwick-upon-Tweed in the pouring rain. ‘Walkies’.

Predictably in this silliest of silly seasons the ridiculous shenanigans became an agenda-setting news story that ran for days with politicians of every stripe being dragged into a debate about the existence of a border between Scotland and England.

The First Minister was called on to denounce this behaviour by desperate Tory MSPs, clutching at straws and looking to link the ‘border ravers’ to the wider nationalist movement.

Something she did by saying that “the people who protested at the border did not speak for me... they were not there on my behalf”. Was anyone surprised by that? As far as I could gather, they hardly spoke for anyone given the mumblings through the face masks.

Anyway, back to my original point and I for one now can’t wait to get back into the office.

The three months I’ve spent policing the border between Crossgates and Hill O’Beath has been long enough and I feel that my work is now done.

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I look forward to sharing socially distanced bits of cake with beloved colleagues, while talking about what television shows we watched during lockers, currently Cardinal in my case.

I long to meet people for oat milk flat whites and pick bits of scone out of my flowing locks while asking to speak to the manager in Waitrose at Comely Bank to have them explain why the self-service checkouts don’t take hard cash. Granted, my new uniform of shorts, white socks and trainers – think American tourist at the Edinboro Festival – might take a while to bed in as the spring/summer look for 2020.

I see that the Scottish Government has issued guidance as the country enters stage three of lockdown with indoor visits and overnight stays to be allowed in Scotland.

Welcome news although I imagine most people gave up following these rules a while back but at least we’re paying heed to the wearing of face masks and maintaining a semblance of social distancing.

The rules, for example, on a household meeting four other households of up to 15 people in total outdoors are complete gibberish and entirely unworkable – but at least the infection rate appears to be under control.

Do they think people are going to say to the members of household number five that they can’t come to the park for a picnic?

All roads lead to Wednesday 15 July when the boozers finally reopen, serving pints of hand sanitizer in plastic glasses and the resumption of tractor driver instruction is pencilled in for a week later.

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Here’s hoping you don’t get stuck behind one as you cross the border.

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