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I'm with Burns, not Bowie, when it comes to deciding Scotland's independence

SPARE a thought for anyone with a Union Jack tattoo.

If Scotland votes next week to leave the United Kingdom, which looks increasingly likely, it will take its flag with it.

Without the blue background and white X of St Andrew's saltire, the Union Jack will be a pale imitation of its former self.

That's bad news for those who nailed their colours to the mast - or got them needled into their arm - but good news for laser removal clinics.

Scots aged 16 and over plus foreign residents entitled to vote go to the polling stations on September 18 to answer a simple question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

According to the latest opinion poll published yesterday, 51pc of people questioned said yes it should, while 49pc said no it shouldn't.

Two percentage points of a difference may not sound much, but it's the first time the Yes camp, or Yes Scotland, has been ahead since campaigning began at the end of May.

A month ago it trailed the No camp, or Better Together, by a seemingly unassailable 22 points. That's a seismic swing, and it has caught the lads in London off guard.

David Cameron's having kittens - if Scotland votes Yes, he'll have to resign.

Labour leader Ed Miliband might as well resign now. Reacting to the latest poll, he said that if Scots decide to go it alone and he becomes the next prime minister, he'll install manned passport checkpoints at the border.

It was a foolish remark and he'll pay for it - the Scots don't take kindly to the English threatening them or telling them what to do.


Londoner David Bowie found that out to his cost last February. Using his acceptance speech at the Brit Awards to urge Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom triggered an avalanche of online abuse.

Not only was he advised to "f*** off back to Mars" but some lifelong Scottish fans of the Major Tom star said he'd made a major mistake and they'd be smashing all his records.

More recently, Paul McCartney and Bob Geldof also stuck their noses into a referendum that's none of their business - and were also told where they could shove their advice. There's no doubt then that celesolicited by the No side have spectacularly backfired.

My pal and fellow Glaswegian John Morrison, a fervent Scottish nationalist who lives in Cork, summed up Better Together's worst nightmare perfectly when he said they must be praying like mad that Bono doesn't take up their cause.

It was John also who said that, unlike Ireland which paid for its independence in blood, Scotland can achieve its freedom by the simple action of marking an X in a box in a democratic election.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "It won't happen again. As Robert Burns said, 'Now's the day, and now's the hour'.

"The hour of our destiny is approaching, and I really hope we vote to be an independent country, in charge of our own affairs.

"Apart from that, I've got a hundred euro on a Yes vote at 3-1, so it's looking good!"


As a Scot who left Scotland 31 years ago, I have no say in next week's referendum, though I do still have the accent that leaves no one in any doubt where I was born and raised.

If I had a vote, I'd be voting Yes. Not because I resent some pop star telling me to vote No, but because I believe it's the right thing to do.

So, I'll take the aye road and you take the no road, and I'll be in an independent Scotland afore ye.