I HAVE become a radicalised bridge sympathiser. This did not happen after a tortuous journey of inner self-discovery featuring long, dark nights of the soul. Indeed, only last week I felt I had had my fill of people exulting over the Queensferry Crossing. The waves of adulation being lavished on the new bridge across the Forth were beginning to look a bit cultish. How long can it be, I wondered, before miraculous healings are attributed to it? It’s a bridge; get over it (as I fully intend to do very soon).

Then the anti-bridge backlash started; an unlovely thing that contained all the narrow, ultra-nationalist bitterness which its proponents sought to decry in the behaviour of those who expressed joy at such a gorgeous feat of engineering.

According to some among the Unionist rapid rebuttal unit, the bridge is not worthy of much attention at all. But that isn’t all: to espouse any degree of happiness at the bridge’s construction is to be a narrow-minded Scottish nationalist propagandist.

Loading article content

The First Minister had described the crossing as the best of its kind in the world. I suspect Nicola Sturgeon had a wee twinkle in her eye as she said this and that she was knowingly doing that thing to which we are all susceptible; of using a superlative when a more modest comparative would suffice. In a nation of professional curmudgeons, what’s the problem with a wee superlative every now and then?

My God though, the entire membership of the JK Rowling Glee Club rounded on her. What the hell was the First Minister of Scotland playing at; saying irresponsible things such as Scotland being the home of something that is the best in the world? She, of all people, should know that such loose talk might give people ideas above their station. And when folk start thinking beyond the confines of that which they have been accustomed to; well, you know … the next thing is they’ll start asking awkward questions.

This is how revolutions start.

People were even being accused of promenading over the bridge sporting Yes badges and Saltires. I’m surprised that Ruth Davidson hasn’t had anything to say about such distressing scenes. Surely she must think that “the new Queensferry Crossing has become a symbol of divisiveness in the most divided wee country in the world”?

And apparently we only “bought” the bridge and didn’t actually make it. This was a novel concept. It is perhaps the first time a right-wing newspaper has criticised a government for paying a fair price for a job well done and within budget. Imagine if that was to catch on. People paying for useful stuff that they can afford? What the hell is the Scottish Government playing at? It sets such a bad example.

The opening of the new bridge occurred just a few days after Scotland was being in the news again for having been voted the most beautiful country in the world by readers of the Rough Guide travel books. This is alarming. Soon we’ll have people boasting about it.

Typical bloody Scotland: wasting its time being naturally beautiful when there is all sorts of bad stuff going on. Don’t even dare to get carried away by all this publicity. Remember, Scotland doesn’t even belong to us. It’s not as if we made it. It all belongs to God. The Big Man’s conscience was obviously bothering Him about giving us rainy summers and so He decided to at least give us lots of beautiful scenery that looks just as grand in bad weather as in good.

Don’t think all that beauty had anything to do with you. In fact, possessing such deep reserves of natural beauty could easily lead to a nasty and divisive second referendum. So just cool your jets and watch your step. God isn’t a Scottish nationalist (though my Vatican sources tell me the Third Secret of Fatima may beg to differ).

It seems we’ve reached a point in the story of modern Scotland where to celebrate anything Scottish is a dangerous and seditious thing. The old joke about the Wee Frees and their attitude to carousing springs to mind: why do the Wee Frees not like having sex standing up? Because it might lead to dancing.

In Scotland to express joy or pride in Scottish achievement or success is a bad thing and obviously indicates support for independence.

It has also been revealed that Scots has been designated an official language. Now, I care little about whether the tongue that I sometimes deploy when I can’t be arsed adhering to the restrictions of the Queen’s English is deemed to be official or not. But it can’t do any harm. Indeed the study of it by schoolchildren who had previously been told that it was mere slang and something to be shunned “if you wanted to do well at a job interview” could increase their understanding of written and spoken English in various idioms.

Yet something about the Scots language causes some Unionist commentators to froth and quiver with rage. Why do they become so angry? Something similar occurred when The National was first published. Journalists on Unionist-supporting newspapers have been traducing it ever since. In this, they fail to see the irony of doing so from a platform provided by publications that are slavishly devoted to pro-UK propaganda. Why do they want to deprive fellow journalists of paid employment?

God forbid that Scotland actually qualify for the World Cup; that could open a real Pandora’s box of pro-Scottish fervour. As such, it might reasonably be deemed not to be in the nation’s interest at all as it might lead to dancing, or worse: “a nasty and divisive second referendum”.

There was only one aspect of the hoopla that accompanied the grand opening of the Queensferry Crossing over the Forth that annoyed me. It wasn’t those incorrigible Yes voters or people expressing pleasure that such a beautiful and magnificent structure exists in Scotland for us all to use and appreciate.

It was the bridge being cleared of the masses whose taxes paid for its construction to make way for a woman in a Daimler whose massive family have never paid for anything in their entire lives.

Thus the Queen got to see a sterile thing: a bridge bereft of the people and the vehicles which give it its purpose and who make it breathe. It summed up her family’s existence perfectly.