ONE of the most entertaining sideshows of the 2014 referendum was watching assorted Unionist interests competing with each other to paint post-independence Scotland in the worst possible light.

The great 15th-century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch gained fame and notoriety for some of his depictions of Hell with which he used to scare the bejesus out of pre-Reformation Europe.

These, though, were like the cuddly works of Beryl Cook compared with the apocalyptic visions of post-indy Scotland with which the ultra-Unionists kept us all entertained.

Towards the end of that long and unforgettable campaign they whipped themselves into something of a frenzy so that their predictions became a sort of pornography.

All sorts of nightmares awaited the Scottish people in a post-independence Scotland: we would all be reverting back to a cave-dwelling existence as the supermarket shelves were emptied of food and Scotland was shunned by the international community for failing to pay its bills.

Packs of feral Scottish Nationalists would soon be roaming the streets seeking out English people to try in their kangaroo courts. The cost of a barrel of North Sea oil would sink to -1.50 per barrel meaning that Scotland faced a huge bill just for the trouble of producing the stuff. Alex Salmond would take us into ruinous alliances with North Korea and Iraq and the US would include us in their fabled axis of evil.

In the run-up to the next independence referendum and in a spirit of détente with my Unionist chums I’d like to get my own dystopian vision in early to save them from having to do all that wailing and gnashing of teeth when the balloon goes up. My novel would be called simply Hell Caledonia. My preface would set the scene for the nightmare to follow:

“It took only a few days for what had passed for law and order to unravel as the Nationalist hordes celebrated like it was 1999 not to mention 1989 and 1979. Alex Salmond had wasted little time installing himself as dictator and suspending free elections “until the country sorts itself out”.

Then followed the “Great Purge” as Salmond and his Caledonian Junta ordered that the first born of all those who voted No during the independence referendum be seized and forced into re-education camps.

There then followed a series of edicts, each one more draconian than the last. Obviously, Scotland would have to sort out its population problem as it had become apparent that there were simply too many of us living in this small country. How could we be expected to thrive and punch above our weight on the global stage when there were so many mouths to feed? Thus there would be no concupiscence between the hours of midnight and 2300 hours the next day and a vast apparatus of informers would assist the secret police in pointing out miscreants breaking the shagging curfew.

It had also become accepted during the referendum campaign that having so much oil and gas was a bad thing. Thus, wrecking crews were despatched all over the North Sea with instructions to wreck the oil rigs which had become wretched emblems of pain and misfortune.

It was also becoming clear that large parts of Scotland had simply become too bloody beautiful for their own good. Soon prohibitive tollbooths were being installed at all the known gateways to the Scottish Highlands such as Falkirk, the Baillieston traffic lights and the East Kilbride interchange.

If people wanted to avail themselves of looking at Scotland’s beauty then they would need to pay for it.

Also, there were simply too many overseas visitors flocking to Scotland and this was having a concomitant effect on the nation’s hard-pressed B&B sector which was struggling to cope with feeding them all between midday and 2pm (and not a minute over). Vile nationalist propaganda had depicted tourists as another good thing but they were all jouking up thon Munros and costing the country millions in mountain rescues.

Salmond had also instigated a brutal crackdown on all forms of dissent. He created a sinister special police force with unlimited powers of stop and search backed up by a corrupt network of People’s Courts and re-inforced by a nasty judiciary made up of any Yes activists who owned a suit or looked good in a wig. The Vile Cybernats (copyright: Her Majesty’s Daily Mail) were issued with black military-style uniforms and given a set of wide-ranging powers which included putting miscreants in specially designed stocks on the edge of towns and villages where locals would be ordered to throw rotten fruit at them. They would be led by the notorious Nationalist politician Pete Wishart before his regrettable snowflake period.

Not long afterwards Salmond declared war on England and rounded up all 400,000 English citizens living in Scotland as enemies of the state. They were sent to work-camps in places like the Perthshire hills where many vanished and were never seen again. Salmond then issued an ultimatum to all Scots living in England to return to the Motherland within a year or risk the consequences. He then began using his close ties to the Kremlin by hiring Russian agents brandishing needles to start threatening ex-pat refuseniks with a late night knock at the door.

England, of course, refused to take such Scottish belligerence lying down and, in retaliation, withdrew all access to Coronation Street and the Uefa Champions League. In a wicked masterstroke BBC bosses in England devised a special Scottish edition of Question Time which ran for fully three hours. They also developed a special jamming system which allowed them to pipe the speeches of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson in a loop into unsuspecting Scottish homes.

The Great Dictator Salmond also started to broadcast a weekly televised interview made by his own production company. This featured Salmond interviewing assorted friends in the Kremlin as well as senior figures in other rogue nations like Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Burkina Faso and featured music by his favourite artists like Runrig, Capercaillie and Sydney Devine. Every Scottish household was required to tune in and special high-tech television vans toured the housing estates of Scotland winkling out any rebels or pirate stations.

Within six months most of the royal family had been captured on their favourite hunting estates or frequenting their favourite massage parlours. They were held hostage in the event of England doing anything stupid. This was the vision of Hell that greeted Scots as the reality of their decision to vote Yes began to bite.

Thus the ancient prophesy contained in the Book of the Apocalypse and in the lyrics of Johnny Cash was fulfilled. “I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Salmond, and Hell followed with him.”