The National:

UNIONISTS have long rejected the term “Project Fear” being attached to their anti-independence campaigns.

But the latest warning is nothing if not scary.

Beware: if Scotland becomes independent, it will not “survive”.

That shock revelation come courtesy of this week’s episode of Jeremy Vine on Channel 5.

Panellists discussed reports that Gordon Brown has warned if Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister support for independence could surge.

Paul Burrell, Princes Diana’s former butler, says the report is “food” for Nicola Sturgeon before displaying his intimate knowledge of Scotland’s constitutional debate.

“She [Sturgeon] would love to read this this morning, that Scotland will have devolution.” The Jouker suspects the First Minister may have been made aware of that some time ago.

Burrell continues: “I think that the United Kingdom is stronger together than they are apart. I mean, for goodness sake, Scotland, by itself? How’s it going survive? It has … what does it have? … Oil, and a monster in a lake … and … whisky.”

READ: Transcript of what was said in THAT Jeremy Vine episode about Scotland

Despite his unparalleled understanding of Scotland, Burrell was humble enough to allow interjections from his fellow panellists to finish off the list of Scotland’s assets.

Glamour model Nicola McLean added Irn-Bru into the mix.

Scottish co-host Storm Huntley, who was the one to initially suggest whisky, was on hand to suggest wind power, shortbread, tartan and bagpipes.

At this point, keen to balance the argument, Vine asks a Scottish audience member if the nation can survive on its own.

“No” comes the answer – delivering a blow for pro-independence activists, who seemingly face the prospect of seeing their country disintegrate into dust if a majority of people put a tick next to the word Yes on a ballot paper.

Moving on to what is obviously the most important issue among all this, Burrell points out that Scottish independence “would hurt the Queen”.

Vine points out that the whole independence debate might not be about finances, but simply a desire to have “your country back”.

READ MORE: Amy Macdonald in furious Twitter rant at ridiculous Unionist claim

This is dismissed out of hand by panellist Carole Malone.

“The figures now for staying within the Union are higher now than they were at the time of the referendum. So no, people don’t want to leave [the UK].”

Perhaps unsurprisingly for someone who could not think of a single asset in Scotland, Malone seems to have mixed up her figures slightly.

A YouGov poll for the Times at the end of April, for instance, found 49% of voters backed independence. And a Panelbase survey published last week showed that figure jumps to 53% if the overwhelming favourite Johnson becomes PM.

READ MORE: Expert pollster: No-deal Johnson would give Scotland independence majority

Unencumbered by pesky facts, Malone moves on to reject notions that Johnson does not care about Scotland, as host Vine points out he has no recollection of the Tory leadership frontrunner ever mentioning the country.

But back to Burrell, who renews his plea to Scots.

“I wouldn’t like to see them [Scots] detached from the UK. I think they belong to the UK and that they’re better off being part of it.”

But Burrell does not even have seem to have even convinced himself that his comments would not fair well under scrutiny.

“Don’t shout at me,” he adds nervously when Vine points out Scottish viewers may have a bone to pick.

Judging by the reaction on Twitter, they certainly did.

SNP defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald said the attack had backfired.

National columnist Alistair Heather also struggled to comprehend the logic of Unionists.

He tweeted: “It boggles the mind that on the one hand they are all in favour of keeping a hold of us because it makes them "stronger", but on the other hand have no idea what goes on here, or in what way we might be a positive asset to their tiny empire.”

READ: Transcript of what was said in THAT Jeremy Vine episode about Scotland

But Actor Iain Robertson was impressed with Burrell’s credentials.

SNP MP Philippa Whitford was blown away by the anti-independence arguments.

Author JR Tomlin was similarly downbeat about Scotland’s assets.

It wasn't just Scots who were outraged.

One Twitter user said: "I'm English. I've just watched this and I can honestly say Scotland should get the f*** out of the UK and save itself because the UK has been taken over by vacuum headed idiots where this serves as a sorry example of debate. I apologise to Scotland for this utter ignorance." 

But the comments didn't end there.