The National:

MORE and more, the UK Government's disastrous handling of Brexit is turning voters towards independence.

It's only thing to see that reflected in polls – it's another to witness it more directly.

And that's what happened on James O'Brien's LBC radio show this morning.

O'Brien received a call from Alan in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, a "hardcore Unionist" – the kind who refuse to call the First Minister "Nicola Sturgeon", instead referring to her as "Jimmy Krankie".

So, that set alarm bells ringing ... but as the call continued, something very interesting became clear.

(Spoiler alert: This hardcore Unionist might not be voting for the Union...)

We've picked out the key exceprts.


Alan: I’m Scottish. I’ve got an English wife, two beautiful daughters, and my worry is apart from the whole Brexit shambles, that if and when the UK does leave the EU – that little Jimmy Krankie character that’s…

James O'Brien: That’s a bit unfair, but I know who you’re referring to.

Alan: I don’t want to name her in case she sets off like the Amazon device. She’ll rear her ugly head…

James O'Brien: Oh no mate, we don’t need to do that. I suppose I was a little bit rude about Ann Widdecombe earlier in the week… I’m always a little bit uncomfortable with men criticising the way…

Alan: Sorry, sorry. She’ll rear her head and try to instigate Scottish independence again. Sadly, I really do think if she does, I genuinely feel they’re going to win this time. As a Scotsman, I voted to stay in the UK.

James O'Brien: Did you also vote to stay in the European Union?

Alan: Yes I did.

James O'Brien: I think a lot of people like you who voted for both are now feeling as if they’re going to be asked to prioritise one over the other.

Alan: It really is. It’s such a shame.


Here, they talk briefly about the Tories and Brexit more in general – before circling back to independence.


James O'Brien: What will you do – I’m interested to know what’ll you do if you ultimately…

Alan: I’ll probably… we’ve got a nice garden, I’ll get my brother’s digger and dig a hole and live in it.

James O'Brien: I meant more to do with the question of leaving this Union in order to stay in that Union. It’s a long way off, and it’s by no means a foregone conclusion, but I do think you’re right that Nicola Sturgeon – or Jimmy Krankie, as you prefer to describe her – I do think she will, if there’s a no-deal Brexit or a Brexit that’s anything like actually leaving rather than staying in but pretending we’ve left, which I think is the best-case scenario for many of us. What would you prefer, hand on heart, 10, 15 years down the line? Would you rather remain in a UK not in the EU or remain in an independent Scotland in the EU?

Alan: I would probably say… to be honest, European Union.

James O'Brien: Yeah. I haven’t heard anybody say the other. And you are quite a passionate Unionist.

Alan: Yes. Well, I was.

James O'Brien: That’s why you rang in though.

Alan: Yeah, I’m a passionate Unionist, as in, I’m Scottish, I voted to stay in the Union…

James O'Brien: But you rang in to spook us with the prospect of Scottish independence even though, if push comes to shove, you’d take that over what’s on the horizon.

Alan: I would. I really would.


Alan talks a little more about the Scottish Parliament being the "lesser evil", but the point has already been made.

This "hardcore Unionist", when faced with the choice between independence and the Tory-inflicted Brexit that's on the horizon, would vote Yes.

It's clear where the momentum lies.

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