IT looks like love is in the air for Scotland this February.

Social media has been ablaze with love hearts and soft-focus overtures from Donald Tusk, the former European Council president who told Andrew Marr at the weekend that Scotland would be “enthusiastically welcomed back” into the EU as an independent country. This follows a barrage of love and sadness as Scottish MEPs departed Brussels last week, ripped out of Europe’s heart by Westminster against our will. “Missing EU Already” candlelit vigils across Scotland on Brexit Day sent a clear message of love back across the water.

It ain’t over till it’s over, as the song goes.

The National:

However, some advances are more welcome than others. Such as Boris Johnson’s government plan to “love bomb” Scotland with a whopping £5 million found hanging from the magic money tree in order to up the ante on a campaign of we’re-better-together-than-apart.

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And we all know how that other infamous better together idea turned out last time ...

In a hilarious but not unexpected twist, it seems we’ll be financing this disingenuous campaign ourselves, as the money comes not from the magical tree that paid for Big Ben’s virtual bongs, but from the taxpayers’ pot, of which Scotland pays its share. There’s nothing like spending less than £1 of someone’s own hard-earned money on each and every one of us to say “I love you”.

According to an article in The Sunday Times, the UK Government are rather impressed with the Scotland Is Now campaign, which promotes Scotland as a progressive and inclusive nation, welcoming new Scots to come and visit, work here and make their home here.

This joint campaign, launched back in 2018, is the result of a collaboration between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland, Scottish Development International and Universities Scotland, to showcase our nation’s assets and to put Scotland firmly on the global map.

The campaign talks of compassion, diversity, building bridges, fighting for rights and facing up to the climate crisis. It illustrates the values of a modern Scotland, ready to take its place in the world.

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So really, this is one of those “what is wrong with this picture” questions for the UK Government, as it is rather ironic that they are looking to Scotland Is Now to understand how to woo us Scots back into the less than loving embrace of the Union.

The whole point of the campaign is positivity, warmth, welcome, generosity – “our arms are open, our minds are open ... Scotland is open, Scotland is now” is the message. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Now try to imagine top Tory svengali Dominic Cummings getting his head round such notions of hospitality and belonging? It’s impossible. This malevolent maestro who conducts the Tory party in such a heavy-handed and controlling manner is not the right guy for the job. The cold and calculating Cummings philosophy is division and misdirection, hardly the stuff of romantic novels.

As for Boris Johnson, well, his track record in making people feel welcome is pretty poor.

I’d say pretty much every Muslim in the country fears retribution from the xenophobia he’s whipped up, not to mention the wider BAME community. And then there’s Jacob Rees-Mogg, Dominic Raab, Priti Patel and Michael Gove, a veritable pantomime of baddies with not a romantic lead in sight.

It’s not just this cohort who currently hold the keys to Number 10 who are the problem. Anyone remember Theresa May and her hostile environment, Windrush, Grenfell, I could go on? This new Conservatism doesn’t do positivity.

It does misinformation, it does migrant-bashing, it turns away child refugees in danger from its door, it cuts vital benefits to disabled people, takes pensions away from hard-working WASPI women, it tells EU Nationals that you’re not welcome here anymore. It doesn’t care about worker’s rights, or human rights or the rule of law.

It doesn’t care about the working poor, the rise in food bank usage and the homeless. Because there’s no love for you. If your face doesn’t fit, then be very afraid.

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So, Scotland, get yourself geared up for nausea and amusement as this year-long campaign is launched. Because we’ve all had to deal with a former special friend who didn’t know how to let go. You just need to explain that you’ve moved on, that it just didn’t work out, it’s not them, it’s us, we’re just in a different place now and we need our freedom to explore who we really are. That kind of thing. Not too cruel to be kind, but firm and resolute.

Of course, the truth is, this is exactly because of them, the UK Government, and how badly they have treated us. Because, as I’ve said before, you’d have to have been living on the moon not to have noticed the contempt in which Scotland is held by this Government, from Cameron, through May and now Johnson with the ghost of Thatcher close at their heels.

But try as they might to dissuade us, Scotland Is Now, and we’re in no mood to be gaslighted any more.

We have hope not fear on our horizon.