THE boss of a Scottish food bank has been reflecting on the few Christmas cards the charity has received this year, including one from the “viceroy” – aka Alister Jack.

Pro-independence New Scot Mark Frankland, who runs the First Base food bank in Dumfries, said in the “salad days” of New Labour when there was a quango for everything, they would receive lots of cards, when the civil servants responsible for them “were always furnished with a generous budget for Christmas cards – and did they ever use it!”

He said: “So we received stacks of cards and bugger all funding.”

However, amid the age of austerity, he had seen barely a card landing on the mat, and to date First Base had received a grand total of four, including one that was “very special”.

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Frankland said: “First Base received a card from the Viceroy. The Right Honourable Alister Jack MP, the Secretary of State for Scotland and our very own Colonial Master.”

The Yes supporter has drawn some historical connections that suggest the card may bring good festive tidings for the independence cause.

Frankland said all his dealings with Jack have been entirely local and productive, with their MP and his team going out of their way to help two families First Base was supporting as they were in imminent danger from the Tory hostile environment policies.

“One family was from Nigeria, one from Tunisia. Both were destitute and both faced the prospect of deportation to a fate worse than death,” he said.

The National: Scottish Secretary Alister Jack during a visit to a mobile coronavirus testing unit being run by the army in Moffat, Scottish Borders..

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“Well, Alister went out to bat for them and he saved their bacon and for that we will be forever grateful to him. But things have changed somewhat. Moved on.

“When our modern-day version of Mad King George was installed on the throne in 2019, he appointed Alister as his Viceroy to rule over the five million pesky and disruptive subjects north of Hadrian’s Wall.”

This was the context in which Jack’s card dropped on to First Base’s mat and Frankland said it got him thinking: “Imagine First Base was a wee charity in India in 1925. Let’s say in Nagpur. A small charity managed by a very public follower of Mahatma Gandhi, who was forever penning leaflets extolling the virtues of Indian Independence.

“Would the aforesaid manager have received a Christmas Card from the viceroy? Not a chance. Instead he would have been beaten black and blue and imprisoned without trial.

“But add a few years on to each scenario and the story might have been rather different. Let’s say India 1946 and Kenya 1963.

“By then, a very different picture had emerged and it was clear to every man and his dog that independence was only a matter of months away.”

Frankland said at that point the two viceroys would have been frantically sending festive cards to all and sundry, in a “desperate bid to curry a bit of favour for the future relationship between the soon-to-be ex-imperial power and it’s soon-to-be ex-subjects” – with Scotland now on this course also.

He added: “Am I reading rather too much into a single Christmas card from the viceroy?

“Probably. When all is said and done, I am a purveyor of pulp fiction so maybe you can embrace the festive spirit and give me a break.”