I WAS tempted to share a screen grab on Twitter yesterday morning. It was during Carol’s weather report on BBC Breakfast. I like watching Carol do the forecast because even when the weather’s mince her big smile and gentle banter with Naga and Charlie take your mind off it for a minute or two.

Yesterday, Carol told us that the day’s weather in the north of Scotland would be glorious and, just to underpin her sunny forecast, a gorgeous photograph appeared behind her sent in by one of the BBC’s “weather-watchers” who went by the pleasingly Highland name of Iolaire. It was a classic of its kind: one of those places where the hills stoop gently before giving way to the sea and framed by a cloudless sky.

Where was this earthly paradise? Was it near somewhere we know? The caption simply read: “Highlands, Monday”. Once more, the BBC there showing an impressive level of detail in its knowledge of Scotland. The Highlands: it’s up there above Glasgow.

But you resist the temptation to share it because, well … you know what it’s like. You post the picture and with it a wee smartarse comment and then spend the next hour or so furtively checking to see if it gets a sufficient number of likes to have made it worthwhile, without actually knowing quite what a “sufficient” number is but knowing what it’s not.

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And then more often than not someone responds with an even smarter comment and sometimes one of those gifs, a word you don’t even understand; far less how to even find them and choose the right one … in about 10 seconds flat. Of course, like all self-obsessed media types, you pretend haughtily not to care about such trifles and to be above it all. Aye right.

And then you reproach yourself for even getting snippy about this at all. I mean it’s only a bloody caption, for heaven’s sake. It’s not exactly a metaphor signifying the ignorance of the Union’s chief agents about Scotland and Scottish stuff.

So, you catch a grip; tell yourself to behave and just concentrate on the isobars and the weather fronts, knowing all the while it won’t make the slightest difference to your day because the weather never changes inside the pub where you plan to watch the Euros for most of it.

The National:

And then you get the papers and there’s the Queen and her grandson, William, pictured at the Irn-Bru factory in Cumbernauld. Her Majesty is on a four-day visit to Scotland and William’s accompanying her, even though it’s just a few weeks after his last visit here. That one where he met Gordon Brown amid unsourced briefings to the usual outlets that the Windsors had been conscripted to the cause of Saving the Union.

This in itself didn’t immediately strike you as odd. The Queen is usually to be found in one of her Scottish palaces at this time of the year where she performs the odd ritual sanctifying the Union, like decapitating an animal of some sort and exfoliating with its blood, or receiving some be-kilted, civic womble into the Ancient Order of the Garden Shears and the Colourfully-Embroidered Apron. Occasionally, she meets riff-raff like me as she did 20-odd years ago when she opened the old Herald offices. I can attest to the fact that she seems a decent wee soul with a heart of gold and a twinkle in her eye.

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Yet, the concept of “ancient” here is being stretched somewhat because anything to do with the Windsors only extends back about 300 years. That was when her ancestors were plucked from among the ranks of the minor German aristocracy to preserve religious purity. Not even the family name of this chocolate-box dynasty is real. Yet some people at Westminster, presumably on the advice of Gordon Brown, think that this dysfunctional family could be the make-or-break difference between preservation and severance.

THEY could even be right. Since it was reported that the royals will be lending their weight to Better Together, at least one poll indicates that most of us want to keep the Queen as Scotland’s head of state. But would the Queen, an arch-operator who could run rings round the diplomatic corps of Washington, Brussels and Moscow, really be happy to be manipulated by Boris Johnson’s Covid kleptocracy?

The answer would appear to be “yes”. Why else would she be inspecting the Irn-Bru workers and their product? And you have to give her credit for not allowing a drop of this robust Scottish elixir to pass her lips. You don’t get to reach 95 by imbibing Mr Barr’s amber liquid.

It seems those in charge of strategy for saving the Union really do think we’re all easily bought. The discussions around her itinerary must have been entertaining.

“So, ma’am: you’ll be visiting the Irn-Bru factory. Ordinary Scottish people drink gallons of it every week and often take it with their porridge.”

“Do they really? It’s such an odd colour.”

“Well, it matches the colour of their hair and blends easily into the rusty Highland landscape. It means that when they’re roaming the glens hunting for their supper they can drink it without being noticed.”

“Do I have to drink it?”

“No, but it might be advisable because your next port of call is at a haggis factory and, as everyone knows, one of the main reasons why all Scots drink Irn-Bru is to put a lining in their stomach before they consume their Haggis Suppers which is their traditional lunch when they’re down the mines or in their foundries.”

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“Will I get to visit a Scottish haberdasher’s or boutique?”

“Certainly, ma’am. You’ll be visiting a kilt-factory in Edinburgh where they also make tartan shawls for the women for when they’re curing the seaweed and making creel baskets for their men-folk.”

“Do I need to do this every time I visit Scotland now?”

“Just for a few more years, ma’am. But we’ll try to have variety. Around Christmas you’ll be visiting a bagpipe manufacturer and then dispensing alms to the poor in their Highland cottages on Christmas Eve. It will be indispensable in strengthening the deep, emotional bonds that unite all the remote and far-flung peoples of your united kingdom.”