Alf had not intended joining the many celebrities who are urging the Scots to vote against independence.
He was confident the thorough debate now under way in the UK would result in Scotland remaining proudly British.
But something he was reading in the Daily Mail prompted a change of heart – just to make sure the good people of Scotland were not mindless to the implications of a “yes” vote for important industries like whisky-making. Or should that be an “och, aye” vote?
The news that has unnerved the Member for Eketahuna North is that Scotland will be left without any weapons to defend itself if it votes for independence and refuses to take on its share of UK debt.
Ian Davidson, the chairman of the influential Scottish affairs committee, said that Alex Salmond’s ‘cavalier’ plan to renege on Scotland’s debts if he does not get his way on the pound would ‘poison’ negotiations with the UK.
He warned that Scotland would be denied access to military equipment and could be left with ‘a navy with no ships, an air force with no planes and an army with no guns’.
This Salmond feller, the Chief Minister of Scotland or some-such, is leading the charge to independence.
And inevitably he has been under intense pressure to give details of an alternative if Westminster does not agree to share the pound.
According to Alf’s understanding,all three main UK parties have promised to veto a currency union if Scotland votes for independence on 18 September.
But Salmond seems to be about as thick as a pot of Mrs Grumble’s porridge. He is insisting that monetary union with the rest of the UK would go ahead and he is vowing not to help repay British debt if it does not.
That’s where the defence threat comes into the frame.
Yesterday, Mr Davidson warned that an independent Scotland could not expect to receive military equipment if it walks away from UK debt.
He told the Mail: ‘Any decision by a separate Scotland to repudiate its share of the National Debt will clearly have an impact upon any potential division of assets and liabilities, since the National Debt is the major liability.
‘It is difficult to imagine the UK handing over assets such as warships, aircraft and other military equipment when the Scottish share of the borrowing that has helped pay for these items is not being repaid.
‘Thus debt repudiation could result in a Scottish Navy with no ships, a Scottish Air Force with no planes and a Scottish Army with no guns.’
The Labour MP for Glasgow South West (the Daily Mail has not named him) sounded a similar warning:
‘As for defence procurement – there is little chance of orders for equipment, which will be partly funded by new borrowings, being placed in a Scotland which will not pay its share of previous debts,’ he said.
‘Thus debt repudiation will accelerate the job losses in defence industries that will follow separation.
‘Now that the First Minister is making debt repudiation one of his strategic objectives then voters in Scotland need to be aware of the consequences.’
Alf’s interest is very personal.
He has Scottish ancestors who were involved in the Battle of Flodden in 1513, the heaviest defeat ever suffered by a Scottish army with the slaughter of their King and the flower of Scottish nobility – at least ten earls, countless lords and an estimated death toll of 10,000 Scots from the Highlands and the Lowlands.
But there’s much more to Alf’s interest in the independence matter than just that.
He happens to be a great admirer of something the Scots are very good at – making whisky. He imagines some stroppy Muslims may well recognise the opportunity, if Scotland’s defences are down, to do what they are doing in Syria and Iraq. They will demand the Scots be converted to Islam – or die, unless they can get themselves up a mountain real fast and hope somebody in the West comes to their rescue.
Next bloody thing you know is that the invaders will be destroying all whisky stills, and anything else that makes booze.
Any industry dependent on pig meat will be stuffed, too.
This must not be allowed to happen. Hence Alf’s pitch for a vote against independence and the danger of Scotland being left without defences.