On Burns Night, 2012, the BBC broadcast to English viewers and listeners, Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, reading poems by Robert Burns.
Few will forget the chilling threat that followed this attack. 'Ah will continue tae reid th' poems ay Rabbie Burns at ye sassenachs,' vowed a visibly crazed Mr Salmond, 'until Scootlund achieves independence. Indeed,' he added, with wild eyes bulging and voice rising to a crescendo, 'if Scootlund isnae independent within tois years, Ah will progress tae th' works ay William McGonagall!!'
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, immediately released a statement urging the English to remain calm. 'This is a serious and credible threat,' the Prime Minister concluded, 'but it is also a wake-up call for us all to expedite the work that needs to be completed before I can grant freedom to the colony.'
'There is much that must be put in place prior to Scottish independence,' confirmed Home Secretary, Theresa May. 'For example, the Scots have done a fine job in looking after English oil reserves in the North Sea. Prior to independence, however, the extent of English territorial waters will obviously need to be extended to encompass our wells.
'As with any separation,' continued Mrs May, 'there are likely to be arguments to resolve over who will take which possessions - rather like the debate about who should have the CDs after a relationship break-up. We will certainly be pushing to keep Andy Murray and the islands that produce pure malt whiskies.
'Clearly,' she added, 'strict controls on immigration into England from Scotland will need to be introduced at once. We cannot have a situation where uncontrolled numbers of foreigners with unhealthy lifestyles and incomprehensible accents are surging across our northern border. I have already requested that the UK Border Agency make certain the England/Scotland border is clearly marked and fenced to ensure that Scots cannot simply stagger or fall into England whilst intoxicated.'
'The security risk must also be considered,' warned Jonathan Evans, Director General of MI5. 'Scots must, in future, be very carefully vetted before being appointed to influential positions in England. A nightmare scenario could occur if a Scotsman became Chancellor, or even Prime Minister, and then sabotaged the English economy.'
'The question of a new Scottish monarch must be addressed,' noted Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in an uncharacteristic press conference. 'Frankly,' she told reporters, 'One will be glad to be rid of them. They have never forgiven the rightful monarchs of England for the execution of that traitor, Mary, Queen of Scots. It should all have been sorted at Culloden in 1746,' she added, sadly shaking her head.
'You know,' Her Majesty continued with nostalgia, 'One's favourite verse of the National Anthem is never sung anymore. It was added in 1745 at the time of the Jacobite rebellion.' She stood, causing the assembled media representatives to rise in the traditional gesture of respect, 'It went like this,' she said. She cleared her throat and began to sing:
'Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
May he sedition hush,
and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King . . . er . . . Queen . . . er . . . Me.'
Requests for applications for the new Monarch of Scotland have already appeared in the press. The death of Idi Amin in 2003 has robbed the competition of one of its most enthusiastic applicants, but others on the shortlist are believed to include: Sean Connery, Susan Boyle, Billy Connelly, Sheena Easton, Gordon Brown, Lulu, Jackie Stewart and Nessie.
Other, less obvious, matters must also be considered prior to Scottish independence.
'Work is certainly required to remove Scottish words from the Oxford English Dictionary,' explained John Simpson, current editor of the OED. 'Fortunately, the dictionary is currently undergoing a thoroughgoing revision and update and, in anticipation of Scottish independence, Scottish words are being removed from OED3 as they are encountered. We have just completed "H",' he confirmed, 'with the consequent deletion of "haggis" and "Hogmanay".'
'The largest practical problem in relation to Scottish independence will be the separation of the landmasses,' confirmed Professor John Ludden, Executive Director of the British Geological Survey. 'We are fortunate, however, that there is a natural joint between the two countries. During the Silurian period, about 444 million years ago, plate tectonics caused the landmass that is now Scotland to collide with the landmass that is now England. It should be possible to once again separate the two by a combination of controlled explosions along the border and by pumping water, under pressure, into the crack.'
'After the separation has taken place,' confirmed William Hague, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, 'responsibility will shift from the Home Office to my Department. We will then tow Scotland away from England. There are no specific plans about where to put it,' he admitted. 'We thought we would just leave it somewhere in the North Atlantic and let the Scots sort it out from there.
'The vacant area of sea, north of England, will, naturally, provide opportunities to accommodate other landmasses,' continued Mr Hague. 'One of Scotland's key contributions to England has been the prevention of sea erosion on England's northern border, and this will, or course, end. As a result, we plan to move the Falklands from the South Atlantic to occupy the coastal area immediately north of the Cheviot Cliffs. This will both address the erosion problem and keep Port Stanley out of the clutches of those bloody Argies.
'In addition to the obvious benefits of not constantly hearing results of Celtic and Rangers matches; restoring proper, southern accents to the English airwaves; losing RBS; avoiding Scottish bad weather moving south, and not having to watch a broadcast from Edinburg on every bloody New Year's Eve,' said Mr Hague, 'we believe that the departure of Scotland from the UK will provide many great advantages for England. If the separation is successful,' he concluded, 'and now that we have dumped Europe, we may even consider ways to dispose of those irritating Welsh.'