After Monday’s ambush of our not at all unelected Prime Minister by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and her assertion that she would push for her country to have another referendum on independence, the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate was apoplectic: the scorn, sneering, ridicule and abuse rained down on the Scots for having the effrontery to interrupt the majestic progress of the Empress Theresa.
Allison Pearson - far less pleasant than she looks
But in some parts of the media, the realisation began to dawn that the prospect of Scots being given another opportunity to say farewell to the Union that has endured for more than 300 years was a very real one: as the BBC’s Scotland editor Sarah Smith pointed out, Ms Sturgeon may not have a majority at Holyrood, but the independence referendum proposal will probably be backed by the Greens, which would see it passed.
And after it was suggested by LBC host James O’Brien that the arguments being deployed against Scotland going it alone bore a suspicious resemblance to the arguments formerly deployed by the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU - which many of those opposed to Scottish independence vehemently opposed - the search was on to find new ways to tell those ghastly provincials they were making a terrible mistake.
Sadly, one pundit not getting that memo was Allison Pearson, one of those still remaining on the deck of the SS Titanic Telegraph, who followed up her Twitter research fail - “Alex Salmond: ‘it's clear as day’ there's a case for a 2nd independence referendum. When you swore it was a once in a generation event” (he said “opportunity”, not “event”, and stressed this was his opinion) - with an article dripping with hatred.
As the Tel, in its continuing desperation to monetise the paper’s increasingly piss-poor content, has secreted the finer details, such as they be, of Ms Pearson’s latest rant behind a paywall, we are spared that further horror, but the headline was bad enough: “Nicola Sturgeon is a liar and a traitor - off with her head!” But not only was Ms Pearson not Elizabeth The First, and the Telegraph not the law of the land, there was also the thought that incitement against politicians might not be a terribly good idea.
After all, it is less than a year since the murder of Jo Cox. And although Ms Pearson may not be able to get her head round such niceties, someone at the Tel clearly could: before too long, and managing to retain the same time stamp as the original, the headline was changed to “Nicola Sturgeon - another treacherous Queen of Scots - has miscalculated”.
But the abuse was in the same ballpark - after all, Mary Queen of Scots was executed on the order of the first Elizabeth. And the suggestion that Scotland’s First Minister was some kind of self-appointed monarch is another lazy insult with zero basis in fact - so rather like all the other Scots-bashing lazy insults, then. Moreover, the change in headline has had little effect, as the original has been preserved for posterity.
Allison Pearson is the absolute pits. But then, so is the increasingly desperate Telegraph. There are few other alliances where the partners are so clearly made for one another.