What price patriotism? Well, if you judge by the reports on the coming Scottish independence referendum, the price will be the pound in your average Scot's pocket. If s/he thinks that independence will be financially good for Scotland, it'll be thumbs-up; if independence means less money, it's thumbs-down. Maybe it's as well they didn't tell William Wallace that before he was hanged, drawn and quartered.
But since that's said to be the deciding factor here as well ("I get better social benefits in the UK, that's why I'm a unionist"), maybe it's time we got serious about it. With the south of Ireland now an economic basket-case, the prospect of political union with it brings out the average unionist in hives.
Only whoa a minute. A recent report from Failte Ireland shows that the average golf visitor to Ireland is worth three times as much to the economy as an ordinary tourist. What's more, 84% of British golfers thought they got "fairly good" to "very good" value for money on their visit, and even more European golfers felt likewise. And the Yanks were in No 1 spot, in terms of overall satisfaction with their Irish golf trips.
So now - the ball, so to say, is in our court. Put all the unemployed, north and south, to work until they have transformed Ireland's green and pleasant land into a zillion greens and fairways. When we've golf courses coast to coast, the tourist money will refloat all our submerged boats. And since Ma'am did so well last time out and brought so many tourists to Ireland in her wake (she did, didn't she?), let's put a few spare billion her way, on the understanding that she takes up golf immediately, even if it doesn't involve killing animals; then invite her back on a golfing spree. Once they see her at it, can you imagine how many golf tourists will be gagging to follow suit?
Write it now and put it above the mantelpiece: "It's the economy, stupid patriot."