By Ken Ferguson
The 100-days until the referendum landmark has been punctuated by the appearance of that creature so beloved of mainstream political scribes, the Big Beast – rather akin to Nessie at the start of the tourist season.
Like Nessie, this creature has a mythical status and, at least in the notebooks of those journalists who write what passes for political news, is rather fearsome.
Its appearance is supposedly a “game changer” as it brings tactical wisdom, vast political experience and that highly prized commodity “gravitas” to bear to forensically demolish the case of their opposition.
Thus they strike fear into puny opponents, slay their arguments St George-style and, their work done, retire to their equivalent of moated castles on the board of multinationals, think tanks or the sleepy benches of the House of Lords.
First of these creatures to break cover was the ex-socialist and incorrigible warmonger, Lord Reid of Cardowan.
One time student communist John Reid has a not very subtle line in flag waving loyalty to the British state and “British” values and is a particularly ardent fan of Her Majesty's forces.
In a manner which earned him his reputation as supposed bruiser, the former war minister shamelessly harnessed the sacrifice of the D-Day dead in service of the union.
The crude message was that those storming Hitler's Atlantic wall were better together and that somehow the fact that eventual victory over Nazism was achieved by that unity seals the case for the union.
Of course, the glaring omission from this tale is that the victory in Normandy was won by troops including those from already independent Canada and those wicked separatists from the US among others.
The point is that like much of the British bulldog stuff spouted by unionists as they oppose independence, it's pretty shallow stuff from a pretty toothless bulldog.
But star billing in the Big Beasts parade was reserved from the leader of the pack, Brontosaurus Brown, regarded as the biggest hitter of them all by some of the No camp's own separatists in the whimsically-named 'United With Labour'.
The grumpy ex-PM and Fife MP Gordon Brown offered us his wisdom not from Kirkcaldy or Cowdenbeath but from the plush surroundings of the House of Commons press gallery.
This lunch club for the political correspondents is, of course, Big Beast Brown's natural habitat as he shared his wisdom with us through the pens of the unionist press and in the columns, via a feature, of the house journal of metropolitan liberalism, The Guardian.
But rather than some flash of new insight into the debate, the tired politician offered us the same tired arguments about the attractions of the union.
His minders let it be known that Brown – still a sitting MP – was “temporarily” rejoining the frontline in a bid to save Britain.
Of course, despite his billing as a leading thinker, Brown is in fact a calculating Labour tribalist and at that level, his peroration did not disappoint.
Blaming the Tories for turning the indy debate into a Britain versus Scotland match, he neatly also framed his detested Labour rival Alistair Darling who has presided over this strategy for Better Together.
As a crowd pleasing morsel for his journalistic hosts, Brown also threw in the bone of demanding Cameron pick up the challenge of a TV debate with First Minister Salmond.
Overall, the intention beneath the smokescreen of a demand for a new Britishness is just a crude as Reid's earlier effort.
It can be summed up simply as the two aims of 'blame the Tories and Labour-rivals if No loses' and 'claim the credit for riding to the rescue if they win'.
Of course, just like the Commons' watering holes, all this is a galaxy far, far away from reality.
On planet Scotland, whichever brand of unionist comes out on top if there is No vote, cuts and austerity, nuclear weapons and war are the menu if we remain locked into a rapidly declining and creaking UK.
That's why it is vital that all those Big Beasts be put out to grass by a Yes vote which opens the way to real change, dealing with real issues, free from the rose-tinted imperial nostalgia of the can't-do unionists.
Winning the working class majority to a Yes vote has to be the left's number one priority in the remaining days and weeks to the referendum. Eyes on the prize!
Courtesy of The Scottish Socialist Voice