Apparently there is a pernicious rumour doing the rounds to the effect that the Scots are a nation of impoverished, pissed-up yobs. At first I thought this was the type of racist slur only a bunch of dimwits like the Welsh would be capable of. But then I discovered the source of this calumny was the SNP itself!

The theory goes that if you whack 50p on a litre of Buckie, the wee Weegie schemies will eschew the demon bevvie and return en masse to their Presbyterian chapels and Mel Gibson heritage museums. Working on a similar strategy, I understand that a Government campaign pointing out the dangers of unprotected sex is currently working wonders on combating teenage pregnancy.

Now it may surprise you that notwithstanding my proud Irish heritage I am a passionate supporter of the SNP. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing the reinstatement of Hadrian's Wall and all Scots being subjected to strict quarantine regulations at Heathrow. But it occurs to me that 'Smokey' Salmond may just possibly have an ulterior motive.

We all know that North Sea oil is running out quicker than the RBS pension fund (Sir Fred Goodwin's share excepted). We also know that apart from the English taxpayer and the odd drop of 16-year-old MacFud, this is the only revenue stream north of Carlisle.

And what is alcohol duty but a tax by any other name? A quick calculation by my team of expert researchers (thank you, Kyle, you may now safely replace your earrings) shows that taxing Scotland's booze consumption by just two pence a litre would fund the entire banking rescue package in a week! Well toss my caber.

Okay, maybe that's not quite right. But unless Smokey can persuade his beloved compatriot Gordo to introduce a similar measure in South Britain, then I fear all we'd see is an increase in booze-starved Scots coming down to England. And how could THAT be a good thing?