I never thought I'd get to the point with this blog where I'd actually sit down to 'fisk' a hostile article from TV's Richard and Judy (formerly of This Morning fame, now of I'm-not-quite-sure-what fame), but the outer circle of the anti-independence campaign throws up ever more bizarre surprises by the day. Is it because we is Jocks, Richard?
"Do you know couples whose marriage could never be described as being anywhere close to perfect, but who stay together for security, company and the sake of their children? Yup. Me too."
Oi, oi, wait for the bloody answer before 'agreeing' with me! No, Richard (for I believe it is you), I have to say I don't know anyone like that - although admittedly there was one troubled couple I can remember who probably would have stayed together, until the husband formed an irrational suspicion that he'd just caught a nasty head-cold from his partner's gerbil. That really was the final straw.
Now, then. Staying together for "company"? Assuming that isn't a euphemism for sex (and God knows how that would work), is the suggestion here that we'll regret becoming independent because there'll be no-one to have fireside chats with on a long winter's evening? Just how extreme is London's immigration policy going to be? And who exactly are "the children" in this marriage? Pitcairn and the British Antarctic Territory? I have every confidence that the penguins will get by just fine, Richard - just so long as they know that Mummy and Daddy still love them very much.
"Then there are the couples who go all the way to the wire, eyeball to eyeball until the morning of the day the judge is ready to declare they are legally sundered, entitled to go their own ways, open to new relationships, adventures and possibilities.
And then they blink and plead to be allowed to give things another go."
Is it just me, or do you get the distinct impression that Richard is either a) watching too many episodes of Home and Away these days, or b) fantasising about a chastened Alex Salmond coming to his senses and declaring that this whole referendum malarkey was just an awful, ghastly mistake? Good luck with that one, old chap...
"Does any of this remind you of another couple, still hitched today after a partnership going back years, with the ties that bind and the sentiment that seals still largely intact? Scotland and England: variously happily and unhappily married for 306 years."
Jesus. Were we really supposed to still be in a state of suspense about the destination of this tortuous analogy? OK, honestly, Richard, we get it. Can we crack on a bit now?
"Now a potential divorce date has arisen on the horizon but there is no wise judge to ponder the matter. The power to make the decision either way will be entirely one-sided. It is for Scotland to choose between continuing with the union or ending it with England meekly awaiting the outcome.
Hmm. This is rather trying to many south of the border."
Hmm indeed. Richard, do you actually understand the difference between a marriage and a hostage situation? Just checking.
"Meanwhile Alex Salmond's rosy and wonderfully vague promises this week to lead a separated Scotland to the broad sunlit uplands of better pensions, childcare and a nuclear-free nirvana of independence and liberation didn't half sound good on the face of it."
Wonderfully vague? 670 pages of vagueness? Actually, come to think of it, I'm not sure how much more 'vagueness' the printers could have stood. Is there a bookshelf in the known universe that wouldn't have collapsed under the strain of any more 'vagueness'?
By the way, Richard, I believe there are quite a few nuclear-free countries out there, some not too far away. Honestly. They aren't all in Narnia.
"What will happen to the BBC? Britain as we know it will have ceased to exist. Will the BBC become the EWNIBC: English, Welsh and Northern Ireland Broadcasting Corporation?"
Calm yourself, Richard, calm yourself. I haven't seen you in such a state since that disastrous interview with Bill Clinton. I strongly suspect it'll still be called the BBC, in much the same way that Blake's 7 was still called Blake's 7 after Blake left and there was no longer seven of them. People tend to favour continuity of brand names over purist pedantry. But on Planet Madeley, Blake's alter ego Gareth Thomas would probably have been locked in a TV studio for two years with no means of escape, just to be on the safe side.
For pity's sake, people, don't let these crazy separatists put the conciseness of the BBC's name at risk. THEY JUST CAN'T GUARANTEE THERE WON'T BE TOO MANY LETTERS!
"What about the licence fee? It seems people living north of the border would stop paying it."
Well, we probably wouldn't pay the licence fee for another country's broadcasting service. But we might just pay a licence fee for our own country's broadcasting service. Crazy idea, but it might just work.
"Would our diplomatic service stop representing Scotland?"
"They'd have to, wouldn't they?"
Yes, Richard, they would, yes.
"What would Mr Salmond do then? Set up his own embassies around the world?"
You know what, I think he probably would, yes.
"Who'd pay? Not us."
You're getting it, my man.
"It goes on and on and on."
You certainly do.
"On a scale of one to 100, think of the messiest divorce you've ever heard of.
Then times it by 10. And you know what? If it comes to it, it'll be even worse than that."
On a scale of one to 1000, think of the least self-aware man you've ever met.
Now multiply that number by a googol (that's 1 followed by one hundred zeroes).
Now imagine your new number has been married to luckless Judy Finnigan since 1986.
And guess what? You're still not even close to how lacking in self-awareness Richard Madeley is. He thinks he's a political analyst, you know.