An eerie silence has descended on the far-flung county known as ‘Cumbria’, which research shows may soon be the northern extremity of a rump United Kingdom. The people are edgy, suspicious. Violence erupts in odd little bursts – a chip-shop owner advertising ‘deep fried anything’ is publicly flogged as a sympathiser; a man is stoned for telling a Billy Connolly joke.
Thousands are fleeing to the safety of Carlisle’s walls. Others are on the hilltops, eyes scouring the horizon, preparing to light the beacons at the first sign of ‘Men in Skirts’.
Jack Bennett, a hill farmer in North Cumbria, is one of the few locals willing to speak to out-of-county folk about the building tension. ‘We’re on the front line,’ he insists. ‘We’ve removed the road signs, but unless they use Apple maps instead of Google, that won’t help much. I’ve hidden my daughters away, and armed them with a shotgun. These people are animals.
‘I just hope London sends reinforcements soon. They created this bloody mess when they armed that crazy fundamentalist Al Ex-Salmond during the ’90s.
‘I heard Berwick fell yesterday – no surprise there. If Carlisle falls they could be in Warrington by Tuesday, and that’s Ikea gone. Perhaps the lights won’t go out but we won’t have Ollsta lampshades to put over them.
‘Youngsters are bringing forward their weddings,’ Jack stifles a tear. ‘My nephew was working in Glasgow, nobody’s heard from him since yesterday evening. He didn’t even tweet what he thought of the Great British Bake Off last night. We think Nicola Sturgeon might have eaten him.’
American Special Forces are believed to be advising Cumbrians. NATO has deplored the build-up of bagpipes at the border, and has threatened to subject Scotland to the same penalties as Russia if it invades. Unfortunately, nobody knows what these are.