I recently sat up in bed at three in the morning, covered in sweat, my mind afire with the ghastly realisation that I was in fact the reincarnation of Jamie Fleeman (1713-1778), the famous fool of Udny Castle. There was a lot of hard evidence to back my night fears.
For the last 20-odd years I have been driven by this unexplainable compunction to contact the castle every few months to write an idiotic column for their free arts newspaper, Art Work, which up until recently was printed (circa 20,000 copies) in a shed not far from the place where Fleeman lived and acted the goat.
I went downstairs to get a glass of water. What if my hero, the Dalai Lama, was right and we are all re-incarnated? So now I'm just accepting it and for the first time in 200-odd years attempting to unfurl his famous question: 'I'm the Laird of Udny's Fool, but whose fool are you?'
Whose indeed. With only days to go until we leave the European Union, the government of the country is now being run in a manner that our man Fleeman would recognise as being very much of his style. That the key question of our age should not be voted on because the speaker has unearthed some weird kind of 400-year-old grey area precedent, and hasn't bothered to tell the prime minister of his decision until the day before the vote, is truly like something out of the annals of a mythological parliament contrived by Tolkien.
But let me not dally into politics. My crystal ball is now the size of a pea. I haven't a scoobie what's going on, and anybody who claims they do is manifestly at it. What I do know about is reconciliation. And that's almost as important a subject as Brexit.
No matter what happens in the next few days we are going to be left with an incredible residue of bitterness and suspicion – both of our parliamentary masters and also those in our own domestic social circles who disagree with our own positions – and the notion that a further referendum, based on questions as yet undefined, will sort thing out is back in Jamie Fleeman's court of daftness. So let me enter his realm and take up my new role as court jester and bumbling eejit and suggest something recently contrived by the late Countess of Dundee, who died recently.
Siobhan Dundee was a woman of huge imagination who used to advocate a wonderful game for kids. It was called the upside-down day. Here's the way it worked. The kids would rise to eat a breakfast of pudding, stew and then soup. Lunch was as normal except people would be expected to speak backwards and eat under the table. You get the picture. Dinner of bacon and eggs and porridge. Anything was allowed as long as it was in reverse. She was great fun.
Once the next few weeks are over, we as a nation are going to be in for a lot of tidying up after the party. Actually there won't be any parties left in the way we have known them. Folk who have always assumed they would vote Tory or Labour for the rest of their days will be scratching their heads with their pencils in the voting booths. Ditto folk who never once considered supporting independence.
Maybe we should have a nation-wide Siobhan Dundee upside-down day. The Daily Telegraph would only be allowed to run articles advocating independence, the cancellation of Trident, that all public schools should be abolished to increase social mobility and that bright red corduroy trousers should be outlawed. The National, on the other hand, would have to run a leader suggesting that maybe building a physical and economic wall between Scotland and England wasn't necessarily the quickest way to reduce the number of food banks, and that perhaps Eigg, Ulva and Knoydart should be handed back to their previous owners to reduce their burden on the state.
Am I being idiotic? Sure – and bring it on. We are going to need more satire and plain silliness to build bridges of laughter between fanatics from all sides – if only to keep the radicals at bay. Idiotic? Possibly. I'm the Laird of Udny's fool. Whose fool are you?