April Fools Day: Jokes target Scottish independence

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The Scottish independence referendum has not been a barrel of laughs so far and most people would say the future of Scotland is not something to joke about.

However, the tradition of the April Fool newspaper spoof is a long, if not especially honourable, one.

This year the prospect of an independent Scotland has got the papers in impish mood. Here are five examples.......

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1. Daily Telegraph
Salmond coin

The Daily Telegraph claims there are plans for First Minister Alex Salmond's head to feature on Scottish pound coins, replacing the Queen in an independent Scotland.

For lovers of the anagram, the story is bylined Flora Poli.

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2. The Guardian
Guardian April Fool

Over at the Guardian, there is a story saying that Scotland is to switch to driving on the right if independence is given the green light.

The paper's elaborate hoax claims there are ambitious plans to scrap the current - English inspired - road signage system.

"M for motorway will be replaced with a new S - for Scotland and the A trunk roads will become N roads - for Nationalist in honour of the new country," it says.

The new font to be used on the signs will be a specially-developed typeface named Proclaimer, it says.

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3. The Independent
Independent front page

The Independent has a story claiming "Peacekeeping plans are being drawn up by United Nations in the event of a Scottish Yes vote".

Senior UN officials in New York and Geneva are understood to have begun exploring a "last resort" intervention following the refusal of the main Westminster parties to share the pound with an independent Scotland.

The paper claims one scenario being taken seriously is pre-arranged "face-offs", modelled on the film Braveheart, between rival militias who it is feared could travel to towns such as Gretna Green and Berwick-upon-Tweed for weekend showdowns.

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4. The Daily Mail
Daily Mail front page

The Daily Mail says it has snapped a ministerial aide accidentally revealing the design for a "Scot-free Union Jack", minus the blue of the saltire. It quotes "Avril McTickle" complaining that there's "no constitutional need to change the flag".

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5. The Times

The Times suggests that the Duke of Saxony - a German descended from the Stuart kings - sees the prospect of Scottish independence as a chance to claim the throne of Scotland.

The clue, however, lies in quotes attributed to an academic Amadan Giblean, whose name is a Gaelic translation of April Fool.

Asked about April fool's jokes on Scottish independence, a UK government source said newspapers were "just having a bit of fun."

A SNP spokesperson said: "Every day is April Fools day for the No campaign, people in Scotland have seen through their daft claims most recently on the pound."

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