Alastair Osborne reports from an alternate future in an independent Scotland where the anniversary of the first moon landing is being marked quite differently from today.

Who would have thought that right here in post independence Scotland in 2025 we would be preparing for the launch of the first space tourism flight from the new Prestwick Spaceport. It will be blasting off just 56 years after Apollo 11 landed the first man on the moon.

It was back in 2014, in the final weeks of the referendum campaign, with the ‘Yes’ vote flat-lining several percentage points behind in the opinion polls, that the then First Minister, Alex Salmond, came up with his game changer announcement:

“As Scotland’s first Prime Minister, I will secure the siting of the Virgin Galactic Spaceport at Prestwick Airport. I am confident this small step for Scotland will be a giant leap for mankind. That sounds rather good, though I say somyself.”

The No side poured cold water on the idea, claiming that an independent Scotland would have no automatic entry into membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and that membership negotiations could drag on for years. 

Exactly how much this bold initiative changed opinion in Scotland will never be known, but when the referendum votes were counted a few weeks later ‘Yes’ had sneaked it by a 0.5% margin. Now, 11 years on and 6 years after Scotland eventually became independent, the optimism of these early days has drained away – with plans for a currency union finally abandoned, negotiations to gain re-entry to the European Union complicated by Brexit and talks with the remaining UK to remove Trident in deadlock.

It isn’t surprising that the new Prime Minister, Derek Mackay, is making the most of the one assertion that has become reality – early entry into the ESA and the successful siting of the new Virgin Galactic Spaceport at Prestwick.

After two years of trials the Scottish Government has announced that the first flight carrying space tourists is due this autumn. The project, with the working title ‘Wired to the Moon’, is being overseen by the Scottish Government’s space travel Tsarina, former singer Eddi Reader.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Sir Richard Branson she outlined plans for a public competition to decide who should be on that first Scottish space flight with the results of the public vote being announced live on the BBC Scotland Channel. There are rumours that among those keen to participate are the former Prime Minister, Alex Salmond; Scots Attorney General, Joanna Cherry; and former Wings over Scotland blogger, now Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, Rev Stuart Campbell.

Some commentators see the decision to allow the public to decide who will be on the flight as a very brave move as they will be taking off on a space craft whose name was also chosen by a public vote earlier this year. In that vote, Scots, with tongues firmly in cheek, voted overwhelmingly for the name ‘Hubris 1’.

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23 thoughts on “Wired to the moon

  1. A hellish sad day – Is this what Scottish Labour is reduced to on the day that Rule Brittania imploded

  2. Alastair I think the sun has got to you Dereck Mackay PM haha .
    Back in 2019 UK land Boris on day 1 as PM proved that he and Nigel are Trumps guys in UK Land .
    Day of the blonde knifes sacked most of PM Mays Cabinet which he used to be a member of.
    One outgoing minister told him she would like to have been told before she read it on twitter .
    The new Secretary of State for Scotland a source close to the Scottish leader told the press he is capable but the reason he is liked at UK Level is because he invites UK ministers to his estate .Not the kind of image we are trying to promote .
    Then the new guy does not think the effect of Brexit will be to bad .
    2 weeks ago I went to an MSPS surgery never done that before it was to find out how secure my medical is post Brexit he said never thought he would be addressing a possible medicine shortage in Scotland .
    Boris brought into cabinet people who have signed up for a no deal Brexit if needed he has put into no 10 people who ran vote leave and moved to control the civil service with a speed no one thought possible .
    This has got to and will pull Labour together and Nicola cannot now kick that Indy ref 2 can down the road
    On second thoughts beam me up Alastair haha

  3. Sorry, but this a pathetically poor attempt at humour that relies on its readers having a particularly cringeworthy opinion of their country’s worth if they are to find it funny at all. If all unionists have to offer is an interminable diet of “Scotland’s rubbish” stories then independence is inevitable.

  4. Whaaaat? Is there absolutely no editorial oversight? That is worse than something you might get from a 14 year old who has just discovered politics and creative writing. In a 2 words – miserably inadequate.

  5. Boris has put into place an English based MP an incredible decision in present circumstances at the Scottish office .
    Annabelle Goldie to defence Patrick Harvie has already attacked that .
    Might be more difficult for the SNP as she had no trouble helping Alec Salmond pass 4 budgets .
    We need to waken up Bungling Boris is no more .
    He might have said no election before October 31
    Westminster and Holyrood are both incredibly in recess . Not Boris he has hit the road Manchester today making promises telling them what they want to hear .Where is the money coming from .
    Just heard Nicola saying PM calling himself Minister for the Union is a gimmick correct .
    Ok the minister for the Union is coming to Scotland next week So how about we ask him to prove it devolve Drug policies ie the clean room and control of immigration
    Any demos being planned don’t he thrives on it ignore him .
    Interesting how many times Trump has praised his man in the UK slnce last week .
    And I don’t mean the US Ambassador I mean our minister for the union .
    BBC just said the rail link funding thrashed out in the Autumn then there is the extra funding for more police in England and Wales again where is the money coming from .
    BBC No 10 is in election mode the rest of us better pay attention and do the same.

  6. Forgot Trump said UK US trade talks underway whats on the table who is doing the talking

  7. Guys can I recommend you type in the name Walter Tull born in Folkestone father from Barbados mum local both died when Walter and his brother were boys and placed in care .
    Walter was one of the first mixed race footballers to play in England including for Spurs .
    When WW1 broke out he joined the Middlesex regiment serving in the 2 football Battalions after working his way up through the ranks he was sent for officer training to Gailes .
    He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant 30 May 1917 killed in action 23 May 1918 his men made several unsuccessful attempts to recover his body it was never found .
    He was recommended for the Military Cross it was not awarded on the grounds of race .
    The documentary I watched said numerous attempts have been made by MPS to get him his medal .
    Tonight I emailed my MP asking her to try .
    Walter suffered racialism in his life maybe we can make up for it by getting him his medal if his family don’t already have it .
    As I said type in Walter Tull the whole sad story is there .

  8. Well Boris came to Scotland watching the grand arrival at Bute House .
    That many with him including a guy in uniform they had to que to get in .
    That to me looked like a full scale negotiating team .

  9. Papers say first 25 mins of PMS meeting with FM at Bute house Monday no officials present .
    When will politicians learn minutes must be taken of the entire meeting .
    Make no mistake do not underestimate Boris bungling Boris is gone .
    He is focused on leaving the EU .No matter what he has to do..
    Then we will see the full scale of what it is like to do a trade deal with America First .
    Also out of the EU our employment and benefit laws can change .
    Over the last few days I have heard people worrying about the future of the bus pass .
    Probably because PM is here .
    I checked with my MSPS office today no plans to do that .
    With the pound crashing and the PM making all kinds of spending promises we need to get real and start asking some pointed questions .

  10. According to Nicola that first 25 mins with the PM developed into an argument that continued after the officials joined them .
    That’s the reason the PMS team moved him on and they even argued about that .
    The officials should have been in from the start .
    Where was Ian Blackford I would have thought he should have been there .
    PM in Northern Ireland dinner with the DUP I wander how much that will cost us .
    Over a billion last time

  11. Just seen Alastair Jack on Reporting Scotland all will be well after Brexit .I would like our Journalists on all occasions to remind them you represent a constituency that voted remain as did all of Scotlands MPS .
    Welsh Farmers are threatening civil disobedience Scottish Farmers not yet.

  12. 2 billion set aside for no deal planning what happened to it will be easy .Where did the money come from what budgets will be cut the pound crashing again none of this was on the ballot paper
    A body Language expert looked at film of the Bute house FM PM meeting told the National right from the way the shook hands both were looking for a fight.

  13. Scottish Forests are being bought up by wealthy investors taking advantage of tax rules they include the Church of England a charity the Vestey family Lord Rothschild Jeremy Darroch and Nicholas Ferguson from SKY the Marquess of Linthlthgow Sir Tom McKillop Sir George Mathewson both ex RBS hotel owner Julia Hands According to the Times.

  14. The Times has named some of the people who backed Boris bid for Leader
    Lakshmi Mittal Lord Bamford JCB chairman who has given Boris 97thousand personally and through his company this year .Robin Birley former UKIP Donor Rosemary Said wife of Wafic Said billionaire philanthropist and arms deal fixer and 25 thousand from the Bristol Port company .
    Since the start of this year Boris raised more than 730 thousand at least 650thousand since May 10 the candidates from June 7 were allowed to spend 150 thousand on their campaigns

  15. Len MacCLuskey Unite leader suddenly found the need to declare that if he had lived here in 14 he would have voted yes .
    But don’t panic folks Len has been converted to no by Corbyn .
    Len1 you don’t live in Scotland 2 keep your opinions to yourself and 3 concentrate on your day job running the union

    1. David l think that Trade Union leaders and the unions should be apolitical and just concentrate on getting the best for their members regardless of any and all the different political parties. I especially think that Trade Union’s should not campaign on one side or another on an up and coming Scottish Independence Referendum and just leave it up to their members to vote whatever way they want to.

  16. The Bank of England has warned has warned a no deal Brexit will mean food and petrol will become more expensive falling pound lower incomes .
    The plan to buy up unsold Lamb no where to store it .None of this was on my ballot paper.

    1. David I have an idea for the lamb maybe the government should open up some factory’s cook it and put it in tins it could be Boris’s homage to bully beef.

  17. Tesco to lay off over 4thousand Harland and Wolf in administration and a new poll showing Indy in front .UP to Nicola.

  18. Was on a bus today it has to go past a hospital some people going there were speaking about the problems with the Edinburgh sick childrens hospital and the Queen Elizabeth .
    Then I heard this Trump Boris Nigel they are in charge but I like Nigel .
    I have heard that a few times something to think about

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