A medical study in Canada has established ‘referendum sickness’ as a significant factor in the long-term political culture of Quebec, and blames the rise of Canadian pop star Bryan Adams for “creating an anglophone culture which has had a lasting and deleterious effect on Francophonism.”
The largely French-speaking province of Quebec held two referenda on possible secession from Canada, in 1980 and 1995. Both were lost by the independence campaign, the second by a tiny factor of 0.7 per cent, with two per cent of voting papers spoiled or blank. Popular support for any further vote on the question of Quebecois sovereignty has since plummeted.
“French-speaking Quebecois suffered a severe blow to their sense of identity following the second referendum result, the consequent evaporation of support for any further vote and the increasing prominence of Mr Adams’ form of gravel-throated, English-language pop-rock anthems,” said the author of the report, Professor Neil Mitchell Young. “Adams represents the triumph of Americanised English-speaking-and singing culture in the Canadian psyche, and the rise of Celine Dion has never really been the oppositional factor some predicted.”
Symptoms of ‘referendum fatigue’, or ‘binary voting disease’ in Canada have included lassitude, uncontrolled weeping and “a worrying increase in random Mountie assaults,” said Professor Young.
The relevance of the report to the prospect of a second Scottish referendum was being taken seriously at yesterday’s Scottish National Party conference in Aberdeen, where delegate Gwendoline Milford-Haven confessed she was “worried” about the rise and cultural dominance of Whitburn singer Susan Boyle, who she referred to as “representing a kind of Bryan Adams-esque cultural node, only female and from Whitburn, obviously.”
“Her refusal to sing in Downdie dialect is a matter of deep regret, as is her repeated refusal to cover Andy Stewart’s precious non-gender specific nationalist anthem Donald, Where’s Yer Troosers, despite repeated requests from Alex Salmond and Alex Neil. You can never underestimate the effect of popular music and yes, this second independence referendum must be won, or we face a future where The Proclaimers become merely gutteral, glottal footnotes in Scotland’s cultural history.”