WHEN it comes to ducking and diving, there's not a star at the World Cup who could match a politician pushing a dodgy dossier.

Who else would promote Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin as presidential bedfellows, or have the Orange Order marching to the same tune as the Pope?

Having exhausted their "too poor, too wee, too stupid" campaign against an independent Scotland, Bitter Together is frantically trolling the world for favourable celebrity soundbites to bolster their flagging ratings.

Obama and Putin, followed by US Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton, have all obliged with heavy nods towards the UK status quo, while insisting the referendum is a matter for the Scots, which is very generous of them.

Their opinions are predictable.

White House interests demand we keep the US-armed Trident on the Clyde and maintain a strong UK in Europe, while Putin is your archetypal anti-separatist as Russia licks her lips over Ukraine.

As for Pope Francis, he's worried by "all division" and warns that "the secession of a nation has to be handled with tweezers", although anyone expected to share a No platform with the likes of the uber-unionist Orange Order or the BNP may prefer a bargepole.

We have thankfully been spared presidential warnings of dire consequences should Scotland vote Yes in 92 days, but we've had to listen to plenty of others.

According to the No campaign, if Scotland votes for independence … It "will be cataclysmic in geopolitical terms", says Lord George Robertson, one-time Labour defence secretary and former Nato secretary-general.

It will threaten the future of Britain's independent nuclear deterrent (which is neither independent, see above, nor a deterrent to suicide bombers) and end the UK's guarantee of a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

It will upset NATO, erode the UK's voice there and in the G7 and G20 (and hopefully the G postcode), jeopardise the UK's EU membership, and annoy such as Spain, with independent-minded upstarts of their own.

It will rob the UK of more than eight per cent of its population and nearly 10% of its GDP and the loss of Scottish oil, whisky and renewable energy would be a threat to the UK's XXX credit rating and global influence.

It will see Scots MPs and unelected peers, poor souls, kicked out of Westminster — and if air passenger duty is devolved it will even affect employment in Newcastle. How can we be so selfish as even to contemplate upsetting so many people?

But from Moscow to Madrid, Washington to Westminster, it's all about what's best for them and their own interests. No mention or concern for what is best for Scotland.

It makes you think. If we're so vital to the health and prosperity of the UK — the stability of the free world, even! — then why have successive Westminster governments treated Scotland like something they scraped off their shoes on the way into No10?

Should Scottish voters care that independence would upset sabre-rattling Yanks?

Who outside Scotland gave a toss about the Westminster lies we were fed over our oil legacy in the 1970s, or the payback decimation of our heavy industry after the abortive 1979 devo referendum, or the effects up here of such iniquities as the Poll Tax and the bedroom tax?

In January 2012 I wrote: "Since David Cameron first poked his nose into Scotland's 2014 referendum debate he's been followed on all sides by snouts that Pinocchio would envy.

"We've had claim and counter-claim, scaremongering on a nuclear scale, downright lies, and believe me it will get worse."

It certainly has, and even nastier have been the cybernats and cybernoughts, with JK Rowling among their latest online targets.

The Harry Potter creator had the temerity to donate £1m to the No campaign. Her reward was vile abuse, most of it anonymous.

She probably was not surprised, having seen Lottery winners Chris and Colin Weir endure similar disgusting treatment after donating £5.5m to the Yes campaign.

Anyone who pops their head above the parapet is fair game for these cowards and don't for one minute imagine it will be sweetness and light after September 18.

Whatever happens, there will be some very cheesed-off trolls out there. Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, Scotland's top law officer, has threatened them with prison. Good. There is no defence for toxic abuse.

You'll have noticed, though, that many in both camps have been eager to milk its effect.

It's even suggested some abuse may have been orchestrated and this cynical old hack suspects some anonymous campaigners are attacking their own supporters and then blaming the other lot.

Police Scotland could throw some light on such dark arts.

Either way, none of this will influence how the vast majority will vote.

They care more meantime about the ducking and diving in Brazil.