TO EVERYONE'S amazement the SNP is threatening not to vote for Article 50 to be declared, to prevent Scotland being "dragged out of the EU" against our will. 62% voted to Remain in Scotland. Bristol managed 62% too and Cambridge a whopping 74% - while Liverpool managed 58% backing remain. Let's not mention London or Edinburgh...
We now have a democratic crisis of sorts. No, not the UK but here in Scotland. There can be no real doubt that the SNP politicians like democracy when it suits them and hate it when it doesn't. This does NOT make them ambivalent towards it; it makes them profoundly antidemocratic.
Add this to a vitriolic hatred of the UK and a commitment to make sure it does not succeed, no matter how it tries, and you have a real enemy of the Scottish people. There is no point now pretending we can work with them. They cannot work with us, as they are committed to destroying us.
So what shall we do with the SNP? I've already written that Scottish nationalism is something we are stuck with as part of our psyche, our opposition against the establishment. We should indeed welcome its role in debate. We should not, however, conflate that with an antidemocratic, grudge-fuelled power cult. We should stop confusing the two.
Given there is nothing positive they can offer the United Kingdom it is time to formally shun them and boycott them. Ignore their whining and demands for more powers to Holyrood as it has only ever resulted in, at best, a reverse buyer's remorse where they get nastier and more embittered the more they win. At worst it nurtures this absurd idea of a federal UK that was last attempted for Dublin and utterly failed; triggering a century of a nation divided in strife and lost potential we can scarcely calculate.
A federal UK requires something pretty damn obvious to anyone: that everyone in it wants it to work. The idea the SNP wants the UK to work and will somehow settle down once it gets its hands on more money, more power to control and bully the press and command the police is risible. If the UK were now federal, Brexit would very easily be vetoed. We saw a similar move in Belgium to derail CETA, for better or worse, because of a few municipalities, and these were Europhile and not in anyway anti-Belgian!
You cannot beat a fire to death with sticks for long before the sticks too catch fire and Unionists have spent 20 years beating Scottish independence with only sore and muddy hands for reward.
It is time we took the lesson from Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby and stop beating at a problem that will only become worse the more we beat it. Yes we can simply ignore them. They won't change their behaviour whether we give them an inch or a mile or nothing at all, so why give them anything?
They demand...no, they insist...nah, boring. They petition...oh, yawn. They will vote against... go ahead, knock yourselves out guys. The only currency they still have is the belief by some that constant pressure on Westminster will give us more. Take that away and their support shatters and people again have to consider biting their tongues or biting their lip and choosing between Tory and Labour in Westminster.
The time for pretending the SNP are steering the agenda really has come to an end. They have lost two referenda now and rejected both results as a matter of inconvenience. If they can shun us then we can and should shun them.
It is time to finally treat them as the bitter sore losers they are, who have already made up their minds and will spend a maddening eternity simply doing the opposite of everyone else like a clan of fools in some Lewis Carroll novel.
There are times when we have to learn to let things go. We are not going to convince more than a credible majority of Scots that the UK is their home and in a democracy quite frankly we don't have to. We can represent without praise and rule without unanamity. That is the beauty of a unitary state and for the purposes of our overseas relations that is just what we are going to carry on being.
Let's just get on with it now.