IT’S one thing when Davie Cameron sells you a pig in a poke, after all he’s the Prime Minister who infamously poked a pig, allegedly. But it’s something else entirely when the pig you’re being sold turns out to be inedible rancid bacon that is unfit for porcine purpose. That’s the Scotland Bill, which drooled its way through Westminster this week like a year-old slice of ham oozing its way down to the bottom of a bin where it could rest with the Tory and Labour recovery that’s always about to happen.

The Scotland Bill is hailed by Westminions as Westminster’s response to the independence referendum. That’s the referendum that they feel the need to keep reminding everyone that they won because they can feel their victory slipping out of their grasp. The Bill was never intended as a definitive and final response to the demands of the people of Scotland for increased powers for the Scottish Parliament, it was meant as the minimum that could appease enough of the people of Scotland to ensure that independence remains the preferred option of a minority of Scots. At least for the time being. The time being being defined as Davie Cameron’s period in office because then he won’t go into the history books as the Prime Minister who broke the Union as well as being the one who was forced to deny over-familiarity with a dead pig.

However whether or not Davie has buggered off out of office when the Union falls apart, he won’t escape responsibility for being the Prime Minister who was in charge when the Unionist parties undercut the foundations of the very Union they claim to support. Fixated on the referendum result, they overlooked the two-part message from the Scottish electorate. The referendum was the Union being given a last chance, the General Election was a reminder that Scotland expects her demands to be met. But all you could hear from the Westminster chamber this week was the here-here bray of a Tory posho who’s not listening and the Labour donkeys doing his dirty work.

Every time you think that Labour can’t stoop any lower, that they’ve already broken through the bottom of the barrel in the basement and are now somewhere down in the bedrock with the dinosaurs, the party breaks the laws of physics again. They go lower than a limbo dancer who’s had an argument with a road roller, they break the Joyce Barrier – going so low that Eric Joyce could lecture them from the moral high ground. After spending the past fortnight demanding that the Scottish Government do something to protect the low paid in Scotland from the Tory cut to tax credits, the Labour party went and voted with the Tories to prevent the devolution of tax credits to the Scottish Parliament.

It was an astonishing act of political self-harm, more hypocritical than Tony Blair at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony making like he mourned the deaths he’s responsible for. The Tories were going to vote down allowing Scotland any real power to protect itself from Tory cuts. Labour could have done its usual abstention act, and washed its hands and wept false tears and tried to pretend that abstention was better than a cure. Labour’s only a latent opposition party, only latent isn’t better than never.

If Labour had abstained Kezia could have gone on the telly and claimed that Labour was trying to defend the low paid and blamed it on the Tories but you know, more importantly, SNPbad. Now she needs to explain to the people of Scotland why Labour thinks it’s more important that the Scottish Government should find the funding for a bandage for the low paid, but her party voted alongside the Tories to allow Westminster to chop their legs off, and why it is that Labour voted for the legs to be cut off. Thankfully for Kezia, our largely Unionist media doesn’t believe in asking her difficult questions, by which is meant any question which can’t be answered by saying SNPbad. Although that’s never stopped her before. Only in the Unionist media there is nothing but the sound of silence when it comes to the Scotland Bill, a sure sign that they know it’s rubbish and that if the proceedings in Westminster this week were advertised to the people of Scotland we’d be demanding independence by Friday.

The choice facing Labour was between devolving tax credits and avoiding the Tory cuts entirely, or not devolving them and then trying to mitigate the cuts by complicated and expensive means which might not even have the desired effect. The FundillyMundell pointedly refused to answer a direct question on whether his government would classify tax credit top-ups from the Scottish as income, and claw them back by reducing other benefits or by treating it as taxable. That’s pretty much a guarantee that that’s precisely what they intend to do. So the Scottish block grant gets cut, the low paid have their tax credits cut, the Scottish Government tries to make up the difference by cutting other services or raising tax, then Westminster claws the top-up back, sucking even more cash from Scotland that it can use to give tax breaks to the companies that won’t pay their workers living wages in the first place.

THE tax credits debacle is the Scotland Bill in miniature. Scotland gets nothing useful from the process, just tax powers that are deliberately framed so they affect punters on low and middle incomes. Taxes on the rich and on big companies remain the preserve of Westminster. Scotland can raise taxes on low and medium earners in order to soften the worst of the Tory cuts, but can’t raise taxes on the rich and the big companies who benefit most from those Tory cuts.

And that’s just fine with a Labour party that is so terrified of devolution that it can’t even bring itself to devolve powers over abortion to a parliament where the three main parties are led by women. Labour prefers the power to remain with a parliament whose representatives have such a deep understanding of women’s reproductive rights that they think tampons are a luxury.

It was reported this week that the Queen said there are “more Scots” in Westminster after 56 SNP MPs were returned to Parliament. Labour’s Scots were quiet and meek and did their best not to be noticed. That’s Scotland’s place in the Union, quiet and timid and don’t raise your voice. They’re the party of cereal eaters. But Labour’s timidity and fear of the power of the Scottish people killed it this week, and together with the Tories they killed the Union too.