DAVID Lidington thinks that the devolution settlement is a threat to the continuing existence of the UK. And all over Scotland, independence supporters were saying to themselves, “Meh. I’m fine with that.” David is the Conservative Cabinet minister for slapping down uppity Celtic types in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. That’s Celtic with a k sound, and not the fitba team, in case you were wondering.

You could also spell it Keltyck, which is a whole lot more mystick, and that would be appropriate because our nations have magical powers to bring about the end of the Tories’ fantasy of a hard Brexit. It’s a druid thing, like in Asterix the Gaul, with the Scottish Government in the role of Realistix.

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On Monday David was delivering a speech, which is what Conservative politicians call a patronising dismissal, to bored workers in a factory in North Wales. The purpose of the patronising dismissal was to lay the ground for making sure that it’s the Scottish and Welsh governments which get the blame for the constitutional crisis that will erupt when Cardiff and Edinburgh reject the EU exit bill. Holyrood and Cardiff Bay have both stated that they’re unable to accept the bill as it stands, because even with the recent small concessions from a Conservative government which is as trustworthy as an email from a Nigerian prince with a guarantee of millions of dollars, the Brexit bill still represents a fundamental undermining of the principles of the devolution settlement.

Despite the rumours of major concessions, Theresa May’s government still insists that it’s going to decide all by itself which of the devolved powers currently exercised by Brussels will be permitted to Edinburgh or Cardiff after Brexit. That alters the very basis of the devolution settlement, a basis which during the independence referendum campaign the Conservatives and their Better Together allies promised was going to be enshrined in law.

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Scotland was told in 2014 that no changes would be made to the powers of the Scottish Parliament without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament, and here comes David Lidington and the Tories proposing changes to the powers of the Scottish Parliament without its consent.

David’s speech was aimed at ensuring it was the Scottish and Welsh governments which get the blame for the ensuing debacle. They’re just refusing his compromise out of spite, and there was him being reasonable for a change.

The great compromise was that the Conservatives say that they’re not going to blag all these powers, just some of them, and swore blind, pixie promise, that they’d only make use of the devolved powers for a short time, and then they’d give them straight back. Honest. The Conservatives are totally principled and honourable. They upheld all the commitments they made to Scotland in the Vow didn’t they? Oh. Right. Maybe that’s a bad example. Naturally the Scottish and Welsh governments have reacted to this proposal with a certain lack of enthusiasm.

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David’s got the hump about this. It’s terribly unfair of the Scots and Welsh to pour a bucket of cold Irish sea water on Conservative fantasising and self-interest. He supported remain during the EU referendum but now he’s got behind Brexit because his job depends on it, and it’s jolly unreasonable of the Scottish Government to keep on opposing it just because the evidence still says it’s going to be a disaster. However his outrage is less than convincing.

It’s a bit like a burglar being upset with their victims for not accepting the generous offer of only stealing the jewellery and the credit cards, but leaving the householders with that juicer thing that lives in a cupboard under the kitchen sink, a broken exercise bike, and a TV set that can only receive the BBC.

If the Scots and Welsh refuse to sign up to David’s perfectly reasonable and conciliatory offer of only partial burglary instead of the full scale house clearance, then he’ll just legislate to do it anyway. You’ll have had your devolution Scotland. Hello constitutional crisis.

Meanwhile, writing in Holyrood magazine, Theresa May argued that there was far greater common ground between her government and the Scottish government than most people realised. For example her cabinet also believes that David Mundell is a waste of space, which is why they didn’t bother inviting him to the Brexit away-day. She was insistent that she’d not been ignoring Scotland and Wales during the Brexit process, and claimed that the Scottish and Welsh governments had had an influence on her thinking. For example she had personally intervened to ensure that during negotiations with Michel Barnier that Welsh rarebit and bridies would be on the snack menu.

Theresa May makes sacrifices for Scotland which she doesn’t get the credit for. She had even sat through David Mundell speaking about something for a whole three minutes without making it obvious that her eyes were glazing over because she was daydreaming about a walking holiday in Switzerland, where she doesn’t have to be bothered by swivel eyed Brexiteers as it’s safely foreign and outside the EU.

The Scottish Government should be far more appreciative of her efforts, as after all expecting anyone to allow Ross Thomson to impinge on their consciousness for longer than 10 seconds counts as a major concession.

The Conservatives are using Brexit as an excuse to weaken the devolved administrations and undermine the devolution settlement.

They don’t care that devolution only exists because it was chosen by the people of Scotland and Wales in democratic referendums. They don’t care that they themselves promised Scotland that they would strengthen and entrench the devolution settlement if Scotland voted No to independence in 2014. The Conservatives are the ones responsible for the looming constitutional crisis. The Tories can have their hard Brexit, or they can have the Union. They can’t have both. They are destroying the Union that they claim to hold dear, because if the British government doesn’t feel it needs to respect the results of the 1997 and 2014 referendums, then they themselves have provided the justification for another Scottish independence referendum.