THIS week we saw the mask of Westminster slip to reveal the patronising, arrogant and dangerous face that has always lurked beneath.

I’m sure most will remember the swathe of promises and goodwill sent to Scotland by the British establishment in 2014. Being fed constant reminders that we were, “Better Together”, being ruled by Westminster instead of being a fully independent, sovereign country.

We were told that Scotland was a respected member of our “nation of equals”, and we were encouraged to vote against our independence.

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This was on the basis that if Scotland voted to stay within Westminster then we would be handsomely rewarded with new powers, devo to the maxiest max, and that we would “lead the UK” rather than leave it. We were reassured that it is only Westminster that could guarantee a humane and decent welfare state. We were told that only Westminster could protect the ship building industry, HMRC jobs.

We were told that only Westminster could provide the security of a pension and that only Westminster could secure our membership of the European Union.

Fast forward four years and it is clear that every promise made to Scotland by Westminster was a lie.

The reality is that so long as Scotland is ruled by Westminster, we are powerless to protect the very institutions we hold dearest – our welfare state, our industries, our pensions, etc.

This week in Parliament proved that beyond any doubt.

You could almost be forgiven for forgetting that Scotland actually voted to remain in the EU given how quickly that fact was brushed aside as irrelevant by the Conservative government. I can sympathise with the logic of the argument that Scotland voted to stay as part of the UK, and the UK voted overall to leave the EU, which therefore includes Scotland.

I disagree with that argument, but I can appreciate it. However, even with that in mind, there was no attempt whatsoever from either Labour or the Conservatives to accommodate the democratic wishes of Scotland in designing a realistic way to leave the EU. That is not the kind of respect that was promised in 2014.

The Secretary of State for Scotland promised numerous times that there would be sufficient time to allow for proper debate and scrutiny of the EU Withdrawal Bill. For months, he has stood at the despatch box and said with a straight face that Scotland’s MPs would be given the opportunity to amend the bill on behalf of our constituents.

Promise after promise was broken and the weeks dragged on and on with still no opportunity for proper debate. Whilst denying MPs the chance to scrutinise the Withdrawal Bill, the Tories decided they would also make a play for powers belonging to the Scottish Parliament.

Let me be clear – the Conservatives have never been a party that can be trusted with devolution.

The Conservatives chose to press ahead with these changes despite not delivering on any of the guarantees or promises that were made. Our Scottish Parliament voted by 93 to 30 not to consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill. The only party not to support the Scottish Government in its decision to refuse consent to Westminster was, unsurprisingly, the Conservatives.

I am used to Westminster promising the world and delivering nothing, however the thing I find most disturbing about this is that consent is not a grey area. It is not a political nuance. Consent is either freely given or it is not. In this case, the (cross-party) Scottish Parliament could not make it any clearer that consent has not been given to the bill as it stands, and yet Mundell pretends that everything is okay.

Not only did the anti-Scottish Tories defy the will of our elected Scottish Parliament, they downgraded devolution – allowing a measly 15 minutes of debate on devolved matters.

Fifteen minutes that denied any Scottish MP the opportunity to contribute to the debate as the Tory minister knowingly took up the entire time.

After being denied the opportunity to debate, denied emergency legislation by the Prime Minister and denied a genuine vote under standing orders – we were left with no option but to leave the chamber in protest after SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP was disgracefully expelled from the chamber for exercising a legitimate parliamentary tool.

I know there are those that will brand it as a “stunt” regardless. However, what was displayed by the SNP this week was genuine anger at the failure to give adequate time to debate a matter of contention between the Scottish Parliament and the Government. There was and is no intention to disrupt for the sake of doing so, but to make the Government and the Labour opposition understand that there are limits to how we will allow Scottish interests to be treated; that the number of powers to be held at Westminster and the time held there are real issues deserving adequate time for discussion and debate.

We like to think that devolution has allowed Scotland to carve its own path alongside that of Westminster. We like to think that there is a mutual respect between our nations.

We like to create all kinds of compromises regarding devolution in order to ensure its survival. For example, the Sewel Convention says that the UK Government cannot legislate without the consent of the Scottish Parliament on devolved matters – yet this week it happened before our eyes.

The reality of what it means to be ruled by Westminster is set out clearly in Section 28, subsection 7 of the Scotland Act which states: “(7) This section does not affect the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Scotland.”

Westminster is a game of maths. As I have stated previously, Scotland has 59 MPs. The city of London has 73 MPs. I appreciate that London currently has a denser population than Scotland, but the reality is that one city can comfortably outvote the second-largest country in the UK. Section 28 (7) is the bottom line for Scotland.

No matter what is devolved or promised, we will never be free from the ability of Westminster to make overriding laws for Scotland so long as we are part of this Union. We can complain, we can argue for difference, we can storm out of PMQs, but ultimately – they have more power than us because we handed it to them.

Derek Bateman, former BBC journalist rightly makes the point, where else in the world would you hear a nation say: “I love my country but don’t want it to govern itself. I much prefer it to be in a minority in another parliament where it can always be outvoted and where parties we don’t support will dictate our budget and policies.

“I don’t think my country should have independence because it really wouldn’t be able to do the job properly.”

The mantra should never again be that we are “Better Together”. The mantra should be that we are, and we deserve, better than this.