ANOTHER week, another decisive vote on Brexit in the House of Commons. Is it possible to have a decisive vote that doesn’t actually decide anything? It’s become a modern philosophical question, on a par with if a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound if there is no one there to hear it? Although, if a tree fell and pole-axed the Brexit process, you’d be deafened by the cheering from Scotland.

Even those of us who have been paying attention and are managing, just about, to refrain from banging our heads against a wall at the sheer pointless frustration of it all have lost count of the number of decisive votes that the House of Commons has held on Brexit and still there’s no decision on anything, except the general uselessness of British politics. Which is a start.

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It is theoretically possible that Theresa May will manage to get her deal through the Commons tonight. However, it is also theoretically possible that David Mundell will resign on a point of principle – that doesn’t mean it’s at all likely to happen. Mind you, there is, lost somewhere among the infinite number of universes that make up the multiverse, one universe in which a version of David Mundell found that he had enough of a principle upon which to resign.

Admittedly, that was in a universe in which we are governed by sentient sea-squirts who consume their own brains as they age and he’d forgotten what the principle was by the time he’d resigned. So that universe is not that much unlike this one really. We just have less sentience in our rulers.

This will be the second attempt by the government to get Theresa May’s deal through the Commons. The first time it went down to a historic defeat, losing by 230 votes. The signs are that it will be rejected by a similar number on this occasion. In, fact there are even some commentators who are warning that the defeat will be even bigger.

The National: What's more likely – Theresa May getting her Brexit deal passed, or David Mundell resigning on a point of principle?What's more likely – Theresa May getting her Brexit deal passed, or David Mundell resigning on a point of principle?

After the previous rejection, May went back to Brussels in order to negotiate sufficient changes to the deal to allow it to attract the support of the spittle-flecked Brexit extremists in the European Research Group, which was always unlikely to be satisfied with anything short of abject surrender from the EU and Jean-Claude Juncker’s head on a stake. It was always going to be an exercise in futility and all the UK Government has managed to come back with is the sense the EU is now even more fed up with it than before. Considering how fed up the EU was previously, that’s quite an achievement.

Meanwhile, the SNP will present an amendment calling for the UK Government to recognise that Scotland voted to remain and that should Brexit go ahead, Scotland should have the right to decide its own future via an independence referendum. The amendment will remind the House that it supported the Scottish Claim of Right, which asserts the sovereignty of the people of Scotland and their right to choose the form of government best suited to their needs.

The SNP amendment is even more likely to be voted down by the Commons than Theresa May’s deal. It will be voted down by MPs from outwith Scotland, many of whom fulminate in the Commons about the iniquity of the UK being dictated to by the EU. Those same MPs would howl in outrage if non-British MEPs in the European Parliament rejected the right of the UK to hold its EU referendum without the permission of the EU, but they are perfectly happy to withhold the same right from Scotland.

That in a nutshell is British exceptionalism.

The SNP’s amendment is important for Scotland, but it’s a sideshow to the main event. This is the week when we are promised that the can which Theresa May has been kicking finally runs out of road.

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In the likely event that May’s deal fails again, the Commons will vote the following day on whether to rule out a no-deal Brexit. Should that happen, then the next step will be to vote for an extension to Article 50.

May will then have to return to Brussels to beg for extra time for the UK to try to sort itself out. The problem, however, is that although the Commons fetishises its supposed absolute sovereignty, it’s not within the power of the House of Commons to grant itself an extension to Article 50. That power lies with the EU and any one of the 27 EU member states could decide to veto it, unless they can be persuaded that the extension serves a real purpose. Ireland, which Britain has so casually traduced and ignored throughout the Brexit process, is one of those states. That’s the difference independence makes, a difference which shows the reality of Scotland’s supposed place at the top table within the UK as nothing more than a bad and unfunny joke.

The EU is not likely to look favourably on a UK which seeks a short extension to Article 50 just so British politicians can continue to argue among themselves and negotiate something that the EU has already told them is off the table. British exceptionalism will finally be forced to confront the reality of a UK which doesn’t get to call the shots.

By the end of this week, the fog may or may not have lifted. But it’s not true to say that Brexit hasn’t achieved anything. It has exposed the true nature of the UK as a unitary state which is a union in name only, a so-called union which treats Scotland as a pretty bauble to bedeck the crown of British exceptionalism.

Brexit teaches us that the British state is intellectually and politically bankrupt, trading on past glories and saddled with institutions which are unfit for purpose. The lesson of Brexit is that Scotland is trapped in an abusive relationship by a British state which threatens it, gaslights it and keeps it in a constant state of insecurity and uncertainty. That will remain to be the case whether Brexit can be avoided or not.