THE two-party mould was broken by the SNP and the usual pattern at Westminster was the see-saw share of power between the two so-called “main” parties.

Their aims and policies were supported across and within the divide and rolled cosily along undisturbed and unperturbed.

That has all changed. The duopoly have lost their dominance in Scotland and are starting to fracture north of the Tweed. Brexit, No-Deal Brexit and devolution have reoriented their now confused raison d’etre.

The Tories are increasingly an English “nationalistic” party with jingoistic overlay. The branch in Scotland fronted by Ruth Davidson has been truly “Union-Jacked”, its leader humiliated and sidelined, not quite purged yet, and its MPs from Scotland and its MSPs at Holyrood are in existential slide.

Labour are fundamentally confused as to where they stand on most issues and their grip on the Union is sliding. If the Johnson Tories can savage their “allies” in Scotland, how much more will they be brutal to the rest of us?

The crunch will come sooner or later. The groundswell for indyref2 has been visible now since Scots voted to remain in the EU, even the Unionists voted to remain along with the SNP and that swing was confirmed in the latest poll on the issue.

The added turbo boost for indyref2 has ironically been propelled by Boris Johnson and his savaging of his internal party north of the Tweed. The vitriol now being flung at Ruth Davidson, once hailed and venerated as its saviour, from within her party north and south, is unprecedented.

READ MORE: Davidson is now the least popular Tory in a frontline position

Even The Times has a front page splash announcing her fall from grace.

With 63% of Tory members willing to give up the Union for a No-Deal Brexit, the gulf is highlighted. The Union only brings in a few MPs for the Union north of the Tweed.

The largest group, the SNP, are a threat to the Tory majority at Westminster. Cut out all Scots and the whole dynamic changes for the Tories in England. No need to go cap-in-hand to the DUP who demand payment in return.

The indyref2 groundswell, where we now know that increasing numbers of Labour voters in Scotland are pro-indy, will ultimately force the other Unionist parties – primarily the LibDems – to face up to the dilemma that No-Deal Brexit and Brexit itself places them in.

Do they, in the end, support the vote of Scots to remain in the EU in the event of Brexit, which means independence, or do they put the Union first and commit to a Tory hegemony in the UK, the Union which will have mired us in a chaos out of the EU?

Labour north of the Tweed has most to gain in an independent Scotland. It has sunk so below the radar that independence would aid it to recapture its former Scottish roots. The LibDems have supped with Cameron’s Tories, their present leader still extols the “achievements” when she was a minister in Cameron’s Cabinet, so one cannot be certain, but perhaps their voters and ordinary members will come to their senses and shift alignment.

READ MORE: LibDem double standards yet again

The Unionist dilemma north of the Tweed for the non-Tories is how far do they tolerate and will they tolerate the diktats from Westminster even with a devolved Scotland, now that the Tories are “Union-Jacking” everything, will take back powers from Holyrood and even barge in and legislate from Westminster in devolved areas such as education.

Can you imagine trust schools in Scotland being wrenched out of local control, for example, and handed over to big business for profit? There is a feeling that the Labour and LibDem pro-devolution stance in the past was there to halt the rise of the SNP, but that has not happened.

So are they going to put the Union before the country and Holyrood?

That is the serious issue they are going to have to face. A Union which puts the macro power in a party like the Tories which Scots did not vote for, and which was and is anti-devolutionist, is not a “precious” Union.

The inner turmoil and tensions in the Unionist parties are inexorably forcing a rethink and realignment as October 31 and a No-Deal Brexit or even Brexit loom up fast.
John Edgar