THE Tory Party conference is under way in Manchester. Due to the risks of protestors it’s being held behind a border of concrete and steel bars.

If the Brexiteers were correct there would be no need for it. Checks could be carried out some miles away from the conference centre. Perhaps there could be a trusted protester scheme. They could have perhaps implemented some sort of electronic checks instead of needing a physical barrier. They tell us the technology is quite good now.

The checks and security are necessary because Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson continues in his destruction of what passes for a British constitution, and is ramping up his threats and warnings, raising the risk of violence and civil disorder. If an independence supporter had warned about this during the referendum of 2014 they’d have been laughed at and ridiculed. Yet this is the UK in 2019.

This is a Prime Minister who broke the law in order to silence Parliament, who has no majority in Parliament, who has lost every single vote in the Commons, who is being investigated for allegedly improperly giving public money to an American businesswoman with whom he enjoyed a close personal relationship, and who repeatedly refuses to rule out the possibility that he might break the law again in order to ensure a No-Deal Brexit.

Meanwhile, he’s talking up the threat of violence and civil disorder, apparently in order to justify the use of contingency powers to bypass laws he doesn’t like. He says that he’s trying to get a deal from the EU, yet all the while his actions speak to the opposite. He has no serious intentions of getting a deal, and even if he could he’s alienated so many MPs that he’d never get it through Parliament.

All this while it seems that some of those who have backed him may be disaster capitalists who stand to rake in millions of pounds from the chaos of a No-Deal Brexit.

This is a dangerous politician who has taken the British body politic and stuffed it into a wicker man which he is now cheerfully setting fire to as a sacrifice to the god of the EU referendum. Serious and sober commentators are openly wondering whether this Prime Minister will suspend the rule of law, whether he will break the law again, and whether he is deliberately trying to incite civil disorder or merely doesn’t care if that’s the result of his inflammatory language.

All this in order to achieve a goal which the UK Government itself has been forced to admit will risk lives, jobs and livelihoods. But then this is a government which is not chasing Brexit in order to entrench and guarantee employment, consumer, and civil rights. It’s a government which wants Brexit in order to make a bonfire of them.

This is a government which is risking democracy and civil order in pursuit of a lie. People just want Brexit to be done, they keep telling us. But the No-Deal Brexit that they are chasing won’t mean that Brexit is done. There’s no clean break, just a messy compound fracture creating pain and disability. It just means that the final relationship between the UK and the EU will be negotiated while the UK is mired in chaos and divisions an order of magnitude greater than what we are currently experiencing.

All this is just fine with the Scottish Conservatives. You know, those Tories who were elected to defend and stand up for Scottish interests within the UK. Now they’re no longer even pretending to do anything other than defending and standing up for the British government’s interest within Scotland. On the BBC over the weekend Jackson Carlaw, the interim leader of the Scottish Tories, said that he’d fully support the Prime Minister if he dragged Scotland out of the EU into a chaotic No-Deal Brexit.

This is where we are now, and yet Carlaw still goes on the BBC to tell us that he fully supports the Prime Minister. It’s reasonable to ask precisely what it might take for Carlaw and the Scottish Conservatives to say “Here, that’s just not on”. Although our expectations of them have fallen so low that many of us would welcome them just to go, “Tsk.” This lot are giving a very good impression of being the kind of people who would have supported King Herod as he massacred the first-born. Jackson would be on the BBC’s Scottish politics show saying; “Well it’s important to take a strong stand on prophecies about messiahs, Gordon.”

Even if you do oppose Scottish independence, you must recognise that there will be times and circumstances when what is good for Scotland is not necessarily what is good for the UK as a whole. It is not difficult to imagine circumstances where Scotland is damaged by some policy or strategy which has a democratic mandate from the rest of the UK, but doesn’t have such support in Scotland. This is precisely the set of circumstances we are in right now because of Brexit. In a functioning union, those who call themselves Unionists and who support Scotland continuing to be a part of that union, would proudly stand up for Scottish interests, argue Scotland’s case, and resist attempts for Scotland to be steamrollered and damaged by the weight of votes in the rest of the UK. That’s what “Unionism” would mean if this were a functioning union. That’s how you strengthen a union that you believe in. But that’s patently not what the so-called defenders of Scotland in the UK are doing.

Scottish Unionism is a hollow lie. A unionism which practises British incorporation and the silencing of Scotland is no union at all. A union which allows no recognition of the distinctiveness of Scotland’s interests and makes no accommodation to them is no union at all. A union which contains no institutional means to protect Scotland from the malign effects of English nationalism is no union at all.

It’s the pursuit of a unitary state. If that’s the union that you seek, you’re not a unionist at all, you’re an incorporationist, you’re an apologist for a UK which is running roughshod over Scotland and over the promises that the Better Together campaign made to Scotland in 2014. The next referendum will not be a debate between Unionists and nationalists.

It will be a debate between Scottish independence supporters, and British nationalists. The Union is dead. Unionism killed it.