SHOTS fired! Don’t worry – for now they’re only verbal ones being launched out of the mouth of Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy. But if she wins the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn, then performs a miracle and becomes PM, could the next volley be one of rubber bullets aimed at Scottish voters?

I don’t know about you, but I was trying not to get sucked into this series of British Islands. It’s come far too soon after the summer one, in which we invested far too much time and emotional energy. I wonder if a panicked producer pulled Nandy for a chat on Wednesday and asked her to inject a bit more drama into the leadership race. To give Scotland a metaphorical kick in the crotch, if you will, and really get the viewers talking. If so, it certainly worked.

All it took to prick up the ears of Scottish voters was the MP for Wigan telling Andrew Neil: “We should look outwards to other countries where they’ve had to deal with divisive nationalism … places like Catalonia”. Yikes.

The problem, she said, is that “socialists have been beaten over and over again by nationalists”. I’ll tell you what’s also a problem, Nanders – the fact that nationalists in Catalonia were beaten over and over again by the Spanish police simply for trying to enter polling stations. What a shining example of best practice for the UK to follow. For the many (with riot shields), not the few (unarmed pensioners)!

READ MORE: Lisa Nandy under fire for Catalonia claim in Andrew Neil interview

Nandy tried to execute a reverse ferret yesterday afternoon, referring vaguely to “unjustified violence” against independentists, but it was too little, too late.

It appears she hasn’t noticed there are one or two crucial differences between Scotland and Catalonia. There’s a rather glaring one that she seems to find particularly difficult. “This country has had enough of referendums,” she declared, sitting in the country of England presuming to tell those in the country of Scotland what we’ve had enough of, and implying that if we dare to disagree with her some of our elected politicians might deserve the jail.

Another rather important difference is that we had a perfectly legal independence referendum in 2014. Spain’s constitution specifically prohibits secession, whereas that of the UK says ... let me just check ... ah yes, we don’t even have one. But hey, why not just take a leaf out of the Spanish book rather than trying to come up with any credible argument against ever giving Scots another say? While we’re at it, why not crack down on peaceful protests and introduce bull-fighting to Ayr Racecourse? If it’s good enough for Spain, it’s good enough for the country of Britain!

One suspects Nandy might have attended the same Introduction to Scotland classes as the soon-to-be-ex Labour leader – who, let’s not forget, was unaware until recently that Scotland has its own legal system.

LETTERS: Leonard keeps proving he's clueless about Scotland

It appears she considers North Britain to be a mere region, though at least that’s a more formal designation than “up there”, as per her rival Jess Phillips. I can’t imagine they’d be too happy if we started to refer to them as “down below”, like a mortified teenager at the clap clinic.

The National:

But wait, Nandy was not yet finished offering pearls of wisdom. When Andrew Neil ventured that the false dichotomy of nationalism vs social justice wasn’t quite applicable to the Scottish situation, she didn’t miss a beat. “I think it suits the Scottish nationalists, actually, to keep this argument going about independence,” she said, “because while the entire conversation in Scotland is focused on the constitution, nobody’s paying attention to their record, which is frankly appalling”.

I’ve heard many theories about the SNP and their political strategy, but this is a new one on me: perhaps the SNP don’t really care about independence at all, but are just keeping a conversation going about it in order to distract from their terrible record in government. Ingenious! Talk about a long game. All those decades in the wilderness, pretending to be all about independence, building up to the point where they could dominate politics in Scotland, mess everything up, then distract the voters by pointing out of the window and shouting “Look! A unicorn!”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon calls on Lisa Nandy to clarify Catalonia comments

For argument’s sake, let’s pretend Nandy can find Scotland on a map, could tell you off the top of her head which issues are devolved and reserved, has been closely following the performance of the Scottish Government, and is quite correct that its recording is “appalling”. Then imagine representing a party so poor – so devoid of talent, inspiration and credibility – that it not only fails to topple that appalling government in an election but manages to come in third place. By Nandy’s logic, what does this make Labour in Scotland? Abysmal? Atrocious?

Of course, she might argue that the problem isn’t Scottish Labour, but the daft voters who fail to recognise what’s going on here – that the SNP are pulling off a massive con trick by pretending to be into social justice, that we’re only capable of thinking about one issue at a time, and that we’ve completely failed to notice that our government is appalling, so keep blindly voting the same lot back in. When you think about it this way, police in riot gear blocking us from voting at all would merely be saving us from ourselves.

Never mind the nanny state, bring on the Nandy state! Less voting, more doing what Lisa Nandy wants. Or else.