FOR most of us in these troubled times life is confusing. The old certainties are no more, and we often need to react differently. But how?

Countries are affected the same way. That is why they – or most of them – have written constitutions. A written constitution is a reminder of what’s important to the nation. Thus, it is better positioned to deal with crises, because it knows what it stands for, and what it won’t not stand for. Decision-taking is easier. The wheat can be separated from the chaff more swiftly.

Equally, it is plain to see what needs to be preserved at all costs. During a crisis, uncertainty is not your friend. A clear vision and agreed values and ethics are what’s needed to negotiate choppy waters.

Few countries, apart from the UK, would set sail in a leaky boat, with a mutinous crew and an errant captain. This combination is the least suited to navigate a crisis, or worse, a series of crises. The UK ship of state, presently reeling in rough seas, will certainly founder because it pays no attention to what is important. It wallows in nostalgia and devotes itself to what it thinks was important.

Every crash of the waves against its rotting hull is met by assertions of how wonderful life was in days of yore. The few brave souls in government who suggest the officers are incompetent are thrown overboard and replaced by those of the meanest intellect and ability.

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Two events occurred this week that are an affront to civilised constitutional principles.

The UK government is seeking a replacement for Sir David Clementi, chairman of the BBC, who quits in February. According to The Times last week, his successor will be either Sir Robbie Gibb, an ex-Downing Street spin doctor; former chancellor George Osborne; or Baroness Morgan of Cotes, a former Tory culture secretary. The BBC’s new director-general, another Tory, says he will focus on “impartiality”. Evidently this precept does not extend to appointments.

Now BBC Scotland announces that it “has appointed Steve Carson as its new director”. (Not Douglas Ross MP, as many suspected.) A number of questions arise. Was there any democratic oversight of the process? If so, who was involved and/or consulted? If not, why not? After all, since the boss is a political appointee this seems a reasonable question.

We wish him well. That said, it is surprising that he thinks his predecessor, Donalda MacKinnon, “has overseen an enhanced newsroom”. You may recall these “enhancements” include getting rid of experienced journalists.

Carson tells his staff that: “Our work touches the lives of almost everyone around us. We can help audiences make sense of a changing world. Or we can just offer people a laugh.”

In a spirit of friendship, I invite Steve Carson to come on the “The Nation Talks” show and tell us what the nation can expect from him.

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In other news, Lord Hope of Craighead, who served as the first Deputy President of the Supreme Court, referring to the Internal Market Bill said: “The effect of the Bill has been described as a power grab by the Scottish National Party. I am not given to hyperbole – which I thought this was – but now, having read the Bill... I can see why this expression is being used by them, and now in Wales too.”

He stressed that frictionless trade depends on the principles of co-operation and mutual trust between all four nations – adding that at present the Internal Market Bill is “deeply damaging” to those principles.

“Mutual trust between the nations has never been lower than it now is – Scotland has refused to give legislative consent to the Bill and Wales has indicated it cannot give consent to the Bill in its present form,” Hope said.

“Of course, this parliament can do what it likes. But a different approach is essential if the Union is to hold together against a growing trend towards fragmentation that if this government is not very careful will bring our precious Union to an end.”

He explained under the proposals there would be “no stopping” traders bringing in products from other areas which do not conform to the nation in question’s rules.”

“The devolved powers are rendered worthless by this new system,” he stressed. “UK ministers are given powers to do things which contravene the devolution settlements without consultation let alone consent.”

In short, the UK is a constitutional basket case. Scotland can and should do so much better.

Next week’s guest on the TNT show at 7pm is Sophie Johnson. Sophie and her sister appeared in an iconic photograph standing up to the Unionist riot after the indyref.