The National:

WHEN it’s your job to defend the Union, it can be tough to come up with the right answers.

The pandemic has proven to scores of undecided Scots that the country is very much capable of governing itself, while Westminster continues to ignore warnings about Brexit.

Alister Jack has the tricky role of explaining to Scots why self-government would be a disaster.

The Scottish Secretary has told us to forget about it, even ruling out a vote on the matter until 2039.

READ MORE: Alister Jack says SNP 'have to accept' there'll be no new independence referendum

Amazingly, not everyone seems to be satisfied with that answer.

“The Tories’ Trump-like bid to deny democracy by trying to ignore free and fair election results is doomed to fail,” Mhairi Black fired back.

But it’s not just the SNP being given unsatisfactory answers.

Today at Scottish Questions in the Commons, Tory MP John Howell asked the Scottish Secretary about support provided to Scottish businesses during the pandemic.

The question was written on the schedule, meaning Jack had plenty of time to get his response right.

Unfortunately, he hadn’t bothered to bring it with him, or indeed memorise it.

As you'd expect, that went down well with MPs.

The SNP’s Pete Wishart told Jack he was doing “a fantastic job of strengthening the Union”.

It’s hard to argue with that.