COMING soon(ish) to a screen near you – it’s The Vow 2! The feel-good romantic comedy you’ve all been waiting for during these long, lonely months. We’re all in need of a laugh, and what’s more amusing than Scottish Labour trying to act like they’re still relevant?

It had been hoped Ewan McGregor would take the lead role in this celebration of cross-border bonds – indeed, the showstopper Hopelessly Devo-ted to UK was composed for his singing range – but creative differences arose back in September. He announced he had “changed his tune” and was backing independence for Scotland.

All was not lost, however. Waiting in the wings was one of the country’s favourite entertainers. The man to whom we turn in times of need, whose greatest hits collection is never far from the family stereo. I speak, of course, of Gordon “Brimstone” Brown, who sources say will be fronting Labour’s new pro-Union initiative.

Some might believe the best way to a nation’s heart is to whisper sweet nothings in its ear or, better still, take the time to really listen to what it’s been trying to say via 15 consecutive opinion polls. But our Gordo has a different approach. He prefers big, loud declarations and public proposals. His plan is to thunder the three little words every romantic longs to hear: “NEW CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION”.

From early next year he’ll be chatting up the people of Scotland, extolling the virtues of an imaginary new federal set-up with more powers for every nation and region of the UK. Never mind the fact that there are some significant other parties who will have to consent to any of that happening – did that stop Romeo and Juliet? No! Well, yes, ultimately. But for us, this time, things will be different.

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The plan is to hold a series of citizens’ assemblies in the run-up to May’s election, so that Goggs can formulate his new vows then march down the aisle with Keir Starmer and Richard Leonard before we go to the polls. Never mind Plan A for independence, or even Plan B, why not sign up to Plan GB?! It’s a win-win situation with more powers for Scotland but the precious Union preserved and everyone living happily ever after.

Well, maybe not everyone. Maybe not most of the population of England, who have little interest in the establishment of a federal UK. Maybe not the Conservatives, who have decided that since the Scots never vote for them there’s no point courting them. And maybe not any of the people who are firmly convinced independence is the best way forward for Scotland, even if they believe any future vows of further devolution would be honoured (which they don’t).

But apart from that lot, everyone will be happy! Great Britain will be made great again, and a victorious GB will be carried through the streets atop the broad shoulders of happy, united Scottish folk who have set aside divisive talk of referendums for good.

Unless ... unless perhaps assembling isn’t the top priority for many citizens in the first few months of 2021 (whether physically or virtually), no-one really believes Labour are committed to anything other than clawing back votes north of the Border, and everyone still remembers what happened following the original vow of 2014. Then perhaps things won’t pan out quite so well for Team Federalism.

This isn’t so much a promise of jam tomorrow but of Marmite in about three years’ time. Or maybe an empty Marmite jar. Or maybe some smashed glass. The grand plan for “devo max” can only be implemented if a Labour government first take power at Westminster in 2024, having battled their way through an election campaign in the aftermath of Brexit and the pandemic.

As flagship policies go, keeping the Union intact might turn out to be a risky one. Boris Johnson has set the tone when it comes to talking about Scotland – the line is that the restless jocks should just pipe down and be grateful for what they’ve got. Some in England may view a conciliatory approach from Starmer as little better than negotiating with terrorists. Why on earth should the entire UK have to change just to placate a few million flag-waving nationalists? What next, mandatory bagpipe playing at the Trooping of the Colour? Haggis and chips on the menu at The Ritz?

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Sure, it might seem like the rest of the UK would be mad to vote Conservative again, given everything that’s happened in the last 12 months, but remember that last time they voted for a mop in a suit on the basis of a three-word soundbite.

The polls show that Scots are sick of crossing their fingers and hoping their interests will be served by whatever shower end up in charge at Westminster. So do Brown, Starmer and Leonard really imagine this late intervention – promising the possibility of a possibility – will be enough to change votes in five months’ time, and deny the SNP yet another mandate?

We’re not daft. Desperate promises of “I can change!” don’t cut the mustard when it takes the threat of being dumped to elicit them. Gordie can show up on the doorstep with a hangdog expression and set of placards professing undying commitment to the United Kingdom but it will be too little, too late for those who are already wedded to the ideal of an independent Scotland.

If you still aren’t convinced this idea is doomed to failure, consider this: Willie Rennie is on board.