THE two-party mould was broken by the SNP and the usual pattern at Westminster was the see-saw share of power between the two so-called “main” parties. Their aims and policies were supported across and within the divide and rolled cosily along undisturbed and unperturbed.

That has all changed. The duopoly have lost their dominance in Scotland and are starting to fracture north of the Tweed. Brexit, Brexit-no-deal and devolution have reoriented their now confused raison d’etre.

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The Tories are increasingly an English “nationalistic” party with jingoistic overlay. The branch in Scotland fronted by Ruth Davidson has been truly “Union-jacked”, its leader humiliated and sidelined, not quite purged yet, and its MPs from Scotland and its MSPs at Holyrood are in existential slide.

Labour are fundamentally confused as to where they stand on most issues and their grip on the Union is sliding. If the Johnson Tories can savage their “allies” in Scotland, how much more will they be brutal to the rest of us?

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The crunch will come sooner or later. The groundswell for indy2 has been visible since Scots voted to remain in the EU, even the “Unionists” voted to remain along with the SNP and that swing was confirmed in the latest EU poll. The added turbo boost for indyref2 has ironically been propelled by Boris Johnson and his savaging of his internal party north of the Tweed.

The vitriol now being flung at Ruth Davidson, once hailed and venerated as the Tories’ saviour, from within her party north and south, is unprecedented. Even The Times had a front-page splash announcing her fall from grace.

That 63% of Tory members would give up the Union for a no deal Brexit highlights the gulf. The Union only brings in a few MPs for the Union north of the Tweed.

The largest group, the SNP, are a threat to the Tory majority at Westminster. Cut out all Scots and the whole dynamic changes for the Tories in England. No need to go cap in hand to the DUP who demand payment in return.

The indyref2 groundswell, where we now know that increasing numbers of Labour voters in Scotland are pro Indy, will ultimately force the other Unionist parties, primarily the LibDems, to face up to the dilemma that No Deal Brexit and Brexit itself places them in.

Do they in the end support the vote of Scots to remain in the EU in the event of Brexit, which means independence or do they put the Union first and commit to a Tory hegemony in the UK, the Union which will have mired us in a chaos out of the EU?

Labour north of the Tweed has most to gain in an independent Scotland. It has sunk below the radar and independence would aid it to recapture its former Scottish roots. The LibDems have supped with Cameron’s Tories, their present leader still extols the ‘achievements’ when she was a minister in Cameron’s Cabinet, so one cannot be certain, but perhaps their voters and ordinary members will come to their senses and shift alignment.

The Unionist dilemma north of the Tweed for the non-Tories is how far do they tolerate the diktats from Westminster, even with a devolved Scotland, now that the Tories are “Union-jacking” everything, will take back powers from Holyrood and even barge in and legislate from Westminster in devolved areas such as education? Can you imagine trust schools in Scotland being wrenched out of local control, for example, and handed over to big business for profit? There is a feeling that the Labour and LibDem pro-devolution stance in the past was there to halt the rise of the SNP, but that has not happened. So are they going to put the Union before the country and Holyrood? That is the serious issue they are going to have to face. A Union which puts the macro power in a party like the Tories which Scots did not vote for and which was and is anti-devolutionist, is not a Precious Union.

The inner turmoil and tensions in the Unionist parties are inexorably forcing a rethink and realignment as October 31 and a No Deal Brexit loom up fast.

John Edgar

ANDREW Wilson’s article (I’m not ready to give up on growth ... but we do need to think differently, August 1) shows signs that a small light bulb has just switched on in the writer’s brain, so, like John O’Dowd whose letter you published on Saturday.

I feel inclined to give Andrew a pat on the head – but only one and a very small one at that.

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A few days ago Mark Carney, in an interview, gave us the benefit of his thoughts on how we might deal with the problems of global climate change. Both are wrong, however, and for more or less the same reason – both gave us the traditional banker’s verdict, both relied on economic mechanisms which once appeared to be an effective solution but in fact, when the long-term effects they have, are seen, can be recognised as storing up even more serious problems.

To deal with climate change, we will need to undertake several very different types of project. The profit motive (and associated growth) can be effective in only some of these. What person who is motivated and enthusiastic about earning lots of money would invest in a project which either produces no profit at all, or (what is more likely) will produce only an identifiable profit for lots of other people after the original investor is dead (and has been, perhaps for a very long time)?

If motivation is needed, we have to think of something else. The supply of funds is not unlimited. So which projects are likely to attract adequate funding?

I confess to being pessimistic. I also suspect that if we do solve that problem it will be by a better understanding of human nature – not by an application of banking skills.

Hugh Noble