SPEAKING at an event organised by the Institute for Government, Deputy First Minister John Swinney warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the Conservative Government's "assertion of brute centralising political power", which it euphemistically chooses to describe as "muscular unionism", is aggravating people in Scotland and it's an approach which will backfire badly on Westminster when Scotland embarks upon the second independence referendum which the electorate of Scotland charged the Scottish Parliament with delivering when they elected a substantial majority of MSPs in May who were standing in order to ask the people for a mandate for a second independence referendum. 

Concerning the approach being adopted by the Conservatives at Westminster and their duplicitous and deceitful attempts to neuter, undermine and bypass the devolution settlement, the Deputy First Minister said: "I think [it] will have the effect of aggravating opinion within Scotland, because the majority of people in Scotland want their democratic institutions to be able to take their decisions, for them to hold those institutions to account, and they want those institutions to be respected".  

He added: "The UK Government is essentially taking a set of actions that are not acting in that spirit, they are appealing to a minority of opinion within Scotland on this question and I think they run the risk of aggravating opinion within Scotland." 

There is absolutely no doubt that John Swinney is correct, equally there is no doubt that he would be as well delivering his warning to an abandoned pile of bricks for all that Boris Johnson cares about public opinion in Scotland. An abandoned pile of bricks would probably be more empathetic and responsive.  

The big risk for the Conservatives, which they appear blissfully unaware of, is that by attacking the devolution settlement and traducing the promises made to Scotland in 2014 in an effort to secure a No vote, they are weakening even further an already fatally damaged set of arguments which the Better Together campaign deployed in that year's referendum.   

Following their British nationalist and xenophobic Brexit, the Conservatives have rendered totally implausible the argument that a No vote is a vote against nationalism. Neither can they argue that independence is parochial and inward looking – that would be the UK. It's now independence which represents stronger and deeper ties with Europe and the rest of the world. 

No one in Scotland will now believe a blandishment to vote No and in return Scotland can enjoy stronger devolution. The opposite is now true. It is abundantly obvious that following a No vote in a second referendum, the Conservatives will neuter the devolution settlement and render the Scottish Parliament impotent. Indeed the only reason they have not done so already is because they fear the impact that it would have in a second independence referendum. 

Johnson will not listen to any warnings. He is an arrogant and entitled man who leads an arrogant and entitled party. Their arrogance and entitlement will be their downfall and will be instrumental in bringing this dysfunctional so-called Union to an end. 

This piece is an extract from today's REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

To receive our full newsletter including this analysis straight to your email inbox, click here and tick the box for the REAL Scottish Politics