THIS ancient truth from Sophocles is underscored by recent events.

First, we had the re-emergence of that old favourite – devo-max. It’s like the long deceased that no one really wants to talk about, but from time to time it emerges from its tomb. What is it? No one really knows. Ill defined, ill regarded and unworkable it may be, but here it is again, nonetheless.

Moreover, it is fundamentally flawed. Without truly enormous changes to the British constitution, it is wholly impractical. And there is absolutely no appetite at Westminster to give such changes even the smallest consideration.

There is not sufficient space here for me to list its shortcomings, so I’ll stick to just one. But it’s a biggie – sovereignty. The sovereign power is where control lies. As a servant cannot have two masters, likewise there can only be one sovereign entity. In the UK sovereignty is vested in the British Parliament. In short, what it says, goes. And no Parliament may bind its successors. So even in the hugely unlikely event that some sort of deal could be arrived at, it has no permanence. A devo-max set up might be agreed with one Parliament then thrown out by the next.

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Frankly, talk of an effective devo-max arrangement is to attempt to polish a turd.

Second, and to add to the merriment of the nations, the Scottish Tories are now talking about devo-max, too. Not for you, of course. But for themselves. It seems that growing numbers of the Scottish party don’t want it to be run from London. (Ahem.) According to The Sunday Times: “Fears of heavy local election losses for the Scottish Conservatives in May amid “continuing chaos” in Downing Street have reignited calls for a breakaway centre-right party north of the Border.

Peter Duncan, the former Scottish Tory chairman and MP, says the idea is attracting new supporters in the party ranks after “a devastating sequence of disastrous missteps” by Boris Johnson’s government.

While the Prime Minister’s conduct is “hurting the Conservative cause in Scotland”, he suggests a change in UK leadership is unlikely to help as the party battles to retain shared control of seven of Scotland’s 32 local authorities in May.

“Anxious Scots Tory councillors are contemplating a campaign where they feel like the fall guys for Downing Street incompetence. On current poll ratings, significant losses look likely. Yes, there may be risks to a split with the UK party but are they any greater than the risks inherent than in the status quo?”, says Duncan.

His views are echoed by former Tory MSP Adam Tomkins that none of the opposition parties will get near power “until they break free and divorce themselves from London”. (Ahem again.) It seems that if Duncan and Tomkins get their way there may be an “independent” Tory party in Scotland at a time when devolution is being hollowed out by Westminster’s Internal Market legislation.

To be fair, it is commendable that the Tories are at least attempting to think of new approaches.

Labour, by contrast, is firmly anchored in the past. Not the recent past, but way back in the 1950s. Witness Keir Starmer and his much trumpeted but bumbling attempt this week to state Labour’s offer of three core values and failing to remember more than two.

Swaddling himself in the Union flag he went on to denounce “nationalism” while giving three resounding cheers for “patriotism”.

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According to the Independent: “It was a speech so instantly forgettable that a minute after it had been delivered, the Labour leader couldn’t remember it himself.

“To do a Big Speech, you need to do more than to book a room and send out the invitations. You’ve also got to have Something to Say. And though his lips moved with commendable certainty throughout, and the sound that emerged from between them was certainly his voice, he didn’t have anything to say at all.”

Nonetheless, he claims a contract with the British people. Security, Prosperity and Respect, that’s it. Of course, his “respect” assertion does not extend across the border or even to democracy. His respect for a people’s democratic choices ends at Berwick. That he does not understand this is nonsense may be down to the influence of Gordon Brown and his cronies.

He declares that he will not deal with Scotland’s major party before, during or after the next election.

So, to Southern voters his message is: “we got it wrong, and we will change. To Scots, he says; “you got it wrong, and you must change.”

The British constitution is so deeply flawed, it’s now making its supporters mad.

Look out for another special guest on the next TNT show. Join us at 7pm on Wednesday