IAN Murray, the last Labour – or at least Labouresque – MP left standing in Scotland must really be working undercover for the SNP.

That can be the only explanation for his frankly bizarre and democracy-denying decision to contact the highest ranking civil servant in the UK to demand that he intervenes in order to prevent the Scottish Government doing what it was elected to do, which is to make preparations for an independence referendum to be held by the end of next year.

Perhaps Ian just has a remarkably short or selective memory, but we had a Holyrood election last year in which parties promising to hold an independence referendum within the term of this Scottish Parliament won a large majority.

Ian's party stood on a platform of opposition to another referendum, and benefited from Tory votes from a murkily funded anti-independence tactical voting campaign – but despite that, pro-independence parties won the largest pro-independence majority that Holyrood has ever seen. A majority which, moreover, was won in a campaign fought largely on the issue of whether or not to hold another independence referendum. Yet here Ian and his pal Anas Sarwar are, still trying to fight an election that we had last year. Memo to Ian: your party got humped.

What has got Ian's goat, and caused him to show his true authoritarian and anti-democratic colours, is that the Scottish Government has the temerity to use the civil service to support it in developing and implementing the policies which it was elected to deliver. It's not like the Scottish Government is sneaking this policy in under the radar – it was loudly trumpeted as SNP and Green policy during the Holyrood election campaign in May 2021.

Supporting the government of the day to develop and realise its manifesto commitments and policies is what the civil service is for. Ian has every right not to like those policies, he has every right not to support them, but he does not have the right to politicise the civil service by trying to prevent it from supporting a democratically elected government from implementing the policies which it was elected to deliver.

Even the former Scottish Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins, who is not exactly a big fan of the independence project, understands that point. He said: "Like it or not, it is Scottish Government policy to pursue independence via a second indyref."

By trying to block the civil service from doing its job, Murray is proving that the Labour Party has as much contempt for the democratic choices of the people of Scotland as the Conservatives do. Just last week Keir Starmer accused the Johnson government of treating Scotland with "disdain", and here we are just a few days later with Labour's only remaining Labour MP trying to out-Tory the Tories in his contempt for the result of a Scottish election.

It seems that both the Conservative and Labour parties are united in the belief that the outcome of democratic votes in Scotland need only be respected when that outcome is acceptable to the Labour and Conservative parties.

Ian's “muscular unionist” aggressive Anglo-British nationalism might endear him to the Conservative voters of Edinburgh South whose tactical votes he relies on to keep him in office, but it's a recipe for the continuing irrelevance and marginalisation of the Labour Party in Scotland.

If we want a party that ignores the electorate of Scotland and insists upon imposing its will even though it has failed to win an election in Scotland, we already have the Tories for that. Ian Murray seems hell bent on ensuring that he remains Labour's sole Scottish MP.

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.

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