Yesterday in The Herald newspaper, Adam Tomkins, the former Constitutional Affairs spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives at Holyrood, published an article in which he argued that Yes would likely win the next Scottish independence referendum and asserted that this was precisely why the referendum should not be allowed to happen.

Tomkins said that Yes would win the referendum due to widespread public anger in Scotland over Brexit, Westminster's obstinate refusal to reform itself and the corruption and contempt which is epitomised by Boris Johnson. 

Although he implicitly accepted that the Scottish Parliament has both a mandate for another referendum and the necessary pro-independence majority to bring it about, he went on to argue that Downing Street should deny consent to another referendum and that the UK Supreme Court would rule it unlawful.

It is a shockingly anti-democratic proposal which denies that the people of Scotland have any agency in determining the future of Scotland and effectively rules out any means by which Scotland can express its democratic desire to revisit the question of independence. 

As such, it overturns generations of Scottish political thought and destroys the entire basis of traditional Scottish Unionist belief, which has always held that Scotland is in a voluntary union with England and that it is up to the Scottish people to decide whether the union should continue.

Even self-proclaimed English nationalists like Margaret Thatcher agreed with this understanding of the nature of the union, but now British nationalists are faced with the prospect of a referendum which they are likely to lose, their response is to propose the abolition of Scotland's national right to self-determination.

This speaks volumes about the authoritarian nature of modern British Conservatism which lurks under a thin veneer of respect for democracy.

In recent years that veneer has worn through and we can now see all too clearly the dangers to democracy which the post-Brexit Conservatives represent.

In a powerful speech to the House of Commons, SNP MP Mhairi Black warned that under the Conservatives, the UK is sleepwalking into authoritarianism: "We have the lowest pensions in Europe, the lowest sick pay, we pretend the minimum wage is a living wage when it's not. We miss our own economic targets time and time again. We're happy to break international law.

"We are turning into a country where words hold no value and over the last 12 years I fear we are sleepwalking closer and closer to the f-word and I know everyone is scared to say it for fear of sounding over the top or being accused of going too far. But I say this with all sincerity, when I say the f-word, I’m talking about fascism. Fascism wrapped in red, white and blue."

In recent months we have seen this government, which is led by a liar and lawbreaker who refuses to accept any consequences for his deceit, move to restrict the right of protest in England and Wales, introduce obstacles to exercising the right to vote which will disproportionately disenfranchise demographic groups which tend not to support the Conservatives. 

It has abolished the independent status of the Electoral Commission and brought it under government control and has attempted to neuter the ability of the House of Commons to hold MPs who break the rules to account. 

This week, the Conservatives have proposed to rip up an international treaty and risk plunging the UK into a trade war during a cost of living crisis in order to appease a right-wing British nationalist party in Northern Ireland which has just lost the recent Northern Irish elections. 

READ MORE: Concern raised as conservative voices dominate BBC Question Time in Liverpool

After refusing for weeks to take any substantive steps to assist the poorest households with the cost of living crisis, the policing minister Kit Malthouse has refused to accept the suggestion of the chief inspector of constabulary, Andy Cooke - that the cost of living crisis will trigger an increase in crime.

Cooke said earlier this week that officers should "use their discretion" when deciding whether people who steal in order to eat should be prosecuted.

Malthouse, a long-standing ally of the Prime lawbreaker, insisted that police officers must not let shoplifters off if they are stealing food out of desperation during the cost of living crisis. Boris Johnson on the other hand can break the law and face no meaningful sanctions. 

This is how authoritarianism happens, the powerful make the rules to suit themselves and pick and choose what laws apply to them but at the same time they ensure that the people can never hold them to account. This is why another Scottish independence referendum is an imperative and that Scotland votes to leave the callous authoritarian circus that Westminster has become.

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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