STOP press! Anas Sarwar has set out his vision for the future of the British people. Is this a thing now? Folk who have no chance of implementing their visions for the future of the British people just setting them out anyway, in the spirit of optimism? If so, I’m all for it. Who will be next to share their vision? I vote for Meghan Markle, followed by that disgraced tractor-porn MP, followed by Gemma from Love Island.

It would have been bold enough for Sarwar to outline his vision for the future of Scotland, given his party achieved its worst-ever Scottish Parliament election result last year and its second-worst local election result just two months ago, despite a campaign that strongly suggested Labour councillors could somehow avert the cost of living crisis.

But undeterred by those embarrassments he has gone the whole hog and set out what he dreams could happen if a) UK Labour win a General Election, on b) a manifesto including pledges written by himself, because c) Keir Starmer for some reason decides to give priority to realising the Scottish branch manager’s vision for the UK.

Sarwar appears to regard himself as Labour’s Ben Affleck, repeatedly boasting that under his leadership his branch office “stopped Armageddon”.

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I can’t confirm whether he has the same gigantic back tattoo as the Hollywood leading man – who has referred to his gaudy ink as a “phoenix rising from my ass” – but he trumpets about taking “the first step from survival to relevance”, which in fairness is more of an achievement than a multimillionaire getting divorced from the actress Jennifer Garner.

Anyway, enough about Sarwar’s well-covered back – he’s also got a lot of front. He seems to fancy himself as the new Gordon Brown, as if one Gordon Brown beavering away on a “save the Union” plan wasn’t already one too many. Apparently his vision will “complement the work that Keir Starmer has asked Gordon Brown to do,” and none of it will involve dividing people. They’ll be lucky if it doesn’t end up dividing their own members, let alone anyone else.

Sarwar told an audience at a Fabian Society event that there is “new hope, energy and positivity in our politics” ... mere seconds after reeling off a lot of negatives about NHS waiting lists, collapsed businesses and drug deaths.

Then came the first of the pledges – or should we call them “vows”? – to change lives for the better across the UK. 1) What he calls a “legal duty to cooperate”, 2) New “joint governance councils – or whatever we decide to call them” and 3) Fundamental change at Westminster including the abolition of the House of Lords, replacing it with a Senate of the Nations and Regions.

Vow number one would apparently “direct the cultural change required in the approach of the SNP government and UK Tory government, and help manifest the benefits of constructive working.” So presumably Sarwar is imagining that his vision will be realised pretty quickly – indeed, before his party wins the next election. Interesting.

Vow number two is perhaps not quite the snappy soundbite required to counter arguments for independence. “What do we want?” “Joint governance councils or whatever we decide to call them!” “When do we want them?” “Now!” Even the typesetter for Scottish Labour’s jazzy pamphlet, Better Government for the UK, seems to have given up on the idea after finding the word “government” too long to fit in a headline box (friend, you have the sympathy of every newspaper sub-editor).

Speaking of sub-editing, call me a pedant but I fail to be inspired by criticism of “a disasterous Conservative government” (sic) and “the unequal distribuion of economic and political power” (sic).

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A cynical person might imagine this publication had been dashed off in a hurry after the Scottish Government published its first “Building a New Scotland” paper spelling out the dire trajectory of the UK, set a date for indyref2 and bypassed the Boris Johnson-shaped roadblock to holding it. An uncharitable person might counter that even with all the time in the world, the collective efforts of the Scottish Labour hive mind might not be able to come up with anything more coherent.

Let’s be honest, even if every compound adjective was hyphenated and every word was an actual word, this prospectus would not be setting the heather alight. The paradox at its heart is that Keir Starmer must appeal to English voters first and foremost if Labour are to have any chance of winning the next General Election, and English voters will be even less interested than Scottish ones in joint governance councils and yet another empty promise to scrap the House of Lords.

Scottish Labour assert that “the Scottish people are sovereign and have the right to determine the best form of government suited to our needs,” but in the next breath presume to tell us what that form of government is, and cynically pretend they are on track to deliver it.

More papers are to be unveiled soon. If Gordon Brown isn’t too busy plotting, perhaps he could be asked to proof-read them.