IT’S easy to be smug.

Soooo easy.

You know that feeling when you’re safe at the back of the class and some poor sod at the front is getting taken apart. It’s terrifying and exciting because it’s not you.

Except the collapse of governance at Westminster is about you. It’s about all of us. And each time the opportunity arises to poke fun, pick a suitably apocalyptic song for Liz Truss’s next strut on stage, or rejoice as the end beckons for the whole horrible Tory project – resist.

This is not a game.

Some folk won’t survive this winter because of the colossal mistakes made by Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng last week. Claimants already struggling with the meanest, most judgmental welfare system in Europe may give up if benefits aren’t inflation-proofed. Not just because that would mean the biggest single cut to welfare in British history. Not even because inflation for the poorest people (who spend more on energy and food) is nearer 15% than 10% right now. But because, after a long horrible decade, we’re almost back where we started facing austerity, persecution and destitution, with only the prospect of more Holyrood mitigation to protect the most vulnerable in society.

It’s depressing.

READ MORE: Tories to return ZERO Scottish MPs at next election, poll finds

If ever one speech personified everything that’s wrong and cruel in modern Britain it was the Home Secretary on Tuesday. Suella Braverman laughed as she described her dream – a plane full of desperate asylum seekers being shipped off to Rwanda and lazily dismissed millions of folk , including key workers she once applauded – as grasping residents of “Benefits Street”.

What world does she live in?

The Tory bubble. And as the last week has demonstrated, it’s a horrible, back-stabbing and self-deluding place.

But still, none of this really interests the media.

The only big question – did Liz Truss do enough to stumble on as Prime Minister?

Well yes – for a couple of weeks anyway.

For a woman who has pretty well trashed everything she claims to hold dear, Liz Truss was surprisingly bouncy and confident on the podium. She milked the spontaneous wave of Tory sympathy that followed disruption by two gallus Greenpeace women.

How very dare the real world impinge on a Tory love-in? Even the Prime Minister’s toughest detractors instantly recalibrated the target of their anger.

And suitably revved up, you’d have to concede that Liz “growth, growth, growth” Truss clearly believes her own trickle-down shtick.

The trouble is, hardly any economists feel the same.

So what are we left with?

Liz Truss truly believes something that doesn’t work. Huzzah.

She can convincingly articulate something that doesn’t add up. Fab.

Her Tory audience is able to pucker up, stifle doubt and look impressed when necessary. Well done them.

The Prime Minister feels no shame attacking decades of sluggish growth – even though her own party was in charge. Bygones.

And she has indeed converted herself into a battling underdog – battling her own incompetence and the prospect of more unfunded borrowing splurges that have already scared the bejeezus out of the markets.

Her speech also contained the now familiar quota of easily contradicted porkies.

Liz Truss isn’t the first Prime Minister to attend a comprehensive.

And M People haven’t turned Tory – they just can’t stop Truss from hijacking their most popular song.

Mike Pickering, co-writer of Moving On Up, tweeted: “I don’t want my song being a soundtrack to lies.”


READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug: Liz Truss's keynote speech was woefully off-key

So why do they do it?

Could no-one envisage the factual corrections and angry denunciations coming thick and fast? Or is distraction the name of the game. See the new Prime Minister, see the same, tired diversionary old tactics of the last one.

The biggest problem with the speech though, was that willing change doesn’t produce it.

Take the Truss promises on health. There will be GP appointments within two weeks and urgent care on the same day. Ambulances will be sent out faster and A&E will improve. The Covid backlog will be removed and Therese Coffey will also sort out social care.

Cue a glazed smile from the Health Secretary who knows she will have less money not more and dwindling applause in the hall as the undeliverable nature of the Prime Minister’s rash promises became apparent. Even to Tories.

Like James Jamieson, a Bedfordshire Tory councillor who chairs the Local Government Association and told the BBC’s World at One – straight after Truss’s speech – that English councils are almost overwhelmed by a £4 billion increase in costs because of inflation and wage settlements nearer 6% than the 2% budgeted for last year.

“We need an inflationary increase in funding or we face shutting libraries, museums, not collecting bins, fixing roads, safeguarding children, or helping the elderly. The sums don’t work.”

And that’s from a Tory.

Nor does the compromise being concocted to head off the next Tory rebellion over benefit rises. Apparently, there’s to be an inflationary rise for the disabled, carers and single parents but a lower earnings-related rise for the “able-bodied”. According to Lucy Fisher of Times Radio: “There’s a logic about incentivising people to fill vacancies that are leaving the economy in such a sluggish, sclerotic condition.”

Yes, this is the kind of Dickensian nonsense that goes unchallenged by broadcasters so steeped in Tory norms they might as well move into the Spectator office and save the taxi fares.

Where do you start?

For one thing 40% of Universal Credit claimants already have jobs.

For another, many of the “undeserving poor” have paid tax all their lives to provide for periods of unemployment and stigmatising claimants only makes folk too ashamed to sign on. Perhaps that’s the plan. No other country in Europe makes such crass distinctions.

But you can see where this “compromise” is heading.

Back to the horrible, grinding days of blaming benefit “scroungers” for problems that arise from profound inequality. If you want to see sustainable growth and Triple-A rated economies, look at the Nordic nations and the social democracies of northern Europe.

But just look – don’t touch. Don’t aspire. That kind of progressive growth isn’t for citizens of the UK. Instead, Scots must waste time tackling old myths we thought we busted years ago.

This is why we urgently need independence.

And the timing of the Truss speech puts the ball directly in Nicola Sturgeon’s court.

The SNP conference stands between the Prime Minister’s “let them eat cake” conference speech and the new term at Westminster.

BBC coverage for Britain’s third largest party will be nowhere near as fulsome as it was for Labour and the Tories. But Nicola Sturgeon’s speech on Monday will get big coverage.

After all, she is the leader whose continuing popularity eclipses and thus riles Liz Truss; the most articulate member of the “anti-growth coalition”; the one who was proven 100% right for refusing to copy disposable top tax rate cuts and the most experienced and credible social democrat in Britain.

Nicola Sturgeon is perfectly placed to dissect the Prime Minister’s half-baked, sterling-tanking, mortgage-destroying, desperation-inducing economic package in her keynote speech on Monday and make an unassailable case for independence.

The situation for citizens is indeed dire, but the contrast between two countries, two political outlooks and two leaders could not be made with greater force and clarity at any other time.The opportunity exists for an important and unforgettable intervention by Nicola Sturgeon.

And the stakes couldn’t be higher.