IS that it, then? Gordon Brown's much-heralded proposals for constitutional change have landed with a resounding “meh”.

Even former senior Labour advisor David Clark was deeply unimpressed, writing on Twitter: "I'm surprised and disappointed at how unambitious this is. It isn't even quasi-federalism. More tinkering with the Heath Robinson contraption of the British state will create new anomalies without resolving the pressures pulling the UK apart."

Even BBC Scotland, which typically greets every Broontervention with orgiastic excitement, was decidedly underwhelmed, relegating the story to second place on the lunchtime Scottish news behind a piece about dualling the A9.

Even BBC Scotland understands that Labour is just going through the motions here. We all know that the real purpose of this latest Broontervention is not to introduce radical constitutional change in the UK – it's to give the Labour Party in Scotland something to use against the SNP in the next General Election which the SNP intends to contest as a de facto referendum on independence.

Support for independence has risen since the Supreme Court ruled that the so-called “Voluntary Union” was just another of the many lies told to Scotland by the Westminster parties, so naturally here comes Gordie with his big bag of vows.

READ MORE: Labour commission led by Gordon Brown unveils plans for reformed UK

Brown insisted that these plans for constitutional change – or more precisely these plans to consult on constitutional change – fundamentally change the nature of the debate in Scotland. Scotland no longer, he claimed, faces a choice between independence and the status quo, it is now a choice between independence and radical decentralisation and greater devolution within a reformed UK.

This is a promise that those of us with not so long memories recall was made to Scotland in 2014 when we were promised federalism. We all know what happened next. We got Brexit, we got the heavily watered-down proposals of the Smith Commission, we got unilateral assaults on the devolution settlement and Westminster power grabs.

And we got Gordon Brown dismissively telling us we should have read the small print. Eight years ago, we were promised federalism, now Labour is offering local authority control of job centres. Today, Starmer said he “hopes” to abolish the House of Lords. Labour hoped to abolish the House of Lords in 1910 … 112 years and six Labour governments later, it's still there.

Based on this report, Labour will be hoping to abolish the House of Lords for another century yet. Even before the report was published, there was already the sound of backtracking. The Observer newspaper reported at the weekend that senior figures in the party were warning Starmer not to waste political capital on constitutional reform that “voters do not bring up on the doorstep”.

READ MORE: Where Alison Thewliss and Stephen Flynn stand on key SNP issues

What was more interesting was what was omitted from Brown's report. It contained no route to an independence referendum for Scotland, or Wales. For all Starmer's talk about the redistribution of power away from the centre, people in Scotland and Wales are still going to require Westminster's permission even if they clearly vote for an independence referendum as Scotland did in 2021, and Westminster reserves to itself the right to withhold that permission.

Yes, Scotland, you can have the decentralisation of power, but not that power. Westminster will still tell you there is an exit door, but won't tell you where it is. Gordon Brown also insisted that Labour will push on with constitutional overhaul even if Scots reject it, confirming that this isn't really about listening to what the people of Scotland or anywhere else actually want, it's yet another top-down Westminster exercise in telling us what is good for us. Labour claim that they want to bring power closer to the people where they live. Except for viewers in Scotland.

Perhaps even more significantly, there was no mention of reform of the House of Commons, the dysfunctional heart of the UK's political and constitutional malaise. It's like promising to do something about a fire-breathing dragon that jealously sits atop a mountain of treasure by rearranging some of the baubles but leaving the dragon very firmly in place.

Given the British constitutional fetishisation of the absolute sovereignty of Westminster – which effectively means whichever party leader controls a majority in the Commons –there is nothing to prevent these proposed constitutional reforms, even if they are ever actually implemented, from being undone by a future Conservative prime minister just as Theresa May sought a Supreme Court ruling that the Better Together promise to write the Sewel Convention into the Scotland Act was meaningless.