Sunak refuses to apologise for Truss's blunder

UKRAINIAN President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made a surprise visit to the UK, and although he is due to address Westminster

he will not be attending PMQs - there's enough carnage in Ukraine without also having to watch the destruction of political accountability in the UK.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn interrupted the mutual Ukrainian congratulation of Labour and the Conservatives and asked Sunak: “The former Prime Minister Liz Truss said she did not regret her time in office. Does the Prime Minister regret her time in office?”

Sunak looked visibly uncomfortable but refused to apologise for the Conservatives gross mismanagement of the economy that has made us all worse off. Of course, Sunak doesn't regret it too much.

The complete mess that Truss made of things is what put Sunak where he is after he'd lost a leadership contest just a few weeks previous.

The future Tories fear: A gender-neutral God

In a desperate attempt to keep stoking the bin fire of the right-wing culture wars, today the Daily Mail is screaming that even God is going to go gender neutral – and in the process entirely missing the point of an incorporeal, ineffable and infinite deity who is not limited by time or space.

God, if you believe in God, transcends gender and the limitations of the human form; being incorporeal means that God is not limited to a single body with a gender specific set of genitalia or sex determining chromosomes. Believers are therefore entirely free to conceptualise God as He, She, They, or It if they so choose, because God is unlimited and is everywhere all at once, except, apparently, in the editorial offices of the Daily Mail.

Propagandalf Neil Oiliver condemned for anti-Semitism

Talking of the unhinged right wing, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the leading Jewish organisation in the UK, and MPs have called on GB News to tackle "conspiratorial anti-Semitism or other misinformation" which they say is broadcast on the channel, and have urged Ofcom to take action. Specific concerns have been raised about a programme presented by Neil Oliver, the anti-independence Propagandalf.

The Board of Deputies believes the show was used to platform antisemitic conspiracy theories. Last Saturday, Oliver used his programme to claim that British politicians are waging a "silent war" to take "total control of the people" and impose a "one-world government". That would be the Oliver who tells us borders are a bad thing when it comes to Scotland complaining about the abolition of borders.

Will Hunt snub Holyrood AGAIN?

MSPs on Holyrood's Finance Committee have for a second time written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt to invite him to appear before the committee in order to discuss UK fiscal matters and the effect that these have on the Scottish Budget.

A previous invite to Hunt was rebuffed in mid-January. Scotland Secretary Alister Jack and Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch have likewise refused invitations to appear before Holyrood committees to explain UK Government policies and their impact upon Scotland and the devolution settlement. It's a safe bet that this second invitation from the Finance Committee will also be declined.

De facto or not, we can't trust Westminster

However, the story which has caused most discussion amongst independence supporters is the publication of a report by SNP MP Stewart McDonald in which he argues that the party must reject the de facto referendum plan at the SNP's special conference in March. McDonald states: "A de facto referendum is a deficient mechanism for settling Scotland's constitutional future, principally because it will not lead to Scotland becoming independent."

He points to the extreme difficulty of obtaining more than 50% of votes cast in a Westminster General Election and, in his view, the likelihood that the British Government would refuse to accept a 50% plus vote for independence as a mandate to open independence negotiations.

He notes: "A government that has developed a taste for challenging a whole string of devolved legislation in the courts and has breached constitutional norms, up to and including the unlawful prorogation of parliament and weaponising Section 35 of the Scotland Act for the first time in the history of devolution, is not going to treat a parliamentary election result as a de facto referendum, especially one that it has lost."

Instead, McDonald argues that the next UK General Election must be used to secure a clear and unambiguous mandate for another independence referendum and for the power to hold one to be transferred from Westminster to Holyrood. However, this idea runs into the same problem that McDonald identifies with a de facto referendum.

Westminster has already ignored one clear and unambiguous mandate for another independence referendum and there is no reason to believe that it would not do so again. No British Prime Minister is going to agree to a Scottish independence referendum that they believe they might lose.

READ MORE: Politico identifies Labour councillor as ex First Minister of Scotland

The chances of success for using the General Election in order to secure a mandate for another referendum would appear to rest upon a hung Parliament in which the SNP holds the balance of power.

Nevertheless it is positive and healthy that in the weeks leading up to the special conference all ideas and options are aired and explored so that delegates are able to make an informed decision. It is no exaggeration to say that what they decide will have enormous ramifications for Scotland's path to independence.

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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