IF you are in the market for a new job, how does £40k a year to help promote the UK Government’s “Union agenda” sound?

As reported in the Sunday National, there are two posts currently being advertised for civil service senior executives who can help make the “benefits of the Union clear, tangible and understood”.

The advert brings to mind an image of a windowless corner office, filled with dusty boxes of 2014 No campaign memorabilia and dart boards plastered with the faces of prominent SNP politicians.

A job is a job, and best of luck to whoever takes up the role but they have a fair task on their hands in trying to convince people that this rotten, unequal Union is something worth saving.

I wonder what structure the interviews will take.

Will candidates be asked to demonstrate their experience in the key competencies required for the role using the trusty STAR method?

Situation: “I saw a tweet about money the Scottish Government had spent planning for a second independence referendum.”

Task: “I knew it was important to highlight such a shameful waste of taxpayers’ money by the devolved administration.”

Action: “I quote-tweeted the post, making sure to use plenty of Union Flag emojis and including the hashtags #NoMeansNo #BringBackBoris #HaplessHumza so it would reach a wide audience of like-minded individuals.’”

Result: “I obtained two new followers – @GovesGirl69 and @BritTillIDie9734783.”

Great stuff, you’ve got the job!

There is more than a whiff of hypocrisy at play here. The UK Government isn’t shy about splashing the cash to try to save the “Precious Union”, so why is there always such an outcry around money spent by the Scottish Government to promote or plan for an independence referendum?

There is often a particular focus on any aspect of civil service involvement in such initiatives.

Last month, Cabinet Secretary Simon Case said it would be “a bit worrying” if taxpayer money was spent on efforts for independence. This came after it was reported that the UK government was investigating Scottish Government spending on a dedicated Minister for Independence.

READ MORE: Scottish Government defends civil servants working on independence case

Asked by Labour peer George Foulkes about the appointment of Jamie Hepburn to that role, Case responded: “We are looking at some of these specifics as we speak and doing that with ministers at the moment to see whether we need to issue further guidance and clarification to civil servants about what is and is not appropriate spending.”

Foulkes went on to say that if civil servants are “effectively supporting ministers who want to break-up the United Kingdom, and these are United Kingdom civil servants paid for by taxpayers’ money, it would be a bit unusual and a bit worrying, wouldn’t it?”.

This kind of knee-jerk silliness any time the cause of independence is promoted or advanced by a party that was elected on a manifesto commitment to pursue those very aims betrays the fears of Unionist politicians.

Their assurances that the constitutional question was “settled” in 2014 ring hollow when they are still clearly on high alert to any change in public mood.

It’s not enough that the UK Government has the power to block a second independence referendum, it also wants to stifle any opportunity for advancing the case for Yes.

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The UK Government is well within its rights to spend money from the budget it controls on a couple of pro-Union lieutenants People will argue about whether it is a wise or necessary use of funds, but that’s the Tories’ decision to take.

But it works both ways. It’s all well and good proclaiming that the Scotland has the most powerful devolved parliament in the world when you want to make the case for why obtaining the full powers of independence is unnecessary.

But to say that while also doing everything in your power to stymie Scotland’s elected representatives when they make decisions about how and when those powers should be used is rank hypocrisy.

We’re in the unusual – and maddening – situation where popular support for independence is the highest level it has ever been, consistently hovering around the 50% mark but we’re no closer to actually achieving a referendum.

Moreover, we are dealing with a UK Government that has shown it isn’t afraid to employ dirty tricks to neuter the hard-won powers the Scottish Parliament already has.

READ MORE: Brian Cox to address Scottish independence rally

On this, Scottish Unionist politicians – particularly, Scottish Labour – have a lot to answer for.

Their fortunes have become so reliant on being seen to be anti-independence that they are willing to overlook anti-democratic interference in Scotland’s affairs by a failing Tory government.

They join in with the Tory cries of indignation when the Scottish Government spends money on pro-independence activity, but are silent when the UK Government spend money in a similar way.

The case for the Union in tatters. Double-standards are all they have left.