MANY of us were left scratching our heads after Rishi Sunak’s frankly baffling speech lionising British values.

Whatever values are those, we asked. In recent days the answer to the question has become terrifyingly clear.

It means, for example, refusing to stop Britain supply the Israeli government with weapons in the face of all the evidence showing that it is breaking international law by its actions in Gaza.

It’s worth repeating what we know has been happening there. More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since the conflict started, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Can we trust those figures? The ministry has issued a 212-page list of the names of the dead and their identity numbers.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: SNP must keep up pressure on UK over Israeli arms sales

The director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad, has said that journalists have confirmed the high number of casualties.

That number includes around 3000 children. The most recent victims include seven aid workers with the charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) – three of them British … and yes, they have been named and identified – killed by an Israeli air strike which hit an aid convoy.

WCK founder Jose Andres has said he believes the killings were no mistake, a claim denied by Israel. Andres said: “It was really a direct attack on clearly marked vehicles whose movements were known by everybody at the IDF (Israel Defence Forces).”

There is a consensus of expert opinion that Israel’s actions in Gaza are breaking international law and that Britain is continuing to sell arms to the Israeli government. This week more than 600 academics, lawyers and judges – including three former UK Supreme Court judges – warned that the sale of arms also breaches international law.

The National: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces a test of his authority (PA)

In a 17-page letter to the Prime Minister (above), they say that the sale “falls significantly short of your government’s obligations under international law”.

Does this sound like Britain described by Sunak as a “patriotic, liberal, democratic society with a proud past and a bright future”, as recently as March? Of course then he was trying to enlist public support against the “extremists” challenging that liberal society.

Those “extremists”, he said, were trying to “take advantage of the very human angst that we all feel ... about the terrible suffering that war brings to the innocent, to women and children … to advance a divisive, hateful ideological agenda”.

It’s hard to imagine a more hateful ideological agenda than continuing to supply arms to a government in the sure and certain knowledge that they will be used to murder innocent men, women and children trapped in a tiny sliver of land.

READ MORE: David Pratt: The ‘other’ crucial factors that will continue to shape war in Gaza

Sunak, of course, continues to make all the right noises about Gaza without lifting a finger to help. He refuses to call for an immediate ceasefire on the grounds it would be “in no-one’s interests”, preferring to get caught up in semantics by supporting a “sustainable ceasefire” instead.

He says that he is “appalled” at the killing of aid workers. He says he wants an “urgent investigation” into the deaths. But actually doing something to stop the sale of arms to the Israeli government? That, it seems, remains a step too far.

Sunak insists that Israel must “follow international law”. Eh? What planet is this man on? How many bodies of children must pile up before he acknowledges that Israel turned its back on international law some considerable time ago?

The BBC reports that the Prime Minister is “under pressure” to halt the sale of those deadly weapons – but you won’t find that pressure coming from the official UK opposition. Keir Starmer shared Sunak’s pedantry. He won’t call for a block on the sale until “clear evidence” emerges that Israel is breaking international law, impossible as it is to see what more evidence is needed.

The National: Alicia Kearns

Which is a strange position to take when you consider that Alicia Kearns (above), the Tory chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, earlier this week claimed ministers had been told by their lawyers that Israel had violated international humanitarian law in its offensive on Gaza.

The only way to clear up this matter is to publish as soon as possible the legal advice given to the UK Government. That way neither the Tories or Labour will be able to hide behind that legal advice before making a decision on the arms sale to Israel.

Instead, key Starmer ally Pat McFadden – a Labour MP with the made-up title of shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – squirmed under questioning from Sky News’s Kay Burley before he eventually admitted the party continued to support the arms sale.

It's yet another slap in the face for Labour’s leader in Scotland Anas Sarwar, who has consistently argued for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and who has been consistently ignored. His boss only cared about backing a ceasefire when he had an opportunity to get one over on the SNP in the House of Commons. It was pathetic to watch.

How long can Sarwar continue to support a party leader whose opposition to a UK-fuelled genocide is so supine?

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug: Why have Anas Sarwar and Scottish Labour suddenly gone silent?

The SNP have consistently been on the right side of history on the Gaza conflict. Humza Yousaf has again called on Sunak to end the arms sale after the Prime Minister completely ignored his previous demand. But much of the Scottish media prefers to try to embarrass the First Minister by insisting his hate crime legislation says the direct opposite of what

it means. Meanwhile Sunak gets away with “standing up” for fictitious British values virtually unchallenged. He’s at it yet again this week by threatening to drag the UK out of human rights legislation to prevent a block on his barking plot to send refugees to Rwanda.

He wants to “dis-apply” the Human Rights Act which gives British citizens the right to life, to freedom from torture and degrading treatment, to freedom from slavery and the right to liberty and security.

Now I don’t know about you but these are rights I prize and don’t want to see scrapped on the whim of a batshit Tory PM.

Technically human rights are devolved to Scotland but frankly I don’t trust Westminster to honour that agreement. And I don’t trust the Labour Party to fight for our rights when it has so meekly accepted the dilution of those rights in other spheres.

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug: Do we believe Israel 'accidentally' killed almost 200 aid workers?

It’s not political point-scoring to point out that the SNP’s position has considerable support in Scotland. Look, for example, at the enthusiastic reaction to The National’s campaign to raise funds for Medical Aid for Palestinians, which astonishingly raised more than £100,000 in around a week.

Scotland’s cultural world has also gathered to show its support for Gaza. Young Fathers announced this week that all the profits from their show in Cambridge would go to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

“We will be donating the profits from our fee, our merch sales and also taking donations at the merch stand,” the band said on social media.

Many cultural figures have pledged not to perform or exhibit in Israel and not to participate in any events supported by arms companies enabling war in Palestine, or accept any funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel.

The boycott was organised by Bella Caledonia and those who have signed up include Irvine Welsh, Darren McGarvey, Christopher Brookmyre, James Kelman, Young Fathers, Layla-Roxanne Hill and many more.

They signed up to a statement saying: “As cultural workers we refuse to allow our art to be exploited by an apartheid state that disregards international law and universal principles of human rights.

“We call for an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid and stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and wider Palestine. We call for the release of all hostages and political prisoners.”

While Scotland shows its opposition to genocide in Gaza the British government is prevaricating on action which would help to bring it to an end.

This and other very different stances on key decisions is further proof that the clock is ticking on the future of a Union being torn apart.