SEEMS as if Michael Gove is losing out on the most sleekit cabinet minister crown to wur ain Alister Jack. You know the chap – the one who is the Tory government’s chief spy in these parts.

The guy who spent millions of our tax money on vanity projects like Scotland Office hubs despite the fact that we have an actual parliament down the road from the Edinburgh one.

Now we have Mr Jack – rumoured to be Lord Jack ere long – the bloke who ­constantly lectures the Scottish ­Government on the need for ­transparency and ­inter-governmental co-operation, ­admitting he has been drawing up plans for a new nuclear plant in Scotland.

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This despite knowing full well most of the Scottish people have long set their face against more nuclear power. Despite the fact that Scotland is the most energy-rich nation in the UK. Despite the fact that the proposed plants in England are already wildly over budget and much delayed.

As per.

And they’re being constructed by a ­combination of French and Chinese ­investment (how’s that taking back ­control coming along boys?). They also take ­painfully long to come on stream which hardly makes them the answer to an urgent climate crisis.

Jack’s (below) admission emerged during a Q&A session of the constitution committee in the Lords. And the relevant question, you will not be rocked back on your heels to learn, came from the Lord Foulkes, the man who is to independence what I am to Champions League footy.

The National: File photo dated 15/03/22 of Scottish Secretary Alister Jack who has said "It is not possible for the next general election to be a de facto referendum on Scottish independence." Issue date: Thursday July 7, 2022.

The Labour Lord apparently has little difficulty in conniving with a Tory grandee. Not if it helps dish the Nats.

Of course, none of all this is about ­Scottish energy needs. We’re already constructing a subsea cable to take energy generated here to England, given that we have loads of the stuff and they haven’t. Given that we’re still operating on energy deals which were struck long before renewables became a thing. Parts of rural Scotland are paying just short of 15 times more than the south of England for their electricity.

Doubtless these electricity transfers will become that much easier if Sir Keir ­Starmer wins the election and bases his much-trumpeted Great British Energy ­company north of the border. Beads and natives spring to mind.

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It’s been quite the week for ­cross-Border schmoozing all in all. According to ­Rishi Sunak, listed alongside dictators, ­invaders, and cyber warriors as a real and present danger to “our values” are those kenspeckle extremists who support the dismantling of the United Kingdom. Aka well nigh half the Scottish ­population.

The PM also took aim, yet again, at the need to stop “foreign courts” interfering in UK democracy. I wonder if he meant the one in Northern Ireland which has just pronounced his Rwanda plans illegal under the Good Friday Agreement and his very own Windsor Framework.

In truth, I’ve been the recipient of very many insults over the years but being ­labelled an extremist is a new one.

There doesn’t even seem to be a website for ­tartan balaclavas. Wakey, wakey, Amazon Retail, you’re missing out on a wheen of prospective customers in Scotland. At 48% of the population, it’s hardly a niche market.

There was a third significant ­development alongside the extremist jibe and the secret plans to impose nuclear plants on the nation which can’t find a barge pole long enough to distance it from matters ­nuclear. There was a poll on ­independence. Not the usual ones ­taking the temperature of Scottish voters on the subject.

No, this one was to inquire of our ­English cousins how they might view ­becoming an independent country shorn of Scotland (and maybe Wales and Northern Ireland in the fullness of ­electoral time.) Guess what? Half of England also ­fancies the chance to rend the UK ­asunder. Honestly, what damned ­extremism is this?

There’s little doubt that English ­nationalism is on the rise, as witness the number of folk on social media who are utterly convinced that the subsidy junkies all live north of Carlisle. Subsidy junkies and whingeing Jocks – that’s us folks.

In truth, I take a very much more benign view of my English friends with whom I hope to have a healthy, grown-up kind of relationship when our two countries stop pretending there is or ever was a ­union of equals. You can’t have a ­partnership where one partner has no means of ­severing the deal. They used to call it ­democracy.

Mr Jack seems to have decided already that there will be a Unionist government in Scotland which is a ­remarkable ­admission from a Unionist politician ­serving in a Conservative and Unionist government.

It is a bit of a leap from Labour winning power at Westminster to the supposition that it can pull off the same trick with the Scottish electorate. I’ve always thought that the fact that one party has been in government for a long time in Scotland is of greater danger to it than the “changed” Labour Party whose virtues were so ­loudly championed by Sir Keir and his team at their pre-election rally this last week.

In fact, in some respects, it hasn’t changed at all. It is still a profoundly ­Unionist ­outfit and any Scot who ­supposes that voting Labour in Scotland will bring ­either a referendum or ­independence ­closer to their grasp is truly deluded.

Last week, Anas Sarwar was at pains to insist that he and the boss man in London were very much on the same page, and in the matter of Scotland having the right of any sovereign nation to decide on its own future that is most certainly true.

Admittedly, Mr Sarwar hasn’t gone for exactly the same décor sense and wouldn’t appear to have a very large ­Union flag planted in his office such as is the case in Sir Keir’s private quarters. Looks good on the telly, it seems, though I doubt if it hoovers up many undecided voters in Scotland.

I seem to recall Tony Blair (below) being so concerned that the forces of right-wing darkness had essentially captured the Union flag that he made a determined effort to re-unite it with his own party. Sir Keir – who seems something of a Blairite chum these days – is obviously intent on emphasising the point.

The National: Sir Tony Blair (Victoria Jones/PA)

You may have noticed, inter alia, at the Labour event in Thurrock, Essex this last week that no mention was made of the brave new, much-promised world of ­workers’ rights. Like the pledge on the green revolution and so much else, it seems to have slipped well down the “first steps” batting order.

Labour apologists were quickly on the airwaves insisting that some things would have to wait until the financial situation was a lot rosier. That nothing would be promised without an accurate price tag attached.

On the face of it, perfectly sensible. ­Except that hastily added to what had been five pledges last year was a sixth promising tough new border controls. From where I’m sitting, that sounds like dangerously like planning to govern via focus groups.

It was the sainted Nigel Lawson – the Brexiteer and climate change denier now happily ensconced in La Belle France – who suggested, “to govern is to choose. To appear to be unable to choose is to appear to be unable to govern”.

The National: Sir Keir Starmer has refused to commit to further spending under a Labour government amid growing calls from unions for him to back more of their policy priorities (BBC/PA)

Sir Keir’s (above) choice of making migration one of his latest priorities means he has chosen to appeal to certain sections of the English electorate rather than ­responding to the need to loosen the same ­controls to respond to Scotland’s current ­demography.

It means, rather like Sunak, he just doesn’t “get” Scotland at all. Maybe it’s time he threw in his lot with the other English men and women who’ve decided they’d like to go it alone.