I WILL see you your lack of understanding of democracy and I’ll raise you dictating to an independent state, and ruling out legal avenues to a vote. That was Jeremy Hunt’s response to Ruth Davidson running a coach and horses through normal understandings of how democracy works.

To Ruth’s failure to understand how parliaments work, Jeremy – the UK Foreign Secretary no less – added a failure to understand the concept of the sovereignty of independent states and a failure to understand how the law works.

Ruth scored a major own goal in political idiocy with her statement last week that the SNP needs an outright majority by itself in order to press for another independence referendum, overlooking the fact that we live in a democracy and other parties support independence. Jeremy looked at that own goal and went for a hat-trick.

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His first condition is the same as Ruth’s. He thinks that the SNP have to achieve an absolute majority at the next Holyrood elections in 2021 before they can have a mandate for another independence referendum. The SNP already have a mandate. There is already a majority in the Scottish Parliament, and that Parliament has already voted in favour of another independence referendum. However according to Jeremy and Ruth, the Greens don’t count. It’s only SNP support for independence that matters. That will come as a surprise to Patrick Harvie.

The Scottish parliamentary electoral system is one designed to make outright majorities extremely difficult to achieve. What the Tories are trying to do here is to apply the rules of the First Past the Post system to a very different electoral landscape.

Perhaps it has escaped their notice that the Conservatives don’t have a majority in Westminster either, and rely upon the support of the DUP. Or perhaps it’s just that they’re hypocritically applying a different set of standards in Scotland. My money is on the latter.

The second condition is a belter. That’s a belter in the sense that someone has belted all common sense out of Jeremy Hunt. That’s the only rational explanation for him making it. Jeremy’s statement that one of his conditions is that the SNP must set out a clear timetable for the adoption of a new Scottish currency in an independent Scotland before he’ll consider granting a Section 30 order is perhaps the most gob-smacking in its arrogance of all of his supposed conditions.

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The SNP have already set out what their plans are for a Scottish currency. They propose to use Sterling until such time as it’s appropriate to move to a new Scottish currency. Jeremy Hunt might not like those plans, but they’re pretty clear.

Perhaps he just doesn’t understand them. However it’s even more of a failure on Jeremy’s part that he appears to fail to understand that an independent Scotland will be a democracy. Even worse, he fails to understand that an independent Scotland will be a sovereign state and no longer subject to dictates from second rate Conservative leadership candidates.

The Tory leadership contender is actually attempting to dictate to what will be an independent sovereign state about key aspects of its economy. Quite frankly, it’s none of his damn business what an independent Scotland chooses to do about its currency or about any other aspect of its fiscal and monetary policy. That’s the entire point of independence.

Jeremy seems to be suffering from the delusion that the Great British Empire can still send out the gunboats and lay down the law to lesser nations. This isn’t the Sultanate of Zanzibar in the 19th century Jeremy. And you’re no Marquis of Salisbury.

Not every independence supporter has signed up to the SNP’s currency plan, but it’s not the only plan on the table. The Greens have their own ideas about a Scottish currency. And in the event of a yes vote in a referendum, the other Scottish parties will also develop their own ideas and plans about the currency question. Along with the SNP and the Greens, they will put those ideas to the Scottish people in an election.

That’s how democracy works, although as we’ve seen the Conservative party does struggle with that concept. It’s for the electorate in an independent Scotland to vote in the government they choose, with the currency options that they choose, not for Jeremy Hunt. A failing leadership contender in a failing party in a failing state doesn’t get to dictate what an independent Scotland can or cannot do.

His third condition is equally ludicrous. What he’s saying is that the SNP must commit to only ever having another vote on independence if it has the permission of the Conservative party. Jeremy insists that the Scottish Government must commit to ruling out what it pleases him to term a “wildcat” referendum, by which he presumably means a referendum without a Section 30 order.

However, as has been pointed out in the pages of this newspaper before, anyone who tells you that a referendum held without a Section 30 order would be illegal is making a political claim, not stating a legal fact. The only legal fact is that the legality or illegality of such a referendum has never been tested in the courts, and until such time as it is there are legal arguments both for it and against it.

The National:

The new Referendums Bill presented to the Scottish Parliament means that the legality of a referendum would have to be tested in the Scottish courts. It can’t be immediately referred to the UK Supreme Court. It will be for the Scottish courts to decide on its legality – not Jeremy Hunt.

If the courts rule it’s perfectly legal, then no UK government has any grounds for blocking it or failing to recognise it.

However Jeremy’s conditions are exactly like Ruth’s in one crucial respect. Even supposing that the Scottish Government were to take them seriously and to fulfil them to the letter, Jeremy would just find some other reason for refusing another independence referendum.

That is because for the Conservatives, this really isn’t about principles. It’s about obstacles.

Jeremy Hunt’s so-called three conditions for another independence referendum are in fact three reasons why the Conservative party is unfit for democracy.

These conditions undermine parliamentary democracy, undermine the sovereignty of an independent state, and undermine the authority of the Scottish courts. They are three reasons which illustrate the utter desperation and panic which has engulfed the Tories as they face electoral oblivion and the impending end of the UK, and end which is coming about because of the short-termism, political expediency and self-serving nature of the Conservatives themselves.