THERE have been a number of democratic events in Scotland over the past six years. But according to the Labour party and the Tories, the only one that needs to be respected is the No vote in September 2014. But they must be worried.

You can tell because the British nationalists are trotting out all the auld warriors from 2014, like a 1980s boy band on a reunion tour reprising its greatest hits to a gaggle of elderly fans, still pretending that they’re down wiv da yoof.

There’s Jim Murphy, now fully recovered from the horrific injuries his dry cleaning bill suffered during the Battle of Murphy’s Egg, and the chaos of St Enoch’s Square when he walked into an independence supporter’s placard. Jim, Jim, where have you been? Scottish politics has fundimundelly changed since you were last relevant. Jim has appeared on a Perrier crate, because he was speaking in a posher part of London, to inform the Foreign Press Association why there will be no independence referendum this year and why according to him there shouldn’t be.

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug: Tories have killed off Scotland's democracy

This is because the guy who announced that defeating the SNP was proving far easier than he anticipated and then lost his own seat and all but one of the rest of the 41 seats that Labour held at the start of his leadership of the Scottish branch office is the go-to guy when it comes to explaining how to get one over the Scottish independence movement. Jim’s greatest achievement in politics was providing us with the answer to the question: how many Scottish Labour MPs does it take to change a lightbulb? All of them.

Then there’s the Gordosaurus himself. Gordie Broon has made so many interventions for the very first time that he’s now been downgraded to writing keynote articles. Even Reporting Scotland is losing its enthusiasm for the former Prime Minister. Yes, Gordie has written his column again. You always know that the Union is in trouble when Gordie Broon is wheeled out to bleat on again about federalism. You know, that federalism that he promised us in 2014.

The federalism that he told us that he personally was going to guarantee but then decided that he’d rather bugger off on the lecture circuit. That federalism and reform of the House of Lords that’s now so vitally important but which he did the square root of hee haw about when he was Prime Minister and had a majority of 66 in the Commons.

Now, as well as conjuring up the rotten corpse of the federalism fairy, which has died more deaths than Christopher Lee in a Hammer Horror movie, he wants to warn us that the UK is “too precious to be lost to narrow nationalism”.

The National: Gordon Brown

Gordie identifies no less than five narrow nationalisms within the UK. Unsurprisingly his own brand of British nationalism isn’t one of them. This is of course because Gordie’s British nationalism is better than all other nationalisms by virtue of not being nationalist at all. Or as Gordie himself says of nationalism, it considers itself unique. The first four of the narrow nationalisms that Gordie identifies are Scottish nationalism, Welsh nationalism, Irish nationalism, and something called Ulster nationalism.

I’ve never heard of Ulster nationalism. What he means is British nationalism in Northern Ireland. But Gordie doesn’t want to call it that because that would mean associating British nationalism with Orange walks, sectarianism, bigotry, and the violence of the Troubles.

READ MORE: You can’t solve drugs deaths without fixing the underlying cause

However, it's his fifth nationalism that is really telling about Gordon Brown’s deliberate blind spot. The fifth nationalism is something he calls Brexit nationalism, because presumably calling it English nationalism would give the game away about the true nature of the UK’s unitary state.

In fact Gordie doesn’t mention English nationalism at all. It’s a strangely anglocentric viewpoint for a supposedly Scottish Unionist politician to take. There has never been a clear distinction between English nationalism and British nationalism in England.

Yet the reality is that it’s English nationalism masquerading as British nationalism which is driving the break up of the UK. It is English nationalism that is taking Scotland out of the EU against its will. It is votes and Commons seats based upon English nationalism that empowers Boris Johnson’s refusal to permit Scotland to have another independence referendum. As long as those things can happen, you cannot pretend that the UK is a union of equals. And as long as the UK is not a union of equals you cannot pretend that there’s a snowball’s hope in hell of any form of federalism within the UK, because the UK, as it is, serves perfectly well as a vehicle for English nationalism.

The National: Gordon Brown

But the truth is that Gordon Brown and the Labour governments that he led and served in were happy to indulge in narrow British nationalism when it suited them. Remember British jobs for British workers, Gordie? We do if you don’t.

The Iraq war and the glorification of the military with the annual exercise in poppy shaming, those happened under Labour’s watch too. And ever since Labour left office, they’ve scarcely been at the forefront of opposition to narrow British nationalism. It’s entirely likely that Brexit wouldn’t have happened if the Labour party had taken a strong stance against it. But the party was far more concerned about pandering to the narrow nationalism of its voters in the English regions. Labour was too toothless and compromised to oppose it.

It’s all very well for the likes of Gordon Brown and figures within the Labour party in Scotland to keep coming up with yet more proposals for federalism. What they need to do, what they never do, is to come up with a credible structure and political plan for delivering their precious federalism. The reason that they don’t is because England isn’t interested. The reason that they can’t is because the UK is a political mechanism for maintaining the privileges and wealth of London and the south-east of England and the supremacy of Westminster.

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug’s big predictions for politics in 2020

Proposals for federalism are simply props in the stage play of democracy that passes for true democracy within the UK. They’re the pretty baubles to distract us from the real prospect of substantive and meaningful change represented by independence.

The National: Gordon Brown

But whether Gordon Brown is sincere or not is not the problem. The problem with his interventions is that he’s yesterday’s man, proposing solutions to problems that he ignored when he was in office, making promises he cannot keep because he’s powerless to do anything about them. The reality that Gordie cannot face up to is that the UK cannot be meaningfully reformed, because if it ever was, it would cease to be the UK.

The UK can only be left behind. That’s a conclusion that more and more people in Scotland are coming to, no matter how many times that Jim Murphy stands on an Irn Bru crate to tell us that we’re too poor, or how many times Gordon Brown attempts to revive the cold dead corpse of the federalism fairy.