THE annual report from the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Office of the Advocate General was published yesterday to absolutely no applause or acclaim. Not surprising when it amounts to 100 pages of balderdash and whitewash, written in Whitehall-speak and therefore amounting to Whitehall-wash.

About three-quarters of the report deals with statistics and accounts, but it is the opening quarter which contains a cock-eyed view of reality that has the fingerprints of Dominic Cummings all over it. And you can bet he approved it.


SOME poor civil servants under the direction of Alister Jack and Lord Richard Keen, respectively the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Advocate General. It’s their names on the document which is presented to Parliament, and to be fair they don’t hide behind a Whitehall cloak and blame the civil service – no they’re happy to be out and proud about their views.

This is Jack on his predecessor, Rt Hon David Mundell MP: “I would like to pay tribute to his many successes as Secretary of State for Scotland over his four years in that post, and nine years in the department”.

That will be Mundell that Boris Johnson couldn’t wait to get rid of. As for his “many successes”, we’re still waiting.

On Brexit, Jack writes: “I am delighted that the new government has been able to provide clarity, leadership and direction on this and many other issues, and I know that colleagues have responded extremely positively to deliver our ambitious agenda.”

That will be brown-nose beers all round, then. And how about this for sheer effrontery in the week of the biggest power grab yet: “The success of devolution in delivering government closer to the citizen on issues such as health and education, while retaining the strength and solidarity of the United Kingdom, continues to underpin the Union.”

Or not as the case might be.

The report adds: This Office has continued to work closely with colleagues from other UK Government departments, the Scottish Government and key stakeholders as legislation returning powers to the UK has been introduced and moved through Parliament.”

Indeed – and then watched as Johnson and Gove power-grabbed them from Holyrood.


SUPPOSE we should let him have his say: “The past 12 months have seen a period of monumental change across Scotland and the rest of the UK. We have left the EU, are tackling a global pandemic, and are getting ready for the end of the EU transition period.

“As we look forward to ensuring our economy can bounce back after coronavirus, and making the most of new global opportunities outside of the EU, the case for the Union has never been stronger. I am proud to be playing a part in sustaining and strengthening our Union.”

Really, Alister? Do you really want to be boasting about that?


HERE’S a lulu: “Two cases in which my office was deeply involved were: Cherry v Advocate General for Scotland and R (Miller) v The Prime Minister. The cases were heard together before the UK Supreme Court, for which Sir James Eadie QC and I represented the Government. The cases focussed on whether the advice given by the Prime Minister to Her Majesty that Parliament should be prorogued was lawful.

“The Judgment was handed down on September 24, 2019. While the judgment went against the Government, I am proud my office played a central role in this vitally important case.”

He’s “proud” of arguing for the illegal proroguing of Parliament! For goodness sake, the dogs on the streets know that Joanna Cherry and her team wiped the floor with Keen.

His Lordship was also pleased with the way his office dealt with Covid-19 emergency legislation as it affected Scotland.

He wrote: “This is one of many instances of co-operation between the UK and Scottish Governments, which will no doubt be a hallmark of the weeks and months to come.”

Ah, that will be the so-called four-nations approach. Yep, that went well.

Anyway, Keen can say anything he likes, but in Scotland he will always be remembered for his statement in the UK Supreme Court two years ago during the case about the Scottish Continuity Bill.

“The UK Parliament is sovereign, the Scottish Parliament is not”, said Keen, providing the perfect reason for Scotland to regain its independence. Those words will come back to haunt him.