I’M sure it must be a huge relief to readers of The National that despite new Covid restrictions on “mingling”, grouse hunts are exempt from the rule of six. No need to change your autumn leisure plans, no need to put your plus-fours back into storage, no need to worry about your chance to kill all creatures great and small for no good reason other than your own visceral gratification.

Non-shooters north and south of the Border are taking up arms about special exemptions for wee posh boys with big guns.

However, the shooting farrago is not the real politics of this week. That is the Westminster wrecking ball aimed not just at international law but the integrity of our Parliament in Scotland.

The real meat and potatoes of their plans are currently being rolled out at Westminster, with stage one of the Tories’ political coup and emasculation of devolution under way. Because what is very obvious from this circus of corruption is that the ring leaders do not plan to make tweaks to treaties and laws in “limited and specific” ways, as Brandon Lewis so brazenly and so shockingly said last week in the House of Commons.

They plan to take a large scythe and cut it into tiny little useless pieces, centralising power and ripping up the devolved settlement in a power-crazed bonanza. Destruction and chaos, just the way Cummings likes it. The Dom runs the show in the mafia pastiche that is now Whitehall.

So, here we are, a rogue state, a disunited kingdom, isolated, pitied, laughed at on the world stage. If or when this Internal Market Bill finally passes, the UK Government can do what it likes, above the law, above our heads, all powerful and unaccountable until the next election looms, enabled by gutless Tory MPs. Once something this fundamental is taken away, once standards are lowered to such a base level, once democracy is hollowed out, can we ever get any of this back? Such moral and legal quandaries don’t seem to trouble the current cohort of Tory MPs.

In other not-so-surprising news, the Scottish Tories and new leader Douglas Ross were happy to jump on the shaft-Scotland bandwagon on Monday and vote through the complete destruction of Scots democratic choice and the illegal power grab of devolution despite the rightful international and domestic outcry.

Ross has said he plans to be a future FM of Scotland; it’s obvious now that he meant to say he’d like to be underdog to the centralisation of power at Number 10, the imperial masters very much in charge, Scots safely shoved back in their box.

Meanwhile, at the Future Relationship with the European Union Committee meeting at Parliament yesterday, the Scottish and Welsh Brexit Ministers, Mike Russell and Jeremy Miles, reported that there was “absolutely no trust” between Holyrood and Westminster now, and that they don’t “accept for a second” that the Internal Market Bill enhances devolution as Gove et al have been sleekitly arguing.

Mike Russell warned that our public services could be opened up to a whole host of private tenders, such as American health companies forcing their way in and imposing changes that would drastically fail to match Scots values and aspirations for how we care about our people as just one example. Truth versus lies, this is what we now face.

So Michael is spot on about this. But has he thought through the full implications? Can the SNP leadership seriously maintain that a rogue Government intent on breaching international law will meekly accede to a Section 30 demand just because Scots vote for it for the umpteenth time?

In light of this week‘s events, it is not a credible position and a new strategy is urgently required.

READ MORE: The UK Government will clearly not view indyref2 as binding

In the midst of this clusterbourach, it is even more ironic that we should have celebrated International Democracy Day this week.

In a bold and shameful move, the UK Government’s Foreign Office issued some social media content yesterday to commemorate the day complete with the hashtag #BeHeard. Without a shred of decency or self-reflection, its post read “all around the world, people are fighting for freedom, democracy and fundamental human rights. Today on IDD, we restate our commitment to protect these values wherever they are threatened”.

This takes bare-faced gaslighting by this corrupt Government to a whole new level. Well, HEAR THIS! The threat is in the UK, right now – freedom, democracy and human rights, cast aside by zealots and dangerous ideologists, led by men crazed with power and determined to realise their pet project, no matter how much damage and carnage, no matter how bitter the end result. They’re not listening to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, our voices are not heard.

It seems fitting, then, to end with a recent notorious quote from an anonymous source at the UK civil service who tweeted shortly after Johnson’s backing of his special adviser’s rule-breaking trip to Durham during lockdown: “Arrogant and offensive. Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?”

We don’t have to imagine it, we are living it, we are being suffocated by their web of lies. If we don’t stand up to them now, when will we do it? If not now, then when?