The National:

JUST in case the people of Scotland haven’t had quite enough of being told what’s good for them by privately educated men from the south of England, Max Hastings has now chimed in.

Hastings, who was previously editor-in-chief of the Telegraph and of the London Evening Standard, has penned an article on the break up of the UK for Bloomberg.

In this article, Hastings manages to prove beyond all doubt that he has absolutely no sense of irony at all.

One example of this comes after he claims the Scottish “resent the English landowners who, since the days of Queen Victoria, have come to holiday in the wildernesses of the Highlands, shoot grouse and deer, fish for salmon and trout, and patronize the natives as tartan peasants”.

Just a few paragraphs later Hastings informs us: “I have loved Scotland all my life, and still spend several weeks a year in its glorious wildernesses.”

That Hastings is himself one of these holidaying Englishmen visiting what he calls "the land of haggis and bagpipes" seems to go over his head.

READ MORE: Who will speak up for a democratic England in the slow break-up of Britain?

Further proof of his terrific failure to grasp irony, or much at all, comes a few lines later.

The former BBC journalist writes: “[Scotland] is a little country, isolated at the extremity of a land mass. The great Scottish novelist Walter Scott wrote two centuries ago, ‘London licks the butter off our bread, by opening a better market for ambition.’ That is no less true now than then.”

Firstly, the UK being London-centric, with the English capital stealing others’ “butter”, is surely an argument for independence, not against it.

Secondly, just a few paragraphs earlier Hastings was observing how Scotland’s “31,000 square miles make up almost one-third of the land area of the UK”. The break-up of the Union, he said, would leave England “shrunken” and “could trigger demands for England to forfeit its United Nations Security Council seat”.

The National:

He goes on: “[England] would presumably retain the nuclear weapons that constitute its residual claim on a place at the top table. But if the issue were put to a vote of the General Assembly, Brazil, India, Nigeria and other contenders would certainly pitch their own claims.”

So, Hastings, is Scotland big or small? And where are all those nuclear weapons being kept exactly?

Ultimately he concludes: “Should the Scots and Northern Irish go, given that the English have most of the people and the wealth, there is no logical reason why a future England should cut any slighter a figure on the world stage than does Britain today.”

Good for England.

The knight of the realm’s astute observations continue to astound as he moves onto the SNP.

Nicola Sturgeon, he tells us, is “fluent and ruthless” but her governing of Scotland has been “shambolic”. Hasting says this was “highlighted by [the] bungling of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout”.

The National: Scotland's vaccine programme focused on the elderly and care homes first of allScotland's vaccine programme focused on the elderly and care homes first of all

To prove this point Hastings, or his editors, have linked to a Guardian article that is almost three weeks old. Back in January, the speed of the vaccine rollout was huge news as the Tory-led English Government was “winning” the race of percentages.

The Unionist media proudly highlighted this fact every single day for weeks, only to have it pointed out that Scotland’s approach was more “person-centred” and more focused on the most vulnerable, as the experts had suggested.

However, more recently and with the most vulnerable groups completed, Scotland has achieved the fastest vaccine rate in Europe, quite significantly faster than England. That same Unionist media don’t seem so interested in the story anymore.

Pointing to the more recent data seems outside of Hastings’ capability. He is a historian after all.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon reacts as data shows Scotland's vaccine roll-out leading in Europe

Unperturbed and unaware, Hastings plows on. He says: “Ironically, Sturgeon’s people can afford the SNP’s blunderings only because it is funded by handouts from London ... Scotland generates £66bn in tax, including North Sea oil revenue, but spends an additional £15bn.”

Presumably he got this from the GERS figures. In actual fact Scotland’s Barnett block grant in 2019/2020 amounted to £32bn. The £15bn deficit he is pointing to was not what Scotland “spends”, but what Westminster spends on Scotland’s behalf.

The question Hastings posits: “Can Scots afford to go it alone?”, becomes ridiculous. A better question might be, can Scotland afford not to?

The list goes on. Hastings’ article is more than 2000 words.

Next he brings his attention onto Boris Johnson’s ill-advised visit north of the Border last month.

The National:

Hastings writes: “When Johnson paid an uninvited visit last month, he dismissed talk of an independence referendum as ‘completely irrelevant to the concerns of most people,’ who are rather preoccupied with Covid-19. The fact that Johnson may have been right made it no less foolish for himself, a caricature Englishman, to trample on Scots’ sensitivities.”

“The fact that Johnson may have been right”? Even if Johnson was right that most Scots don’t want independence or a referendum (at least 20 polls suggest otherwise), he most certainly was not in the right to harp on about Covid while flouting travel rules in place for that very reason.

READ MORE: WATCH: Ian Blackford rips into Boris Johnson over visit to vaccine lab

What’s more, he went to a laboratory despite having been told of a virus outbreak at the site just 24 hours earlier. Hardly “right”.

Perhaps Hastings does manage not to get every single thing wrong. He states: “The northern independence movement will be hard to stop.”

Too right it will.

You can read Hastings' full article here