YOU can practically smell the panic from die-hard opponents of Scottish independence as they realise that Theresa May's "precious Union" is about to crumble to dust, thanks largely to the arrogance and contempt of those self-same Anglo-British nationalists who claim to love Scotland and this so-called Union.

There are a number of telling signs of this panic, such as the recent revival of reheated scare stories from 2014, and the almost constant gaslighting from Conservatives who assert that they are "augmenting devolution". Even though we can all see that the Westminster Tories are by-passing and undermining the powers of the Scottish Parliament, and replacing Holyrood funding with Westminster pork barrel projects which shamelessly and transparently have the aim of boosting Conservative support.

However, the clearest sign of their blind panic is that outwith the Labour party, there is no longer any talk of substantial extra powers for Holyrood, or the transformation of the UK into a federal system. Even the Labour party is realising that the federalism pony has been flogged to death and is convincing to absolutely no one.

Instead, the Über-unionists are descending into rank authoritarianism and denial of democracy. Labour MP Ian Murray has already demanded that Scottish civil servants should not be permitted to work on preparatory work for another referendum, despite the fact that they are engaged in assisting the Scottish Government to implement its manifesto commitments. Even former Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins recognised that Murray's call was fundamentally undemocratic and an unwelcome attempt to politicise the civil service.

Now right-wing journalist Stephen Daisley has gone one further and demanded that Westminster introduce legislation to prohibit Holyrood from ever holding a referendum, a consultative ballot or a citizens' assembly on the constitution without the express prior consent of the Westminster Government. He also suggests that the civil service rules should be changed in order to prevent civil servants from carrying out any activities related to independence, unless Westminster has legislated to permit a referendum.

He also urges both the Labour and Conservative parties to pledge that they will never permit another independence referendum, even if the electorate of Scotland votes to have one.

What Daisley is proposing is shocking in its authoritarian contempt for democracy in Scotland. It also represents a unilateral ripping up of the Scottish Claim of Right, which was agreed to by all the anti-independence parties. This guarantees the absolute right of the people of Scotland to choose the form of government best suited to their needs.

Furthermore, Daisley's proposal entails a fundamental change in the nature of the UK and the destruction of traditional Scottish Unionism. It has always been a point of principle among traditional Scottish Unionists that the UK’s union is founded on consent. Daisley's idea would destroy that and turn the UK into a state founded upon coercion. This would most likely be counterproductive as it would outrage public opinion in Scotland, especially the crucial groups of moderate Unionists and those who are undecided on the constitutional issue.

Either Daisley is being serious here, in which case he is revealing himself as an anti-democratic authoritarian, who should be confined to the far fringes of British nationalist totalitarian moon howlers, whose opinions deprive them of any right to be taken seriously in democratic political debate. Or Daisley is trolling, in which case he's simply a petulant and immature foot-stamping attention seeker, who is more to be pitied than anything else.

Either way, what this crazed and desperate proposal tells us is that opponents of Scottish independence are terrified of another independence referendum because they know that they themselves have destroyed the strongest arguments that they deployed in 2014 and that they know they have no persuasive positive case to make. You don't try to prevent a referendum from ever happening when you are confident of winning it. Daisley's proposal is not so much a serious political plan, it's more a desperate and panicked cry for help.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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