BRITISH politics are on hold during the greatest economic crisis that this increasingly disunited kingdom has experienced for decades.

While hundreds of thousands are terrified of the winter ahead and are faced with making stark choices between paying soaring energy bills or keeping food on the table, strikes are proliferating, public services are collapsing and the NHS in England is in dire straits – far worse than an NHS Scotland which is not short of challenges of its own.

Yet while all this is going on, the British Government is on holiday. No one has seen either Boris Johnson or the Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, and the rest of the Conservative Party is preoccupied with a leadership contest in which all that matters is making a pitch to some 160,000 Conservative Party members who are wildly unrepresentative of the wider electorate, being far more right-wing, more white, more elderly, more prosperous and more Southern English than the population as a whole. 

Yet as we have seen with Boris Johnson and Theresa May before him, a prime minister who only gets the job by appealing to the middle-class English nationalist reactionaries of the Conservative Party is guaranteed to be a leader who is not up to the job and who is incapable of responding to the needs of the wider electorate, having boxed themselves into a right-wing corner in order to get the job in the first place.

Liz Truss displays every sign of repeating this dismal pattern. Indeed, if anything, she could be even worse than Johnson as she will be a prisoner of the far-right of the Conservative Party and has a vast ambition which is buoyed up by an utter lack of principles. Truss is willing to adopt any position or policy which will further her naked ambition. 

Truss has already displayed a willingness to rip up generations of Scottish Unionist thinking about the nature of the United Kingdom, going so far as to deny that it is a voluntary union of four nations, but rather "one great country". This is a fundamental and seismic shift in the political landscape of Scotland, at a stroke stripping Scotland of its understanding of itself as a sovereign nation which has chosen to pool its sovereignty in a voluntary union.

In her crass arrogance, Truss has decided to unilaterally impose this drastic demotion to the same status as an English region on Scotland. It is unlikely that she understands or appreciates the import of what she is doing. All she cares about is that it plays well with the Conservative Party members who hold the key to Downing Street. However, she is signing the death warrant for the Union.  

Truss has also signalled a willingness to sideline, undermine or ignore the devolution settlement, and has made it clear that she will not “allow” the people of Scotland another independence referendum, and appears to have gone out of her way to pick a fight with the Scottish Government.

While most people in Scotland do reluctantly accept that there is to be a Conservative government at Westminster even if Scotland hasn't voted for it, the great majority in Scotland, whether in favour of independence or not, also expect that the government in Westminster will respect the democratic decisions of Scotland to choose a government at Holyrood which has a very different agenda and to allow that Scottish Government to get on with the exercising of the powers granted to it by the devolution settlement.  

Truss shows every sign that she will not do so, which will only confirm to those in Scotland whose minds are not already made up on the constitutional debate that devolution cannot after all protect Scotland from a Conservative Party which it did not vote for, and indeed that Scotland's very status as a constituent member in a voluntary union of nations is now seriously threatened.

The Scottish Conservatives, who not so long ago were terribly exercised about demanding that Nicola Sturgeon "get on with the day job", because she had the temerity to spend some of her time working to fulfill the mandate that the Scottish electorate gave her for another independence referendum, do not seem to be terribly bothered that their bosses in Westminster have given up any pretence of doing any job at all, while those of their Westminster colleagues who are still engaging in politics are only talking about the internal party politics of the Conservative Party.

But then, rank hypocrisy and double standards are Conservative values, so we should not be surprised.

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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