WHEN the founding fathers of the USA unyoked themselves from the UK, they declared that “all men are born equal”. This is currently something of a sick joke in the land of the free and the home of the brave, but, arguably, an even bigger cause of mirthless laughter on this side of the pond.

There are myriad reasons for wanting Scotland also to break free of the chains that bind us to a UK regime as malign as it is incompetent, but perhaps the most pressing is how the UK Government presides over a system where not only are folks born unequal, but that inequity dogs the rest of their lives.

A glance around the UK’s Cabinet table offers you a view of a group of almost always privately educated, very rich people. This is why, when people like the current chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, lecture us on the continuing need for austerity and sacrifice, as he did last Friday, he didn’t actually mean for himself or his colleagues. Cost of living crises are only for the little people.

His entitled tribe marches to a different drum beat from the poor bloody taxpaying infantry. Ah yes, tax. The kind that the rest of us cough up more or less willingly when we accept that our taxes are what funds what’s left of our public services after serial Conservative administrations.

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The kind that a former Tory chancellor omitted “carelessly” to pay in full, incurring a penalty on an unpaid seven-figure sum. Interestingly, the boss man of His Majesty’s inland revenue arrangements felt prompted to offer the thought that there are “no penalties for innocent errors”.

The government was, of course, embarrassed and mortified. Like hell they were! The PM found a small patch of unused long grass into which to kick an inquiry. Though the rest of us might well wonder exactly what needed further inquiring into.

Then there’s the former PM, ejected from office after one scandal too many, one lie too blatant, and now the subject of a plot to re-instate him. Well, not exactly a plot, since the enthusiasts for this novel brand of political suicide are pretty open about their fanboy status. The object of it joined the “in crowd” at Davos before communing yet again with the Ukrainian leader.

Quite why any of this was the business of a backbench MP who has displayed a great reluctance to visit his own constituency since his defenestration is on the hazy side of vague. Nobody seems to query this post-office grandstanding, least of all the man who now occupies Number 10. Mr Sunak, displaying all the natural belligerence of a man who seems unable to punch his way out of a paper bag, is apparently content to let BJ swan around as if he still mattered.

A chap called Alex Chisholm gave evidence to a senior Commons committee this week. Being the permanent secretary in the Cabinet Office, AKA the biggest civil service cheese in his department, he was able to explain why you and I were paying shedloads of money to lawyers to defend BJ from his partygate antics.

Originally, the law firm tasked with explaining why the former PM just kept stumbling into shindigs of which he knew nothing were given just short of £130k for their trouble. Now, Mr Chisholm was able to say that figure would be £220k, though he couldn’t absolutely promise there would be no more uplifts. These things take time, dontcha know? And an awful lot of money.

Of course, if the man who would be king again had to apply for legal aid – a vanishingly small option for most folk – he might have got a dusty answer. At the moment, in England, you won’t be eligible if your monthly income tops £2657. Listen, your man Johnson wouldn’t stir from his pit for that.

It’s estimated that he trousered around £1 million in just six weeks – not counting his MP’s salary – because some people will pay him obscene sums just to hear his dulcet tones all over again. Then there’s his memoir for which he pocketed an advance of some half a million quid. Well, to be fair, it’s almost certain to shoot to the top of the fiction charts.

But if you want to see unlovely inequity in all its glory, look no further than the Home Office. Last week, the current Home Secretary, the quite appalling Suella Braverman, confirmed that she had ditched many of the recommendations made by those who examined the disgraceful Windrush debacle.

Windrush, you will recall, was the ship that brought, at our express invitation, hundreds of folk from the Caribbean to help shore up things like the health service. Some of them later imported their kids from whom they’d been separated. These children grew up here, worked here, paid taxes here, raised their own families here.

And then the Home Office decided to classify them as illegal immigrants. Some got deported to islands of which they knew nothing. Most lost jobs, and some their homes. When the enormity of the scandal was revealed, a compensation scheme was set up to be administered with the legendary efficiency of that self-same Home Office.

Some Windrush victims died waiting for it. Others got sums which didn’t begin to look at what they’d lost. Some are still waiting. But brown-skinned Britons found themselves even less equal than others.

When the Windrush inquiry finally reported with three-dozen or so recommendations, that cuddly Priti Patel – remember her? – said all would be implemented. It takes a special kind of empathy-free zone to make Patel seem caring. Step forward Suella. Re-hired by Sunak, presumably to keep the right-wing bampottery on board when he slid into the top job.

Her track record so far consists of labelling asylum seekers as invaders, housing them in dodgy accommodation and, finally, managing to lose hundreds of unaccompanied children. Imagine, if you will, the outcry were another country to “lose” hundreds of unaccompanied UK minors. Or even a couple of them.

The Home Office was quick to suggest they weren’t all “real” children. Some were allegedly Albanian teenagers. Not so much disappeared as the next generation of bad lots, linking up with those already indulging in lawlessness.

WELL, you know what? If this current breed of Home Office spokes-people were to insist it was sunny outside, I’d still pack a brolly. They are, quite simply, unfit for purpose. Led by a woman who dreamed up the notion of packing off migrants to Rwanda to be “processed” there. Cans of peas get a better deal.

So far as I can see, we seem to have paid or promised £120m to an African nation with no shortage of human-rights failings, which, just this week, was on the verge of a new conflict with the DRC, a neighbour whom it has already invaded before and with whom relations are febrile. Just the sort of safe haven folks need who have often fled war zones and famine to seek asylum in the UK.

Migrants in recent years have found themselves apparently less human than anyone else.

The UK has become a haven for various spivs and chancers, some of whom found themselves in government. Matt Hancock, whose tenure as health secretary was, shall we say, controversial, took an unpermitted leave of absence to pick up £320k for going on a reality TV show. He said he would donate some to charity. Ten grand, we hear. And he’s recorded another lucrative show since.

On Thursday, the current Cabinet met to plan how to win another election. On the board was Isaac Levido, the whizzo who gamed Johnson’s fictitious pitch in 2019. He was sacked by Liz Truss.

She did have the odd decent idea.