Good evening! Here is the Wee Ginger Dug's view on the latest movements in Scottish politics. Also, don't forget – our Black Friday offer ends at MIDNIGHT!

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Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave his second day of evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry, and we discovered that he was really the unsung hero of the pandemic – at least in his imagination. And for Hancock, that's all that matters.  This is a man whose smug estimation of himself is more inflated than a zeppelin, and equally prone to causing a deathly disaster.

After claiming that thousands of lives could have been saved if lockdown had been implemented earlier, Hancock went on to criticise Nicola Sturgeon – who we now know was trying her best to persuade Johnson to do just that – for doing things differently to the Conservative Government.

The National: Matt Hancock affair accusations

Asked about comments he had made which referenced "difficulties" the UK Government had encountered with the Scottish Government taking different decisions on rules during the crisis, Hancock claimed that decisions by the Scottish Government were given a "political angle" which he found frustrating – which is one way of describing being bounced into action by a Scottish Government which was not prepared to put lives at risk for the sake of soothing the egos of Conservative ministers. 

Hancock also claimed that Rishi Sunak was instrumental in delaying a second lockdown in in 2020, with the result that when the lockdown was eventually implemented due to an alarming increase in the number of deaths – deaths which could have been avoided – it was longer and harder than it otherwise would have been.

The National: Rishi Sunak

Hancock blames everyone else - if only they listened to his inestimable genius, then none of this would have happened. But what Hancock won't listen to is the evidence of his own lies and contradictions.

He repeatedly claimed to have thrown a protective ring around care homes, while discharging Covid-19 patients into them.

There were around 28,000 excess deaths in care homes between April and May 2020. Hancock said he wasn't told early enough that there was asymptomatic transmission of the virus.

The inquiry then showed him evidence from England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance that they had made it "pretty clear" that there was.

The inquiry is painting a clear picture of an incompetent and chaotic government, riven by petty ego-fuelled squabbles and driven by personal ambition, a government which ignored scientific advice even as it claimed to be "following the science," and which displayed a callous indifference to a mounting death toll.

The quicker Scotland removes itself from this embarrassing pantomime the better

Author Omid Scobie, who is close to Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle and whose book 'Endgame' has sparked off a major row about racism within the royal family, has predicted that Scotland is heading for a future as an independent republic.

He pointed out: "Around 45% of Scottish voters do not want England to govern their country, and a vast majority of younger Scots are in favour of breaking away from English rule."

He also noted that despite recent difficulties for the SNP, saying "their historic push for independence is not going away."

He added: "Over the years, however, as countries in the Commonwealth continue to make moves towards independence and Scotland grows more comfortable with republican ideas of its own, this royal emblem of 'Britain' and 'Britishness' has gradually become more of a totem of 'England' and 'Englishness'."

Opinion polls concur that Scotland is the least pro-monarchy part of Britain, with the large royal events and pageantry which send the BBC and the British media into paroxysms of orgiastic sycophancy being met with a mixture of resentment and indifference by a majority in Scotland.

A Dutch translation of Scobie's book named two senior royals who during Meghan Markle's pregnancy with her and Prince Harry's son Archie were alleged to have speculated about the likely skin colour of the couple's first child and wondered "how dark" the baby would be.

The National: Meghan and Harry

The pair were named by broadcaster Piers Morgan on his TalkTV show on Wednesday. The names have since been published in the Guardian newspaper as well as the BBC and The Times and other media outlets, and have also been widely identified on social media.

The Guardian reported that a palace spokesperson had told the BBC "we're exploring all options," when asked whether legal action was being considered.

During an interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, Meghan claimed at least one member of the royal family had had "conversations" with Harry about their unborn baby’s skin colour.

This is merely the latest in a long line of scandals to rock the monarchy. Charles has only been king for a year but the unpopular monarch's short reign has been dogged with controversy.

The National: King Charles

It began badly with complaints that Charles was tone deaf to the cost of living crisis by insisting on a lavish coronation ceremony that cost the public purse millions and his decision to award honours to his disgraced brother Andrew.

He then spent the entire proceedings looking thoroughly miserable, as though it was all a dreadful imposition on him.

Meanwhile, legislation was rushed through the Commons allowing police to crack down on anti-monarchy protesters, so that the only lasting legacy of the expensive and unnecessary ceremony was a further diminishment of the civil liberties of the King's so-called subjects.

More recently, there was outrage when it came to light that Charles, who reportedly has a fortune in excess of £2 billion was taking advantage of a medieval provision and pocketing the estates of people in territory of the ancient Duchy of Lancaster who died without a will and whose relatives cannot be traced.

A republic cannot come soon enough. The quicker that Scotland removes itself from this embarrassing pantomime the better.