LET’S do the time warp again. No, my heid’s not buzzin’ with the Rocky Horror Show – though the classic film was on TV earlier this week.

It’s Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron from SomewherePoshInSurrey who’s brought Riff Raff back to life. Cos Cameron is back doing what he enjoys doing best – rubbing Scottish noses in it. Or trying.

Last time round was September 19, 2014 – the day after the indyref – when prime minister Cameron abandoned his hug-a-hoodie, nice-guy image, dropped Gordon Brown’s promise about federalism like a super-hot tattie, and doofed Scots MPs with a new law: English votes for English laws, or EVEL.

It meant Scots couldn’t vote on English domestic legislation passed through the House of Commons and created two classes of MPs for the first time ever. Why? It was punishment for Yes getting near the 50% mark in a vote that should have a pushover.

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How very dare the Scots come close to ending the Union? Take that.

Never mind that the SNP had voluntarily chosen not to vote on English domestic issues for a decade. Never mind that the nakedly vindictive move was so utterly pointless (and time-consuming for Commons administrators) that EVEL lasted just seven years before being abolished by the Tories in 2021.

Michael “Flashdance” Gove explained its demise: “Ultimately, it’s a convention which arose out of a set of circumstances after the 2014 referendum, where you had a coalition government ... We’ve moved on now.”

Yip – it makes no sense, but then that’s par for the course.

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Yet this grandstanding, righteous nonsense by David Cameron did serve a purpose. EVEL showed angry English Tory MPs and voters that Jocks would be punished for flexing their constitutional muscles.

Of course, Just Call Me Dave lost the Brexit referendum and crawled off to make squillions by dodgy lobbying.

But now, with Rishi Sunak’s premiership hitting the buffers, he’s back in high (unelected) office (if not high heels) – doing the time warp again.

He’s raging that First Minister Humza Yousaf dared to speak to other human beings at COP28, without a Westminster chaperone or his express permission. And his stampey-footey outburst looks completely pathetic.

The National:

As punishment for Yousaf meeting Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a corridor, Lord Cameron is threatening to withdraw his department’s “facilitation of meetings or logistical support” and to reconsider “the presence of Scottish Government offices in UK Government posts”.

The statement came from an anonymous UK Government spokesperson. But it had Big Angry Dave written all over it.

The score has not been settled while indy is still riding high (or at least higher than the status quo) in the polls. So Dave is still beelin’.

“We hope we can resolve this without the need for further action, including the possibility that we no longer host Scottish Government offices in UK Government posts.”

In short – yer barred! Supremely petty.

And Cameron’s Cabinet colleague Alister Jack took petty on to a whole new level by claiming the breach of protocol happened on four other occasions during the First Minister’s time at the summit. FOUR!

Besides Erdogan there were apparently FM meetings with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, European Council president Charles Michel, Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati and acting Pakistani prime minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.

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The level of controlled fury in Jack’s Commons committee performance conjured up a Janey Godley voiceover: “Naw, my mummy says you’re NEVER to cross the road on your own – and you did. You went with that wee skinny boy fae next door and you’re not even allowed to speak to him. And you did it before. And we saw you. And even though we think you are flaky and your cause is pure mince so naebody’s gonnae listen anyway, we are watching your every move.

“Cos you aren’t allowed to speak to folk outside the UK in case… in case… you speak about independence, which is never going to happen by the way. But you might’ve hoodwinked the Danes cos oor climate chappie hud tae come hame tae back Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda Bill. And the Danes are leading the green transition, while we obviously dinnae gie a monkey’s.

“But we’re not paranoid. Even though we’ve been watching every chat, every ‘howz it gaun’, every exchange with a coffee vendor (and you’ve hud seven). In short, you cannae talk to folk abroad without asking oor permission. And in this voluntary union, this unions of equals, this happy-clappy UK, rest assured – we’ll say naw.”

The National: Alister Jack

Yip, the Queen of the Voiceover would put the boot in harder and funnier.

But watching the wooden Scottish Secretary in action, I’d guess the whole of Scotland became stars of improvisation.

Has the Tory threat worked? Has it heck.

Note the headline on the Daily Telegraph: “Humza Yousaf broke rules five times during the COP28 climate change summit”. Why did this right-wing paper not tell it like it is: “Humza Yousaf spoke to other leaders five times during the COP28 climate change summit”.

Because the truth is so ridiculous.

Note also the response by non-indy commentators like Chris Deerin who leads think tank Reform Scotland: “Whoever is first minister of Scotland, and from whichever party, should be entitled to talk to foreign leaders and officials about whatever they like. They should not be treated as juveniles, always requiring to be babysat by a grown-up. This is insulting.

“Any overseas politician will know full well what the SNP’s view is of Scotland’s position within the UK. It has been a rather prominent issue for, oh, the past five decades. They might also have noticed the 2014 referendum.”

Well, quite.

Even that hammer of the Nats, former Blair spin doctor Alastair Campbell, said on Twitter/X: “This is ridiculous … If a leader of one of the devolved nations is at an international conference and meets other leaders what is the problem?”

The problem is that independence hasn’t gone away.

Despite the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon, party finance scandals, arrests and releases, internecine battles, policy failures and hard times in the SNP, independence is still sitting at just over 50%.

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Now Yousaf is quite entitled to play a straight bat in this fuss over nothing, and has pointed out that Scotland – beyond London – has attracted the most foreign direct investment for eight years in a row because of the Scottish Government’s international engagement strategy.

In short, he says he’s stuck to the rules and said not a word about independence, Brexit, EU membership, energy strategy (all reserved to Westminster) or foreign policy when his Westminster minder isn’t there – even though the FM’s Gaza ceasefire stance meaningfully and mercifully deviates from the mealy-mouthed Westminster Unionist consensus.

Should we believe that? Does the Yes demographic want that?

My mum had a saying – hung for a sheep as a lamb.

So, if Cameron is blowing a gasket over five orderly meetings about Scottish whisky, and if heads of government managed to discuss independence quite openly with Sturgeon despite Foreign Office minders as Liz Lloyd claims, then aren’t Yousaf and his ministers missing a trick?