WE are seeing some very clear signs of the low blows that Westminster is prepared to strike in order to forestall Scottish independence when it thinks that the SNP is weak.

They will be able to get away with it without too serious a political consequence, which the Westminster parties measures purely in terms of seats won or lost.

Three British nationalist peers - in the disgrace to democracy that is the House of Lords - are seeking to restrict Scottish Government spending on areas such as independence and foreign engagement.

It is a very blatant attempt to force Scotland back into the union flag branded shortbread tin irrespective of the democratic will of the people of Scotland.

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But then, they're members of the Lords. Democracy is irrelevant to them.

The disgraces are LibDem Jim Wallace, Tory Annabel Goldie and the usual suspect, Labour's George Foulkes. They plan to work together to pressure the UK Government to curb the SNP-Green administration's spending in reserved areas.

Arch Tory Michael Forsythe is missing from the triumvirate of dirty tricks, possibly because he was detained in his castle in Transylvania after being unable to shift out of his bat form.

The peers, who of course would strenuously deny that they are motivated by British nationalist supremacism, do not appear to have similar concerns about foreign engagement carried out by the other devolved governments, it's only Holyrood that is the focus of their ire.

But then it's only the Scottish Government which is controlled by a pro-independence government and only Scotland where support for independence regularly exceeds 50% in opinion polling. If the Westminster parties cannot make Scots love the dysfunctional undemocratic mess that is the British state, they can at least do their utmost to frustrate the people of Scotland from giving substance to their aspirations of breaking free.

The National: George Foulkes once stood for parliament, believing that voters’ opinions mattered, but not any more

That epitome of the Labour party in Scotland Foulkes has been bumping his gums about this issue for some time. He is deeply offended that the people of Scotland vote in a manner not to his liking. He agreed to devolution because it was supposed to guarantee Labour hegemony in Scotland in perpetuity.

Democracy isn't working for Foulkes, so he's going to constrain it for his own good. Foulkes told the Scottish Daily Mail that his campaign had focused on spending on areas such as "an independence minister supported by civil servants, pretend embassies in countries where no separate provision is needed, and overseas aid above and beyond what was agreed".

Constitutional expert Professor Aileen McHarg, a professor of public law at Durham University, criticised the move saying: "This issue has been rumbling on for a while and there is a fundamental vagueness to it.

"If the argument is that this kind of spending is already outwith devolved competence, then legal action can be taken to stop it.

"If the argument is that it should be outwith competence then the Scotland Act (and presumably also the Government of Wales Act and the Northern Ireland Act) would have to be amended."

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It's the very definition of running scared, and merely provides yet more proof that the British state is both fundamentally undemocratic, and unable and unwilling to accommodate the wishes of the people of Scotland.

In further evidence of petty and low measures, fears have been raised of a British nationalist McCarthyism which could lead to musicians and artists who support Scottish independence being blocked from UK Government-backed grants.

The alarm was raised after the Tory government overruled an independent panel to prevent the Belfast-based band Kneecap from receiving British government funding due to their Irish Republican views. The hip hop band are best known for their Irish language rap music, including the singles C.E.A.R.T.A. (Irish for rights) and Get Your Brits Out.

The Belfast-based rap group had been approved for a £15,000 grant by an independent selection board, but the Tory business secretary Kemi Badenoch stepped in to prevent it going ahead.

A spokesperson for Badenoch, who regularly rails against 'cancel culture' claimed to "fully support freedom of speech,” but added: "It's hardly surprising that we don't want to hand out UK taxpayers' money to people that oppose the United Kingdom itself."

So freedom of speech, just not THAT speech then. Cancel culture is just fine when it's the Tory right doing the cancelling.

Kneecap claimed in a statement that they'd been told their 2019 Farewell to the Union tour poster "pissed off the Tories". They are now taking legal action against the UK Government over its "unlawful" decision.

The Labour party in Scotland held its spring conference over the weekend.

The National: Anas Sarwar and Keir Starmer at Scottish Labour conference

The most notable thing to come out of the weekend was Anas Sarwar telling an interviewer, in essence, that the people of Scotland should vote Labour in order to protect Scotland from Keir Starmer.

Sarwar vowed that he'd stand up to Starmer on issues on which they disagreed, of which there seems to be a long and ever lengthening list, from the two child cap on benefits to a ceasefire in Gaza, where over 29,000 people have died since Israel launched its assault in October.

So, how exactly is that "standing up" working out for you Anas?

Starmer shows no inclination to budge on any of the issues which the branch office purportedly disagrees with, and Scotland's Labour MPs obediently do Starmer's bidding, not Sarwar's.

There is no such thing as a "Scottish Labour" party. Labour MPs representing Scottish constituencies in the Commons take the Labour whip and do not act a a bloc (if you can call two MPs a "bloc") distinct from that of their colleagues representing sears in England or Wales.

If you vote Labour in Scotland you're voting for what Keir Starmer says, not Anas Sarwar, no matter what the branch office manager might claim.