ANAS Sarwar is a politician with principles – he has a different set of them to appeal to different audiences.

Last night during the BBC’s Scottish leaders' debate, he proclaimed that “it's for the Scottish people to decide what the future of our country is”. 

That did not appear to be his view when he joined with the Tories in denying that the 2021 Holyrood election, the main issue of which had been whether to have a second independence referendum and which resulted in the Scottish Parliament's largest ever majority of pro-independence MSPs, had in fact been about a second independence referendum after all.

(Image: BBC)

You can be quite certain that if that election had failed to produce a majority for the pro-independence parties, Sarwar would have been leading the chorus of those crowing that Scots had rejected the idea of a second independence referendum. 

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that Sarwar does indeed believe that “it's for the Scottish people to decide what the future of our country is”, but with the important provison that the people of Scotland must decide on something that is acceptable to him and his boss Keir Starmer. 

It was telling that Sarwar refused to set out any mechanism through which the people of Scotland can decide what the future of their country is when asked for specificities by Scottish Green co-leader Lorna Slater. 

That's a question which is way above his pay grade, and that in itself is indicative of the Labour Party's true intentions regarding the inalienable right of the people of Scotland to self-determination.

If Starmer will not even allow his Scottish leader to make a decision about the democratic route to another Scottish independence referendum, you can be quite certain that he won't allow the people of Scotland to decide it either.

However, the Labour Party is determined to keep stringing the people of Scotland along on this issue. Labour cannot flat out admit what we all know to be the truth – that Starmer has no intention of permitting another Scottish independence referendum no matter what the people of Scotland might want – as this would be politically deeply damaging, proving that Labour has lied to Scotland for many decades.

But neither can Labour set out the democratic route through which the people of Scotland can decide whether or not they want Scotland to remain a part of this supposedly voluntary union, because with Yes regularly being in the majority in opinion polling, there's a very high chance that Scotland might decide it no longer wants to submit to Westminster rule.

Starmer has not spent the past few years lying and deceiving his way into Downing Street just in order to give away some of the near absolute power that the Westminster system offers him.

Instead, we get the intelligence insulting weasel words of Sarwar at last night's Scottish leaders' debate, taking the people of Scotland for fools, but then he knows that for the most part the media in Scotland will allow him to continue to get away with it.

Since Sarwar refused to answer Lorna Slater in last night's debate, she has now sent him a letter with the questions that he must answer.

(Image: PA)

Slater said: “In last night’s debate, Anas Sarwar rightly said that it is for the people of Scotland to decide the future of our country, but words are not enough.

“The Labour Party have opposed all attempts for Scotland to hold a democratic referendum on our future in the aftermath of Brexit and has not said a word about how a UK Labour government would allow Scotland to make a choice.”

She added: “We may disagree about independence, Anas Sarwar and his Labour colleagues can oppose that all they want.

"It is a question of democracy. It is time for Scottish Labour to come clean, level with the Scottish people and explain how and when they will allow us to have our say on the future of our country.”

Don't go holding your breath for an answer from the branch manager. His boss won't let him.

Support for indy remains high

A new poll by Ipsos has shown that support for Scottish independence remains high, with 51% saying they would vote Yes if an independence referendum were held tomorrow.

That tells you all you need to know about why Starmer won't agree to one happening, and why Sarwar will keep on dancing around the issue and treating Scots as fools.

The poll also found that the Tories face a well-deserved electoral annihilation in Scotland at the polls on July 4, losing all six of the seats that they won in 2019. The Tories are down to just 13% in Scotland, compounding the woes besetting the nasty party at a UK level.

(Image: Victoria Jones/PA)

Yesterday, Rishi Sunak launched the Conservatives' election manifesto in what was his last chance to turn around the truly dire polling numbers the Tories are receiving. 

The early signs are that the manifesto has fallen flat, with senior Tories like Grant Shapps reduced to warning against the dangers of allowing Starmer to win a “supermajority” rather than bigging up his own party's chances of winning the election. 

Even the Tories know that they have lost this election, and they are increasingly unable to hide it. 

The Guardian reported a few days ago that if the manifesto fails to make an impact, then a group of right-wing Tories will release an alternative hard right manifesto of their own. 

The only question now is the magnitude of the Conservatives' defeat. The tragedy is what will replace them.