THIS week it’s 20 years since the people of Scotland voted by a very large margin to re-establish a parliament in Edinburgh. Predictably, the British nationalist press has been full of miserable articles about how the Holyrood Parliament has failed to live up to expectations.

There’s only one thing about Scottish culture that British nationalists will admit is distinctive and which isn’t motivated by hatred of the English, and that’s the belief that everything that ever happens in Scotland is substandard and something of a Krankie of light entertainment.

For British nationalists, to be Scottish is to live in the permanent condition of heading to iTunes to download the latest hit from Beyoncé and only ever hearing Fran and Anna. No wonder they always look so disappointed.

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Naturally this doesn’t apply to all those things which are graciously granted to us by the Westminster parliament. They’re fab. Scotland in the Union exists purely in order for the Conservatives to have something to be altruistic about. If we are to believe British nationalists, Scotland is in fact the only thing on this planet that the Conservatives throw billions of pounds at out of sheer goodwill and human kindness.

The Scottish Parliament ... also granted to Scotland by the goodwill and human kindness of the Westminster parliament ... is the exception that proves the rule. Westminster granted it to Scotland, but it has become the voice of Scotland, and in the view of British nationalists that’s why it’s rubbish.

Even at the best of times being a British nationalist in Scotland means to bear the permanent expression of a person who sucks frozen lemons while needing root canal treatment. To be a supporter of the British state means promoting the view that everything about Scotland is a bit rubbish, except the SNP and independence which are extremely rubbish.

That is after all the only argument that they’ve got left to support the Union. So it’s not surprising that the anniversary of the rebirth of Scotland’s parliament would leave British nationalists in Scotland feeling as positive and cheery as a serial philanderer who’s just discovered that what he thought was a viagra pill is in fact a stale soor plum with all the regenerative power of Anas Sarwar as the next leader of Labour’s Scottish accounting unit.

However the miserable po-faced British nationalists do have, for once, reasons not to be cheerful. The establishment of the Scottish Parliament at the end of the 1990s really didn’t achieve what British nationalists wanted it to achieve. They wanted it to kill Scottish nationalism stone dead, and it has spectacularly failed to do so.

Back in the 1990s there were certainly people who wanted independence, but the idea of independence was marginal in Scottish politics, kept firmly out of the mainstream. Twenty years on and the idea of Scottish independence is not merely slap bang in the middle of the mainstream, it is the pivot around which all of Scottish politics revolves.

The British nationalist parties have only got themselves to blame for this. When the Scottish Parliament was re-established in the 1990s, the Labour Party treated it as an opportunity to indulge in some short-term game playing which it believed would advantage it against the Tories on one hand and the SNP on the other. The voting system for the new parliament was expressly designed in a deal between the LibDems and Labour to give those parties the best chance of forming a coalition administration in Holyrood in perpetuity.

The much-vaunted, tax-raising powers promised to the new parliament were deliberately designed in such a way as to make them unusable. Powers which had been promised to the new parliament were stripped out of the final Bill at the behest of Labour Party figures. That’s why Holyrood does not have control of broadcasting as was originally envisaged. Tony Blair boasted that the new parliament would be little more than a parish council.

Although Holyrood was established amidst duplicity, opportunism, and short-term, party-political politicking on the part of the Labour Party, Scotland took it and made it its own. The Parliament was always Scotland’s own. It was created in the first place due to massive pressure from ordinary Scottish people and a grassroots campaign that couldn’t be ignored. Labour was riding high in the polls in Scotland in the late 1990s, but the party knew that if it betrayed its promise to introduce a parliament, that popularity would evaporate. They gave Scotland the absolute minimum that they could get away with, they did their utmost to shape it in their own image, but once established the Parliament was no longer a creature of the Labour Party.

Scotland is a different country as a result of the Parliament. The sense of hopeless desperation which characterised the 1980s and 1990s is no longer the dominant theme in Scottish politics. Scotland can resist Westminster. Scotland has a voice to articulate a vision of something different. No wonder the British nationalists are unhappy with how the Parliament has turned out.

Their unhappiness is now turning into a threat against the devolution settlement. Scotland didn’t tug its forelock and settle into a quiet acceptance of whatever Westminster chose to give us. Instead Scotland used its parliament to do things differently. It used its parliament to explore the possiblity of life without Westminster. And for that Scotland must be punished.

Westminster is using the Brexit legislation to undermine the devolution settlement and take powers back for itself. Brexit isn’t just a threat to Scotland’s economy, it’s also a threat to the devolution settlement and the idea that underpins it that everything which is not expressly reserved to Westminster is devolved. Devolved powers which were exercised by the EU on Scotland’s behalf are being seized by Westminster. The Tories even have the gall to argue that this Westminster power grab represents “extra powers for Holyrood”.

Everything has changed, and nothing has changed. Twenty years on from devolution Scotland is a very different country, but Westminster remains as duplicitous, underhand, and manipulative as before. It’s that lack of good faith on the part of Westminster which has driven the demand for Scottish independence. It’s what will result in the end of the devolution settlement and its replacement with independence.