JUST when you thought that the United Kingdom couldn’t get any more dysfunctional, it transpired on Monday that the Queen’s Speech was going to be delayed because no one in Westminster can get a goatskin to dry in time for Monday of next week and give the Queen time to get to Ascot when negotiations with the DUP haven’t concluded yet.

After they have, the Queen’s Speech needs to be written on the skin of a King Billy goat. They’re not kidding.

The entire country was surprised when this came to light, as we’d always thought that the Tories used the skin of the poor. However, it would be a lot more practical for them to write the Queen’s Speech on toilet paper, because its contents are going to get flushed away very soon anyway, along with the last remnants of reason and sense.

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The Conservatives had always claimed that they were opposed to the nanny state, but now it turns out that they’re hugely keen on it as long as it’s a nanny goat. Well it wouldn’t be the Tories if animal cruelty wasn’t involved. Still, it’s a bit ironic that they’re only having this problem just now because all the kids voted Labour. It’s strange that it’s a problem for them finding a suitable goatskin, as you’d think that Jacob Rees-Mogg would have a few dozen lying around in his scriptorium.

The goatskin excuse is clearly nonsense. It’s not remotely convincing as most of us know that the Tory Party is already stuffed full of dried-out old goats. You’ve only got to look at Jackson Carlaw to see that. But now the Conservatives have turned the entire country into the people who stare at goats. I’m laughing, because the only alternative is to butt my head off a brick wall. Or a Tory MP – you get the same amount of sense out of either of them.

It’s hard to understand why the drying qualities of goatskin is such an issue for the Tories, considering that they were happy to write their manifesto on the back of a fag packet. I should have used that excuse at school instead of claiming that the dog ate my homework, and told the teacher that my essay wouldn’t be ready because I couldn’t get the goatskin to dry. It would not go down at all well at the job centre if a benefits claimant said that they couldn’t deliver their CV because the handmade ink on the goatskin vellum hadn’t dried yet. But no, that really is the excuse that the Conservative administration is giving for its inability to get the business of government under way, “I can’t come out this evening because I’m drying my goat”. Just when you thought that Britain couldn’t become a bigger laughing stock, the Tories deliver. At least they’re consistent on one thing.

This is the 21st century and now more than ever the antique mechanisms of the British state have demonstrated that they’re not fit for purpose. Surely it’s time to modernise, and tattoo the Queen’s Speech on the back of a beardy type who spends a considerable percentage of his income on hair care products. It wouldn’t take much, by the time that the Conservatives have finished their negotiations with the DUP the speech will simply consist of “1690 FTP No Surrender” in big orange lettering. I’m sure that there are certain Scottish Unionist journalists who would be thrilled to offer their services. Although, to be fair, they’re too busy at the moment denouncing the Ulsterisation of Scottish politics.

During the last election Labour chiselled their manifesto on a stone, and now the Tories insist that they can’t start governing until the vellum parchment is dry, and people wonder why there are those of us in Scotland who’d like an escape from this antique fantasy land that masquerades as a modern state.

It’s not even like it’s really mediaeval, most of these so-called traditions were invented by the Victorians to give the aura of legitimacy to a parliament controlled by a small cabal of the wealthy.

The reason that the Queen’s Speech is written on goatskin is supposedly so that it will survive the test of time, and will still be legible in 500 years, although no one will remember what Theresa May has promised in 500 days’ time, never mind 500 years. But it is a small consolation that in the year 2517 historians will be able to have a wee laugh to themselves at just how messed up the British state became in the years before it fell apart.

The real reason for the delay is that Theresa May and her band of ruminants need time to conclude a deal with the nasty DUP and a deal had still not been reached by Monday night, despite Number 10 issuing a press release over the weekend claiming it had. It’s another sign of the confusion, ineptness and incompetence that passes for statehood in the United Kingdom. Remember during the 2014 independence referendum when we were told that Scotland needed the stability and security of the broad shoulders of the UK? Those who made that claim must be feeling pretty sheepish right now.

After taking the country into an unnecessary election, losing it, and plunging us all into chaos and a bad-tempered mess that makes a North Lanarkshire Council meeting seem like a gathering of Trappist monks, the only certainty remaining is that there is no certainty. Brexit talks are about to begin and Britain has no plan, no idea of what it’s looking for, and no clue about how to get it. No one knows what’s going to happen next week, not even a goat, never mind what’s going to happen in a couple of years’ time. Right now, the only sensible strategy for Scotland is to keep all its options open. A lot of people might not want a referendum at the moment, but by the time Brexit has played out they might feel very differently.

After all, this is a government which does not have Scotland’s interests at heart. This is a government which is seeking to protect the financial services of the South East. It would be irresponsible to sink the Scottish life boat while the British ship of state is leaking under the waterline and no amount of goatskin can plug the hole. Even a goat knows that much.