My Scotsman column today examines the rise of unionist fundamentalism - a trend first identified by Professor James Mitchell.
If you doubted its existence before, Michael Moore's bizarre belief that Scotland needs a (historically unprecedented) two referendums to become independent proves unionists are retreating into a Laager of union jack covered wagons. So even if people vote for independence in a referendum organised by the Scottish parliament, it doesn't count unless they vote again in a second referendum okayed by London. And if that doesn't sound fundie enough, he claims London will oppose all the improvements the Scottish Government has promoted for the Scotland Bill. Moore's position suggests that he has been poisoned by his time in the Scotland Office. This has-been department considers the Scottish parliament a threat to its own position and will oppose anything that gives Holyrood enhanced power or status. It's a mentality dating back to the early days of the Labour administrations in Edinburgh, who found their Scotland Office colleagues resentful and territorial. Remember when the then First Minister Henry McLeish called his Labour colleague John Reid, the former Scottish Secretary, a "patronising bastard"? No love lost.
But it ceases to be a joke when it damages the country's future, in particular our ability to grow our economy. Moore's total lack of respect, not just for the Scottish parliament but the Scottish electorate, might please the control freaks at Dover House. However it will do nothing for his party north of Berwick. Newsnight Scotland tonight had an extremely interesting piece by Ian Hamilton on the death Highland Liberalism. James Hunter and Michael Foxley were both pessimistic about its chances of recovery. But I was most struck by the comments of defeated candidate Alan MacRae. He noted that the Liberal Democrats lost because they ceased to be the party of Home Rule - just when real self-determination is within Scotland's grasp. Think of Tavish Scott's point blank refusal to even ask the people about the constitution, in case they gave the wrong answer, or his successor Willie Rennie's railing against "the nationalist bulldozer". It's not what Joe Grimond would have done.
All this can only boost the case for full Scottish sovereignty. What other option is left if the British state is so determinedly intransigent? All nations have a right to chose independence if they wish - that's international law as well as moral law - whatever the Daily Telegraph, Vernon Bogdanor or Michael Moore claim about the vague workings of a UK constitution that doesn't actually exist.
Meanwhile Alan Trench suggests a tactical way forward - the Scottish parliament vote for the amendments we wish to see to the Scotland Bill. Then there would be no room for doubt as to what the desire of the Scottish people was...and it would mean the media could stop talking about "Alex Salmond's wish list". This is no wish list. It is something we took to the electorate, making it quite clear during the campaign that our priority was to get "economic teeth" into the Scotland Bill. All the improvements Alex Salmond promotes are policies supported by one or more opposition party.
If there is a vote in parliament, I hope principled politicians across the chamber will support it. Or will they succumb to the anti-Scottish rhetoric of the unionist fundamentalists and, consequently, political oblivion?