Strangely, I don’t hear many of the usual defenders of the Union exulting over English votes for English laws. People who generally have plenty to say have fallen silent. The only sound is the gentle drawing of veils.

It’s understandable. If this is a problem solved, you’d hate to see David Cameron take a crack at making matters worse. The dog’s breakfast is a mouldy old bone, with a side-order of constitutional mess, served up to satisfy – but could it be? – infantile nationalism in the English vein. If this is what the voters of England want, anyone would think they’d gone mad.

You wouldn’t catch me saying such a thing, of course, but you also wouldn’t catch me getting too affronted by Mr Cameron’s wheeze. I was pretty much up to speed with the attitudes of the yeoman tendency on the Tory back benches. The use of Commons standing orders has a touch of the one (permissible) party state about it, but a sense of inevitability douses any spark of outrage.

There were 312 people in the Commons who thought this was a good idea. If you believe John Redwood, recently returned by 32,329 of Wokingham’s voters, “justice” has been served by a regrading exercise that will turn David Mundell, our souvenir Tory, into a parliamentary understudy. Depending on the Speaker’s aptitude for legislative pick n’ mix, a member of the Cabinet will be denied a Commons vote on his government’s proposals. That’s a novelty.

No one can say Mr Cameron and his party have not been warned about all this. They have nothing much to lose, obviously enough, in terms of Scottish seats and Scottish votes. They have pulled what might be termed a reverse rotten borough manoeuvre on any Labour people still dreaming of a return to government with Scotland’s help. But isn’t this the Prime Minister who wears his devotion to the United Kingdom on his sleeve?

Last year, Mr Cameron was urging us to “lead” and not leave. Now he’s an usher pointing towards the exits. He has also become the Prime Minister who claims the right to redefine the very nature of the Commons. Depending on your perspective, one fact might matter more to you than the other, but neither is unimportant. Even if Mr Cameron is slow on the uptake, someone must have explained the issues.

Make distinctions among parliamentarians in a unitary state and you divide both the parliament and the state. Mr Cameron has no interest, meanwhile, in a federal alternative. Asked last September about an English parliament by the BBC’s Newsnight, he said: “I don’t think we’re remotely at that stage." So we have Evel instead, a form of legislative segregation and a demonstration that, for dwellers on the Tory back benches, Westminster is England’s parliament.

Those among them who are not jubilant at having the claim affirmed are entirely relaxed about it. They are not alarmed about the effect on Scottish opinion, either because they don’t care about Scottish opinion, or because they believe, reasonably, that it is a lost cause. They suffer no angst over the implications of Evel for the Union. As stock market types say, it is already priced in.

Hence that sense of inevitability: for those Tories, the Union is either gone or going. Allowed the choice between Evel and the UK’s future, they did not hesitate. Short-term advantage, an artificially inflated majority on bits of legislation that matter most to them, does not begin to explain their eagerness. Nor does the West Lothian question, whatever Mr Cameron would have you believe.

The risk of a few (or many) more Scots supporting independence did not dissuade 312 MPs in the slightest. You sense, in fact, that they looked at last September’s referendum victory and concluded 44.7 per cent was too close to Pyrrhic for comfort. A lack of faith in the Union has been reciprocated in the clumsy stratagem called Evel. Like the referendum, the Commons vote came down to a straight choice and the result was, as they say, decisive.

Which is handy. What’s interesting, from where I sit, is whether Scottish National Party MPs can go on pretending otherwise for much longer. When Evel is plainly an acknowledgement that adherence to the UK is no better than skin deep, why be outraged? If the idea is to persuade Scots who voted No year to taste outrage, no one will be fooled for long. Unambiguous evidence of divergence suits the SNP just fine. A clear declaration of what matters most to 312 English MPs only confirms Nationalist arguments. And everyone knows it.

Maintaining the integrity of the Commons is not the first obligation of SNP MPs. Pointing out Evel is liable to cause animosity is all very well, but if that’s the free and democratic choice of the Tory Party rebukes have their limits. Judging by the debate, the Tory taste for rancour is well-developed. That might be regrettable, but it is also reality. It will do the SNP no harm in the long run.

Do English voters need to be told that they deserve better than Evel? It’s an interesting question. Will those voters look at an issue of obvious common interest – Heathrow expansion being the latest favourite – and wonder what on earth is going on? The word “veto” is politically powerful. English voters might yet ask how a veto meets any definition of fair play, or how it fits their customary picture of four nations united as equals in one parliament.

Not for the first time, the Tories have overlooked something. Like Mr Redwood, they might tell themselves Evel is the embodiment of justice. Instead, they should stop and ask if English voters will feel better governed thanks to this gambit. Contempt for Westminster is just as intense in England as it is here. How will this reform win hearts and minds?

If all it does it alienate Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for the convenience of the Tory Party while proving – for it’s a fact – that the West Lothian question has only rarely affected outcomes, English voters might feel ill-used. Last year they seemed quite keen to preserve the Union. Perhaps they were more sincere about it than Conservative MPs. Perhaps, in time, those voters will be less than happy to see the UK threatened for party advantage.

Irony, which is also handy, is always in the wings in these matters. It is still striking so many people here who fought for their Union last year are not celebrating Evel as the very dab. Whatever can the matter be? It is diverting, meanwhile, to see SNP MPs fighting for the honour of a Westminster parliament they would abandon at the first opportunity. They can give that a rest fairly soon, I think.

Last year, Mr Cameron tried to win support for the UK by telling us about his heart and what it contained. It’s fair to say he set himself a challenge. Inadvertently, he also gave us the makings of an obituary. One day we will say that the Union ended because the Tory Party’s heart just wasn’t in it.