The administration in office at the Scottish Parliament used to call itself the Scottish Executive. As soon as the SNP formed that administration it swiftly changed by the name to he Scottish Government.

There is a lot in a name, in this case a lot of trouble.

The term “Executive” implies work, getting things done, solving problems. Ordinary things like hospitals, roads, schools and ferries but also things like tackling suicide rates, drug abuse and obesity.

The purpose of devolving considerable power – so much that Scotland is de facto currently semi-independent – to Holyrood was precisely so that the things which mattered most to Scots’ daily lives could be concentrated on and dealt with more effectively by an Executive whose sole task that was.

In Scotland we have three layers of government, local councils, the Scottish Parliament and the UK Parliament. All of them are “ours”. No one of them speaks for us to the exclusion of the others; they all have their place. This triumvirate of government is entirely democratic, each layer has its role and tasks and the effect on our lives is better when they concentrate on what they are supposed to do and work together for our benefit.

The SNP administration at Holyrood doesn’t like this and in unilaterally calling itself a “government” rather gives the game away as to its intentions, purpose and priorities.

The SNP Scottish Government (let’s call it that for simplicity) is hell-bent on making devolution not work because it imagines that furthers its ambition of taking Scotland out of the UK. Make things look bad, blame Westminster even if it relates to a devolved matter, ask for more powers, wrap yourself in the Saltire and screech when you don’t get them. Added to this is a sense of self-importance which fosters the mistaken belief that the Scottish Government is the only legitimate voice for Scotland.

These two weaknesses cause all sorts of trouble in real practical ways.

If all you think about is how to kick the UK Government and try to make it look out of touch or stupid or mean or a combination of all three, that is what you concentrate on – not making our education or health systems work better.

When the UK Government launches an independent review to look at UK-wide transport links, the SNP Government churlishly refuses to co-operate on the basis that transport in Scotland is a devolved responsibility. Indeed it is, but a more constructive approach would have been to recognise that the M74 and A1 only work if they are connected properly to England and that the A75 effectively connects England and Northern Ireland through Scotland. HS2 will benefit Scotland but we need to deliver improvements to the West Coast main line between Preston and Glasgow if we want a much better outcome. By engaging fully with this UK Government initiative the Scottish Government could have helped all the nations of the UK achieve more.

The Gender Recognition Reform Bill is a classic. The purpose of the legislation is not entirely without merit but it is flawed, not supported by the majority of Scots and pretty clearly cuts across UK-wide legislation. Yet, irrespective of the lack of chance of success in such action the Scottish Government wastes time, effort and money in a legal challenge because it says it must defend Scotland’s interests – except it is actually hurting them; it is the UK Government which is really defending our interests. The real motivations are hurt SNP pride and the wish to nurture an us-and-them atmosphere.

The Deposit Return Scheme is another example. Most people agree that something should be done to increase the recycling of drinks containers but it is plainly against the operation of the UK single market for Scotland to have regulations which are different to England. The UK single market is vital for Scottish businesses – much more important than it is for English businesses – and should be supported not attacked by the Scottish Government.

The media focus on the (very deep) flaws in the scheme itself or the stupidity of the Scottish Government in not formally requesting a derogation for it from the UK Single Market Act until a few weeks ago. Actually, in the interests of Scotland, the UK Government should refuse to grant such a derogation and instead the two governments should work together to bring in a workable UK-wide scheme.

At the other end of the scale the Scottish Government deprives Scottish local councils of resources and increasingly seeks to direct how they spend their money, making a mockery of local government’s key purpose of allocating resources to local priorities.

The Scottish Government should grow up, stop bullying Scottish local councils and work with the UK Government to benefit the daily lives of those they are supposed to serve.