Tomes have been written about the relationship between the law and common sense. The distinguished judge Lord Wright recommended it should be “as the man in the street, and not as either the scientist or the metaphysician, would understand it”.

Perhaps the Scottish Government should apply that test before wasting any more of our money and its own tattered credibility on causes which are probably unsustainable in law and certainly devoid of common sense.

In pursuit of constitutional affront, it has chosen peculiar grounds on which to fight. The vast majority in Scotland, who are not metaphysicians but can recognise right from wrong, find themselves welcoming the UK Government’s block on the Gender Reform Recognition Bill.

Most do not distinguish between the legalistic argument, to which the UK Government must curtail itself, and the common-sense one that it is thoroughly bad legislation with potential to increase danger to women and children, while overriding hard-won rights that already exist, like the right to safe spaces.

It is arguable the legislation was pushed through Holyrood on a tide of naivety without sufficient understanding of potential consequences. That is generous since risks inherent in allowing a man to self-identify as a woman were spelt out at length, before being rejected.

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Those who resisted were subjected over a prolonged period to harassment and abuse which could scarcely have gone unnoticed by our legislators. Yet on and on they pressed, dismissing examples of worst-case scenarios as hypothetical extremes, dreamt up by mean spirits cast as transphobic bigots or worse.

Unfortunately for those who led this charge, real-life events promptly intervened. The case of the double rapist Adam Graham, aka Isla Bryson, confirmed there is nothing hypothetical about the evil intent of some, however few, who use gender re-identification as a route into terrible crimes.

These offences took place under existing law, so it is not something new being created but this is where the test of common sense comes in. Does it make sense to increase, however marginally, that level of risk by making it easier for men to misrepresent themselves as women, in order to secure access and trust? There is surely only one answer.

Nicola Sturgeon travelled to London to tell the Rainbow Honours Awards that “my rights as a woman are not diminished in any way, by the enhancement of the rights of trans men and women. Never, never, never, let anyone tell you otherwise”. As rhetoric for an adoring audience, it was fine. As a reflection of gender self-ID, it was nonsense three times over.

If Humza Yousaf wants to signal an ability to think for himself, he could acknowledge a mistake was made under his predecessor and it is necessary to reconsider in light of actual events as well as the legal objection raised by the UK Government which is likely to be upheld in court. That would be grown-up.

Instead, they seem hell-bent on expensive courtroom grandstanding to claim that blocking the Gender Recognition Reform Bill is a constitutional outrage which forms part of a wider plot to subvert devolution. Nobody beyond their own core tribe believes them and even if they did would reckon on balance that the “common sense” case for killing the Bill should prevail.

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The other alleged constitutional affront about which outrage is demanded involves the UK Government’s reluctance to wave through the chaotic Deposit Return Scheme by signing an exemption to the Internal Market Act which is intended to prevent discrimination in trade within the UK. Again, it doesn’t take a metaphysician to conclude that the proposed Scottish DRS does exactly that.

It is many months since I quoted here a senior Scottish Government figure telling me: “If you think the ferries debacle is bad, just wait for the Deposit Return Scheme”. At that point, nobody was talking about the Internal Market Act. This is, 100 per cent, another fine mess made in Scotland by the Scottish Government in the face of all warnings and pleas.

I am not the person best placed to obtain confidences from Scottish Government sources so I think that if I knew the direction the scheme was heading in, so too did a lot of people in St Andrew’s House. Yet on and on they pressed, making matters much, much worse by putting its delivery into the flailing hands of Lorna Slater.

She will be remembered as the Green minister who counted success by volume – Coca Cola and Tesco signed up and spent tens of millions to increase market share, so sod the micro brewers, craft lemonade pressers and strugglingvillage shops. With myriad questions unresolved, Ms Slater is now pre-empting the inevitable by blaming it on the UK Government. And nobody, but nobody, believes her – even those who pretend.

On this too, the Scottish Government should cut its losses.  Forget bogus constitutional affronts and start worrying about compensation claims before they roll in. Look for some form of face-saving compromise which might involve shelving bottles until a UK-wide scheme can be introduced. And find Ms Slater another job, out of harm’s way.

Apart from the crass politics involved, there is another imperative which common sense demands consideration and it involves money. Please stop squandering millions on lost causes when there is so much they could be delivering in Scotland as it actually is.

The tactic of pressing ahead with ill-conceived legislation that is outwith Holyrood’s extensive powers, then challenging the UK government to do nothing about it is as far past its sell-by date as Nicola Sturgeon herself. It’s time to try something new – like basic competence and well-earned humility.

Brian Wilson is a former Labour Party politician. He was MP for Cunninghame North from 1987 until 2005 and served as a Minister of State from 1997 to 2003.