Lorna Slater, minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity to use the full description of what she does (there are others) is standing on the burning deck of the bottle scheme but thinks she can spot who’s really to blame for all the smoke and flames: Westminster, London, the UK Government. But of course! Why didn’t I think of that? It was the Tories all along!

The argument Ms Slater is making is essentially that the Scottish deposit scheme was going just fine and was all ready to be up and running by March until the Tories got involved and ruined it. It appears the UK Government is willing to grant an exemption from the UK’s internal market rules so the scheme can go ahead as a pilot before similar plans in the rest of the UK, but only if glass bottles are removed from its remit.

On the face of it, this is a bad move from the UK Government and for obvious reasons. Deposit schemes are designed to reduce the number of bottles and containers that are sent to landfill or dumped in the street or by the side of the road and glass is a big part of that problem. Not only that, the Tories seemed to want to include glass in their original plans for England and they absolutely should: a scheme without glass wouldn’t be pointless but it would be much less than it could be.

Ms Slater has made this point herself, and she’s right to, but the bigger problem is that the minister has refused to acknowledge the issues that existed with her scheme right from the start, Tories or no Tories. The insistence on going before the rest of the UK. The lack of meaningful consultation with businesses. The refusal to listen to the warnings. The finger-in-the-ears claim that everything was fine. The denials that a delay was going to happen just before a delay happened. And so on.

Perhaps Ms Slater should have listened to readers of The Herald because they’ve been warning about all of this for ages. Take a look at the letters page over the last few weeks. Mr Forbes from Aberdeen for example who pointed out that it’s illogical to force through the Scottish scheme when the UK's is to be launched in 2025 and the distribution of drinks bottles is a UK-wide operation.

Or Mr Stein from Dunblane. He pointed out that once a month his council collects his bottles and jars from the recycling box he leaves on the pavement outside his house – a service which he pays for through his council tax. Mr Stein also asked a couple of questions. Will the imposition of the deposit scheme effectively cost him 20p for every glass item which he leaves for collection by the council? And will he and his fellow ancients (his word) be expected to carry the bottles to a retailer where they can recover their money? Please forgive the obvious attempt at flattery, but this is the kind of common-sense that the writers of letters to The Herald are known for and it’s the kind of common sense that’s been lacking in the Scottish Government’s approach.

And it’s not just Herald readers the Government has ignored – they’ve also consistently ignored the voices from the business community and hospitality who’ve been warning forever about the potential damage to the drinks sector and in particular small businesses. Many of them have spoken to The Herald too – Scott Williams of brewers William Bros, for example, who said that the handling of the scheme had left them “flailing about”. “The information keeps changing,” he said.

None of this, I’m afraid to say, is the fault of the Tories, it’s the fault of the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity and it makes you wonder what she’d have to say to Mr Forbes when he points out that it was illogical to force through the Scottish scheme when the UK's is to be launched in 2025. Why did the Scottish Government feel that it had to go first? Was it to score a hit over the UK Government? (in which case it’s backfired). Or was it to create another point of distinction – to be different? (in which case, that’s also backfired).

The obvious solution would have been to wait until 2025 and introduce the scheme as part of the UK arrangements but that would have required co-operation between the Scottish and UK Governments – it would have required some political maturity. Instead, Ms Slater and the First Minister have wheeled out tired old tropes from the warehouse of SNP cliches and accused the UK Government of an affront to democracy and undermining devolution. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, we roll our eyes.

Ms Slater has also failed in her responsibility to be frank about what exactly is going on. Before the scheme was delayed by Humza Yousaf, Ms Slater was insisting that it was all systems go even though me, you, everyone, could see that it wasn’t. She also went on the radio over the weekend to say something similar. “The scheme has been progressing very successfully,” she said. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, we sigh.

The great tragedy of it all is that the deposit return scheme is a good idea and we know that it can work. I’ve seen it for myself in Copenhagen working really well. Something similar was also introduced in Slovakia last year and in the first 12 months alone 820million of the 1.1billion cans and bottles that were sold there were collected to be recycled. It makes you think: if it can be done there, then why can’t it be done here?

Scottish nationalists would no doubt say it’s because of devolution – indeed, that’s exactly the argument Ms Slater was attempting. But actually it has very little to do with the big constitutional questions we’re facing and much more to do with the small matter of efficient management, which is what most of good government is about. It also requires good will and a little humility. Is Ms Slater capable of that? Could she work with the UK Government without the sourness kicking in, the resentment?

It strikes me she may be forced to in the end because logic dictates it. The UK is a large internal market, most drinks companies distribute and sell across all four nations and the best scheme would work in the same way. The contributors to The Herald’s letters page can see it. Scottish businesses can see it. Most of us can see it. So why can’t Lorna Slater?