THIS isn’t just about dangerous dogs. It’s about the bovine stupidity of the Scottish Government. Though that sentence may be unfair to cows. It’s about the lumpen exceptionalism of the SNP. It’s about a First Minister so far out of his depth he’s drowning.

Most of all, though, it’s about this great irony: the party and government which claims it wants to lead the nation to independence, is yet again undermining devolution and making Scotland look bloody stupid.

Sometimes political failure crystallises around a metaphor. If there was ever a symbol for the twin arrogance and ineptitude of the SNP, it’s the risible chaos over a ban on American XL Bullies.

The dogs are now outlawed in England and Wales. Yet Humza Yousaf, and his team of town councillors which pass for a cabinet, decided in their wisdom and beneficence not to follow suit. Scotland, of course - or at least the SNP’s drug dream of what Scotland is - knew better.

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Except Scotland - or rather the SNP in its role as the hijacker of what Scotland stands for - was wrong. Scotland, in the SNP’s mind, must always be different from England. Even when England is right.

How can protecting the public from dangerous dogs be this complicated? Well, once you mix base nationalism in, everything becomes difficult, because everything is seen through the warped prism of Scottish exceptionalism.

Just look at how this story has unfolded. The ban on XL Bullies came into force in England and Wales on December 31. The legislation was rushed, the SNP claimed. Okay, maybe it was rushed. But better to rush legislation, which might make some dog owners unhappy, than another child dies.

Ten-year-old Jack Lis was killed by an XL Bully in Caerphilly. Father-of-two Ian Price was mauled to death by XL Bullies.

Nobody needs to own these monsters, unless drug dealers are their style icons. Britain saw 16 deaths due to dogs last year - double 2022’s fatalities. But good old Bute House knew better. Doesn’t it always?

When the ban came in, Yousaf burbled that he hadn’t “made a firm decision yet” about what position Scotland would take. Come January 5, Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown said: “We are taking our time just to gather evidence before we make a decision.”

One feels inclined to say: ‘A single death is too many, Minister, what more evidence do you need?’ When reporters pushed for a timeframe, she replied: “We’ll just have to wait and see.” Arrogant stupidity in seven short words.

Brown then blamed the UK Government - because of course she would. London gave Holyrood short notice of the ban, apparently.

Sometimes, Minister, you just have to act, especially when there are dead people involved. And maybe, try to build better relations as well. How about that? You might not like the Tories - few do - but you have to deal with them for our wellbeing. So do that, please, and quit the nat grandstanding.

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Come January 6, we learned Yousaf didn’t think Scotland required a ban. “We don’t think it’s needed given the strict regime we have in place in Scotland.” He further burbled that he would, though, keep the matter under “review”. How gracious, great leader.

Meanwhile, a bunch of idiots began transporting XL Bullies over the border from England to Scotland, making us the dumping ground for these monsters. The SNP had managed to turn Scotland into a haven for animals which kill humans. It’s astonishing.

And please, for any new readers not regularly acquainted with my column, let me assure you my ire isn’t motivated by unionism. I support independence. If anything, as a liberal Yes voter I’m furious that the party which represents independence is so weak and pitiful, so embarrassing, so laughable, so pointless.

If the SNP cannot navigate a ban on dangerous dogs, it’s unfit for office. It’s that simple. It’s past its sell-by date; long overdue getting booted out on its backside.

By January 9 - Tuesday - we discovered Brown, our towering Communities Minister, was now pleading with Scots not to buy XL Bullies. The Scottish Government, she said, was “concerned to hear reports of XL Bully dogs being moved to Scotland for rehoming”.

What the hell did she think was going to happen? She and her boss opened the door.

But again, all blame got shifted onto wicked, old London. “The unintended consequences of the UK government’s policy is that we’re now seeing an influx of XL Bully Dogs coming to Scotland,” Brown claimed. Except, the blame, Minister, lies squarely with you and your FM.

The Herald: Our cartoonist Steven Camley's take on the XL dogs situationOur cartoonist Steven Camley's take on the XL dogs situation (Image: Newsquest)

Then we started to hear gears clunk as the inevitable u-turn began. It now appears a ban on XL Bullies is likely in Scotland by the end of January. Brown told MSPs she’s now urgently reviewing the matter.

Yet Minister, surely England was wrong to rush the legislation? And now, you’re going to rush the law too? However, if Scotland - in the shape of the SNP, evidently - does anything, it does it well, right? Unlike pitiful England.

The real sin here is that the SNP has undermined devolution - again. It makes Holyrood seem unfit, a petty parliament run like a council by fools. That’s unforgivable.

Frankly, the SNP hates devolution. It always has. Let’s not forget that the SNP withdrew from the Scottish Constitutional Convention, which developed the framework for devolution, in the 1990s.

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The party stropped off as independence wasn’t on the table. Why do some good, when you can do no good but keep your pristine principles in tact?

Throughout its time in office, the SNP has deliberately failed to use all the powers at its disposal through devolution to better the lives of Scots. Why? One can only suspect that this began as a ruse meant to show that independence was the only solution, that Westminster stood in the way of the Yellow Brick Road.

If that was the intention, it backfired. Yes voters are deserting the SNP in droves, sickened by government failure.

It’s now inevitable that these monstrous dogs will be banned in Scotland. One hopes the last victim of these beasts will be the tattered remains of the SNP’s reputation as a viable party of government.