You'll have heard of the Post Office scandal now, right?

A TV drama has done what the media and ferocious campaigners could not do and engaged the public's outrage in the Horizon Post Office miscarriage of justice.

It was a narrative with everything: harrowing human stories, political failure, corporate malfeasance, courtroom drama. And yet it's taken Toby Jones playing the eponymous character in ITV's Mr Bates vs the Post Office to make everyone care.

And care they do. Calls abound for heads to roll. Bafflingly, despite much of the worst of the scandal being well known by that point, the former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells was given a CBE in 2019. Well, she's given it back now after a petition against her garnered more than one million signatures.

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It's a meaningless step. Where will it go? Back in a drawer somewhere. It's within the King's gift, and his only, to give and take honours. Take her pension and huge bonuses, along with those of the other high heid yins responsible for the wrongful convictions and ruining of lives of those involved in the Horizon computer scandal.

In the wake of the ITV drama, David Davis, the former cabinet minister, said the Government is facing a “tidal wave” of public support for the victims.

It is a wave that is pushing MPs along with it, MPs who are now trying to appear as though they are swimming and not merely being swept along aimlessly like flotsam, moved by the tides.

Rishi Sunak condemned the scandal, adding: “Obviously it’s something that happened in the 90s," to the surprise of everyone aware that the prosecutions of innocent postmasters was ongoing until 2015.

But the Prime Minister is of course going to say it's something that happened in the 90s - he wants to emphasise that it didn't happen on his watch. The reparations will, however.

It's fascinating watching people have a really big shout about this on TV current affairs programmes. Yet more cried that heads should roll! That they should. The piece has villains a-plenty and how they are dealt with will set the tone for future corporate malfeasance, just as will the treatment of the victims both now and at the close of the ongoing public inquiry.

This week Kevin Hollinrake, the minister for postal affairs, said: "The evidence already emerging from Sir Wyn Williams’s inquiry has shown not only incompetence, but malevolence in many of [the Post Office's] actions."

This malevolence, he said, was not apparent to the courts previously and is enough to justify the creation of legislation that will exonerate those who were falsely convicted.

Mr Hollinrake said this was an unprecedented move - but it cannot be allowed to set a precedent.

In drafting legislation that will exonerate all of those convicted in connection with the Horizon computer scandal, Westminster and Holyrood are meddling with the established separation of powers that exists between the legislature, the judiciary, and the executive.

Justice is also a devolved issue in Northern Ireland and Mr Hollinrake has said he wants to see a consistent approach to the issue across the UK, but nothing firm has been announced.

In a detail that will have been astonishing to most who heard it, the Post Office was able to act as prosecutor in certain cases in England (as can other bodies such as councils and the RSPCA). In Scotland, all accused were dealt with by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

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In confirming this week that all affected Scots will have their convictions quashed, Humza Yousaf said the likely easiest move would be a Legislative Consent Motion.

For this, the Scottish Government would ask the parliament to apply Westminster legislation north of the border.

Legislation is expected to be drafted within weeks and enacted by the end of the year with Labour giving full support to the proposals.

The courts' rulings, then, will be overturned because politicians want them to be. This is a significant development sparked, in large part, by outrage generated by a TV drama.

It's a development that should give pause, no matter how just we feel the decision to be, because it is a breach of the independence of the courts.

What it speaks to is the exceptional nature of what happened here. Speed is of the essence. Around 60 people have died waiting for justice to be correctly served. Many of those who were not prosecuted but who were still abominably affected will have too.

And speed is not something the under-pressure, under-resourced and under-funded UK courts are good at. So MPs step in, a move Mr Hollinrake acknowledged is " very much a lesser of two evils".

There are few uncomplicated options for any of this.

Not to mention that this is succour only to the 900 who were convicted. Around 3,000 more lost their homes, their reputations, money, their livelihoods, but did not face the legal system.

Myra Philp told BBC Radio Scotland this week that her family lost everything when her mother, Mary, was suspended in 2007 over missing funds from a post office they ran together in Fife.

"Emotionally," she said, "it was like a virtual prison sentence except without having your day in court." Mary Philp died in 2018.

Focus has been rightly on the Post Office but the Crown Office has serious questions to answer.

Douglas Ross attempted to raise this with Humza Yousaf on Thursday at First Minister's Questions, asking whether the FM has established that a consent motion is the fastest way to clear those affected in Scotland and questioning the role of the Crown Office since 2013 when a procurator fiscal cited "issues with Horizon" for refusing to bring proceedings against a Gorbals postmaster.

Mr Yousaf, who served as justice secretary from 2018 to 2021, deflected by talking about the Post Office.

"It should not have taken a TV drama for action to have to be taken," he said before going on to emphasise that the Post Office is a wholly reserved institution. Not quite "Nothing to do with us, guv," but a familiar tinge of finger pointing.

Later, on X, the First Minister posted a video of him again saying it shouldn't have taken a TV drama for, specifically, the UK government to have to act. 

It's particularly peculiar finger pointing given that the Scottish courts are autonomous. Is former justice minister Mr Yousaf suggesting the UK government should have interfered in the COPFS? Surely not.

The Solicitor General, he said, will provide a briefing to MSPs on the Crown's handling of these cases and this is another crucial element of the ongoing story that must be closely scrutinised by press and politicians. Will public interest remain high?

We'll see. But the scandal has now saturated the popular conscience sufficiently to speak for itself - without need of celebrity or dramatisation.

Incidentally, I don't think we - the media - should complain about the popularity of Mr Bates vs the Post Office. I was asked how I felt about this, as a reporter, on BBC 5Live last week and I stand by my answer: the crucial element of this is shining a light on what happened and who facilitated it. That has been achieved and it doesn't matter if that was by documentary or drama.

But let this all be a salutary lesson to MPs and MSPs to work against scandal, rather than be the root of it. After all, every day these victims wait for justice is another day justice is denied to them.