When my children were very young they’d sometimes cheat at board games. On rainy Sundays, we’d pull out Monopoly and try teaching them some life skills through play: take turns, stick to the rules, be a good sport, win with grace, and never be a sore loser.

They were only little so, understandably, rules were broken every so often. Monopoly money would miraculously turn up under a seat. "I don’t know how it got there, Dad!" Turns were hijacked. "It was my go, Mum!" Pieces mysteriously moved to wrong, but strategically vital, spots on the board. "I was already there, I swear!" They never got away with cheating, of course, though me and their mum weren’t mean about it. After all, little kids are scared of losing, it’s a big blow to tiny egos. Eventually, however, they learned to play fair, as all decent kids do.

It seems, though, that some of Scotland’s well-fed, unelected Lords and Ladies are still in their infancy, with fragile little egos and scared little hearts. Three in particular, plan on changing the rules of devolution as they don’t like how the game is played.

Neil Mackay: Scotland and Lilliput, both lands of small ideas dominated by small people

They’re afraid of how strong independence support is, so they’re going to hide some Monopoly money, shift some pieces when nobody is looking, steal a turn.

The three are Jim Wallace, former LibDem deputy first minister - known to lickspittles as Baron Wallace of Tankerness; former Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie, whose lickspittle name is Baroness Goldie of Bishopton; and former Scottish Labour MP George Foulkes - of course - known to lickspittles, when in ermine, as Baron Foulkes of Cumnock. Poor old Cumnock.

These three - highly-pampered in their old age by unfortunate taxpayers - have launched what’s risibly called a "cross-party group of peers" to undermine devolution and the Scottish Government.

Foulkes says the campaign will focus on Scottish Government spending in areas like “an independence minister supported by civil servants, pretend embassies in countries where no separate provision is needed, and overseas aid above and beyond what was agreed”.

This dynamic trio meet today for the first time apparently. Foulkes wants the Tory Government to use the Scotland Act to “curtail” Scotland.

Before exploring their individual grievances, let’s explain one matter to their baronial majesties. Clearly, sitting in the Lords may have befuddled their understanding of democracy.

The people of Scotland elected the current Government. If we don’t like what they’re up to, we’ll vote them out. However, if we do like what they’re up to, we’ll vote them back in.

Nobody cares what some superannuated has-beens think, frankly.

When it comes to independence spending, it can surely not have escaped anyone that the SNP’s primary goal is independence. It was elected on that platform. Ergo, it is working on that issue. Ergo, that takes money.

Personally - and I say this as a Yes voter - I didn’t support the creation of an independence portfolio, simply on the grounds that we’re in a cost of living crisis and every brass farthing should go towards helping society’s poorest. Again, though, it’s up to the people to decide if this was a wrong move. Not two Lords and a Lady.

On relations with foreign nations - "pretend embassies" as Foulkes brands it - well, this is rather joyful to dismantle. There’s been Scottish government international offices overseas since the days of the Labour-LibDem administration.

So, would it be wrong to see the good Lords Wallace and Foulkes as a pair of hypocrites? If so, I do apologise, most sincerely, my lieges. Perhaps they forgot?

Regarding overseas aid: what can one say but how utterly petty and mean-spirited. If there’s money available to help suffering overseas, spend it. Once more, it’s for Scottish voters to decide if this principle is misplaced. Not ermine-clad footnotes to recent political history.

Evidently, if you or I were to stand on our hind legs pontificating about wasting money, we might also make sure we weren’t sinkholes of taxpayers’ cash ourselves.

The Herald: Kemi BadenochKemi Badenoch (Image: PA)

Here’s a taster of some rather ignoble spending. Analysis has been done of Scottish peers and the cost of their daily allowance and expenses between April 2020 and July 2021.

In that pandemic year, m’lud Foulkes topped the list with £64,643 in allowance and expenses, taking the prize for highest daily allowance costs at £55,936. M’lady Goldie cost £44,878 in total; m’lud Wallace, £20,218.

Neil Mackay: Why history is on the side of independence

Look for the beam in your own eye, my noble peers, before searching for motes in the eyes of others. Foulkes even referred to “vanity projects”. He wasn’t talking about ermine cloaks.

The UK’s most senior civil servant, Simon Case, seems onside. In response to questions from Foulkes, he said it was “worrying” if taxpayer money was spent on independence.

Case, incidentally, was the highest-ranking public official implicated in Partygate. He evidently didn’t resign. In messages exchanged during Covid with Matt Hancock, Case reportedly mocked holidaymakers stuck in hotel rooms due to quarantine rules, saying it was “hilarious”.

Motes. Beams. Eyes. Once again, look to yourself, bureaucrat, before you judge others.

Unionists are terrified of how solid independence support is in Scotland. You can almost smell the fear. The SNP may be failing, but the Yes vote is buoyant.

Just look at another egregious act of vengeful cowardice. Belfast rap group Kneecap say they received a £15,000 grant, later blocked by the UK Government. They claim they were told their tour entitled "Farewell to the Union" angered Tories.

Neil Mackay: SNP is in hell, but independence is worth fighting for

Like or loathe Kneecap, it isn’t for Conservatives to decide what is and isn’t art, based on their petty prejudices.

The spokesperson for Tory Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch (my spell-check changes her name to "Bad Enough", pleasingly) said the government wouldn’t allow money to go “to people that [sic] oppose the United Kingdom itself”. Kneecap are taking legal action.

Fighting independence fair and square is absolutely right and good. That’s how democracy works. I believe X, you believe Y, let’s debate and let voters decide.

But rewriting the rules of devolution - which your own sorry team created, for heaven’s sake - is pitiful, cowardly and hypocritical.

Yet what else can you expect from the cosseted children playing their juvenile little games and warming their comfy backsides on the luxurious red benches of the Lords?