There’s a lovely chap I know called Rishi Sunak. As well as working night and day to try to keep Britain’s workers with food on the table, he was also a foster parent caring for three errant teenagers. They were called Kate, Rebecca and Conor. The story goes that, one day, the three teens approached daddy Rishi and demanded he apply for credit cards for the three of them linked to his own account. Daddy Rishi, being an agreeable sort of chap and wanting to keep the trio of munchkins sweet, consented. The three teens went on a spending splurge: Nike trainers, iPhones, Ray Ban sunglasses, swag outfits and the latest laptops were just some of the items they bought. Then, one day after they were all sixteen, they left home without paying back any of the money they owed. Daddy Rishi, having foolishly nominated himself as guarantor at the beginning, was left with a massive debt to repay.

Of course the tale I tell above is fictional. Rishi Sunak has a lovely family of his own, who live in Kirby Sigston a few miles outside Northallerton. The three errant teenagers demanding the right to spend without censure are, in fact, the three respective finance ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For they have all come together to plea for more borrowing powers for their varying bellicose synods. However, any debt accrued by the devolved administrations would be added to the debt pile of the United Kingdom as a whole. Because, under international finance law, only sovereign states can accrue sovereign debts. It would be akin to the aforesaid daddy Rishi picking up the tab in the event they refused to comply to repay their share. And, if you are in any doubt about the lack of scruples of both the SNP and Sinn Fein, the former made walking away from the United Kingdom debt-free one of their key talking points in the 2014 independence referendum. As for the latter, not only would they argue against a unicorn united Ireland state repaying its share of Ulster debt to the UK government, they have strenuously advocated ongoing British subvention to a new all-Ireland state for a period of up to 30 years!

OK, I agree not honouring your debts wouldn’t be a good look for either Scotland or Northern Ireland embarking (God forbid!) on new constitutional arrangements. But that doesn’t alter the fact they could do so and leave the principally English taxpayers the bill for the debts they acquired whilst part of the United Kingdom. In short, both Conor Murphy and Kate Forbes want the right to spend British money, but also walk away from Britain at a time of their choosing. That, my friends, is nothing other than good old-fashioned theft. As far as I’m concerned, Rishi Sunak deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for having patience and generosity of spirit when up against unprincipled yaps like Kate Forbes and Conor Murphy. Northern Ireland has received £1.2 billion of extra funds available to tackle the fallout from COVID-19. In Scotland’s case, it’s £4.6 billion. As the chances of ever receiving thanks from the separatists therein are infinitesimally small, perhaps Rishi’s boss needs to be harder in his approach to both politicians. He could start by making it clear he will not permit them to suck at the teat of British generosity and then send the British heifer to the constitutional slaughterhouse.

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