AS Theresa May reminds us, politics is not a game, but the next two days of constitutional navel-gazing may require light relief.
So why not indulge in some ‘grievance bingo’ as the Holyrood debate over the SNP’s bid for a referendum re-run unfolds?
Points are awarded for any mention of: Red Tories, hard Tory Brexit, democratic outrage, the sovereign right of the people of Scotland, giving the people of Scotland a choice, Scotland’s sole Tory MP, wrenched out of the EU against our will…
These are the phrases to look out for, reminding us of just how limited the Nationalist lexicon is, for all the supposed depth and radicalism of their vision of an independent Scotland.
The prize for the winner of grievance bingo is also a matter of debate, but how about a dog-eared copy of Scotland’s Future, the SNP’s discredited White Paper ahead of the 2014 poll — one of this century’s most important works of Scottish fiction.
You could also make the hours fly by with a parallel game where you successfully identity phrases studiously avoided by the SNP hierarchy — you know, the ones to do with currency and the tax rises needed to counter a vast deficit.
And there may even be an off-shoot of the game where you win points when you spot an example of shameless Nationalist revisionism — like Alex Salmond’s claim that he never said the 2014 referendum was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Turn it into a drinking game, rewarding yourself with a tincture each time you hear such an outrageous twisting of the truth, and it could prove lethal…
This ‘debate’ is in fact only so much hot air: the Prime Minister could not have been any clearer when she said ‘now is not the time’ for a replay of the referendum nearly three years ago.
Like a child on the naughty step, denied access to their parents’ iPad, Miss Sturgeon is in full tantrum mode — but how often does that strategy work for the wailing toddler in real-life parenting?
Donald Dewar believed that Holyrood would ‘share power with the people’, but the charade we will witness over the next couple of days could not be further removed from the priorities of most ordinary Scots.
What will this marathon debate achieve for the child languishing in a crowded classroom in a crumbling school, saddled with a curriculum that even its own architects have admitted is a spectacular failure?
Anyone waiting for surgery who is unlucky enough to catch the rhetorical jousting of Holyrood’s finest this week is unlikely to be reassured that the Scottish Government genuinely cares about their operation being cancelled.
Passengers sardined into filthy carriages on late-running trains, or slaloming around our pothole-strewn roads, will find this alleged democratic exercise does little to make their daily commute any less gruelling.
And what of the teenager from a deprived area whose dream of taking advantage of those ‘free’ degrees Nationalists boast about has been dashed by the SNP’s failure to tackle rampant inequality?
The separatist obsession has helpfully provided a giant smoke-screen for multiple failures of government, including non-existent oversight of the beleaguered single police force.
A Nationalist experiment in cost-cutting, it has taken an axe to our most important public service — and the real cuts have yet to bite.
It has also proved a useful distraction for the quiet jettisoning of plans for a super ID database that many had feared was a precursor to ID cards — scrapped in an answer to a parliamentary question.
The once-flagship Named Person scheme is now firmly on the backburner after judges ruled it was unlawful, cast aside in the midst of the constitutional warfare.
The tragedy is that devolution has provided enormous scope for true innovation to kick-start economic growth.
But now that the SNP has taken control of taxation, it has done nothing more radical than mount a tax grab on the professionals helping to keep the sluggish economy together.
On a host of issues, there has been a paralysing failure to see beyond the narrow horizons of the independence project, as evidenced by the Nationalists’ pathological aversion to fracking, to placate its powerbase — and maintain its burgeoning alliance with the Greens.
Indeed the Greens are key protagonists in this farce, relishing their turn in the spotlight, albeit in their role as the rear end of a pantomime donkey — a role they admittedly play to perfection.
Until now, the Greens have epitomised political irrelevance in the same way that their masters in the SNP have epitomised incompetence.
As Green co-convener Patrick Harvie demonstrated at the weekend, during a TV interview in which he was eviscerated by the BBC’s Gordon Brewer, the Greens have no mandate whatsoever to call for independence.
Their avowed position, clearly stated in their manifesto, was that there would need to be some evidence of public appetite for separatism before it could commit itself to the cause, citing as an example a petition signed by 1 million Scots.
That idea is dead in the water, and the Greens committed to a vote in favour of Section 30 — the legal device allowing a referendum to be held in Scotland — within minutes of Nicola Sturgeon announcing her desire for one.
Mr Harvie had already facilitated the SNP’s tax raid on middle earners by propping up his Budget, and is now prepared to cast what remains of the Greens’ credibility onto the pyre of political expediency.
One of his own MSPs — Andy Wightman — has even said he is a ‘confederalist’, which sounds like something out of the Wild West, rather than a supporter of full-blooded independence.
Rarely have such intellectual pipsqueaks wielded so much power.
We are told by Jim Sillars, former SNP deputy leader, that up to six Nationalist MSPs voted for Brexit, but how likely is it that any of them will vote against Miss Sturgeon?
If they had any moral backbone, they would of course do so, because being in favour of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU is incompatible with Miss Sturgeon’s mission for Scotland to remain part of it.
Former Health Secretary Alex Neil voted for Brexit — and since last June has proved one of the saner voices within the Nationalist movement.
All the same, don’t hold your breath for any kind of rebellion — this is not exactly a party that welcomes internal dissent.
But its likely victory in the section 30 vote will be built on ramshackle foundations: distortion, revisionism, the same old rhetoric and the familiar grievances, and a squalid deal with a small group of power-hungry environmentalists.
So much for ‘sharing power with the people’.