Something suddenly crystallised in my mind the other day when I saw a tweet stating that the UK government were going to court in a bid to grab powers back from the Scottish Parliament. Of course strictly speaking that isn't what's happening (or what's seemingly just about to happen) - the legal challenge to the Continuity Bill will be based on the technical argument that the Scottish Parliament doesn't currently have the legal right to depart from EU law, and won't have until the day after Britain leaves the European Union. Theoretically, if the UK government win the challenge, all the Scottish government would have to do is wait until immediately after Brexit, and they would then be perfectly free to introduce exactly the same Continuity Bill without legal impediment. But the snag, as we all know, is that by then Westminster's EU Withdrawal Bill will have been passed, and the Scottish Parliament will have been stripped of some of its current powers and thus will no longer be able to pass the Continuity Bill in its current form. To all intents and purposes, then, the legal challenge may as well be a bid to destroy the devolution settlement, because if the Supreme Court doesn't uphold the Continuity Act, the Scottish Parliament will be left utterly defenceless in the face of a power-grab. (The only remaining hope would be a blocking move in the House of Lords.)
And yet...do you remember something? A major strand of the Smith process which followed on from "The Vow" in 2014 was about supposedly putting the Sewel Convention on a statutory footing. The convention, among other things, forbids the UK government from removing powers from Holyrood without consent. If that principle had been meaningfully written into law as promised, it would have been possible for the Scottish Government to go to the Supreme Court to block the power-grab. Instead, the British government are somehow able to go to the Supreme Court in an attempt to effectively enable the power-grab. It's utterly grotesque - and that's what betrayal looks like.