It’s a tough life being the hero of Scottish Unionism, a position more hyped than an X-Factor contestant’s new single and generally equally short-lived. The current incumbent is Ruth Davidson who receives plaudits in the press that you more generally associate with the discoverer of a cure for cancer, the guy who single handedly brings peace to Syria, and the woman who solved the world hunger crisis, all rolled into one. Ruth might not walk on water, but she certainly goes for a walk on a buffalo, and that’s the next best thing. Ruth took over from the last Great Shite Hope of the Union, Jim Murphy, who likewise was going to single-handedly defeat the forces of separatism and deliver Scotland into the sunny uplands of a bunting bedecked Royalist street party. That turned out well, didn’t it.
This week the papers were full of the heavenly sound of praise for Ruthie’s performance in an opinion poll. She’s actually more popular than the person who cured cancer solved Syria and defeated hunger. And she’s doing a better job than Nicola Sturgeon too. Which is grand. All over social media there were Unionists crowing that Ruthie was putting the boot into the SNP and she was more popular than that evil splittist Nicola. It’s only a matter of time before Scotland realises it’s been terribly misled all this time, and will stop with all this nonsense of imagining that it could possibly become a normal country that’s capable of doing things for itself. Look, there’s a photo op of Ruth with a big fish, and she’s just sent a funny tweet on Twitter. That proves it.
The only problem with this scenario is that if you want to compare something and you want to offer an objective as opposed to a subjective opinion, you really need to compare like with like. That’s one of those basic tenets of science, the kind of thing that our Unionist masters rarely bother their bullafo riding heads about. Yet the question in the opinion poll didn’t do that. Respondents were asked whether they thought Ruth was doing a good job as leader of the Tories, but were also asked whether they thought Nicola was doing a good job as Furst Meenister.
Directly comparing like with like would have been to ask respondents whether they thought Nicola was doing a good job as leader of the SNP. Since the SNP is considerably more popular than the Tories, that might have produced a very different result. Actually Vlad the Impaler was more popular than the Scottish Tories, and he’d probably have scored very high in a Transylvanian opinion poll about how well vampires thought he was doing his job. Say what you like about that Vlad, but he once impaled an entire brigade of palace guards on sticks for going for a wee wander about the village instead of guarding his castle. Brings a whole new meaning to the term a wee daunner kebab so it does.
The job of Furst Meenister is a complex and demanding task requiring the juggling of many different subjects at once, all of which are equally vital to the well being of an entire country and its political future. By comparison the job of leader of the Scottish Tories involves posing for photo opportunities and snarking once a week at FMQs. The only similarity is that both jobs are held by politicians. You’d be as well asking who was doing a better job, a neurosurgeon or Vlad the Impaler, because both involve inserting implements into parts of the human anatomy. When you don’t compare like with like a comparison is as meaningless as just about anything that issues from the beardy gob of the Fluffmunster, and as irrelevant as Wullie Rennie’s views on anything other than the bus timetable of the number 17 to Kelty.
Sadly for Ruth, she did exceptionally poorly in her job this week. That’s the part of her job that involves Furst Meenister’s Questions, not the bit that entails posing on the backs of ungulates or shooting off witty 140 character ripostes. That NHS is pure rubbish, so it is, Ruth said accusingly at Nicola. Here’s this report that says that parts of the service are facing meltdown, said Ruth with an expression that would fry a pound of mince at sixty paces. Then she sat down all smug in the expectation of the SNPbad headlines that would most assuredly follow.
Unfortunately, the report that Ruth was relying on wasn’t about the NHS in Scotland. It was about the NHS in England. Those areas of meltdown that she is so concerned about, the service that’s teetering on the verge of collapse, that’s all entirely down to the mismanagement of the health service in England by her own party. Oops. Vlad the Impaler is much better at skewering.
As the realisation dawned, Ruth still had a face that could fry a pound of mince at sixty paces, on this time her ire was directed at whatever hapless aide had fed her the information in the first place. If you could hear the sound of distant screams in Edinburgh yesterday, that’s probably what it was. You’d think that if Ruth really was doing such a great job, she’d have checked before making a very public fool of herself. Still, now we know that the NHS is in crisis and near meltdown under Tory management, because the leader of the Scottish Tories has told us so. During a session of Parliament, no less. She really should stick to the buffalos, or at least the impaling of eejit aides.
The Unionist establishment is desperately in need of a hero, because Unionism is such a joyless, dreary and miserabilist ideology. Ruth is merely the current holder of the crown, but it’s likely that her shelf life will be as short as the previous holders. As a Tory, Ruth is incapable of appealing to a majority of Scots. Ever since the Holyrood elections she’s been exposed as the apologist for the failures of her colleagues in Westminster to respect the will of the Scottish people. This week’s spectacular own goal from her showed that her expertise lies in photo ops and press calls, and that’s where it’s going to stay. Scotland is going to continue its movement towards independence, and there’s nothing Ruth can do to stop it.
Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/ruthie-skewers-herself-wee-ginger-dug-16th-september-2016
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