Wonder of wonders, let the band play. There was actually a news story about Scottish politics in the Unionist media that managed to get from beginning to end without asserting how terrible the SNP are, how screwed the independence movement is, or how Alex Salmond has never read anything apart from the Ladybird Book of Independence Declarations. No, really. I almost fainted too. Has the Unionist media passed peak-Ruth? Probably not, but sometimes her actions are so egregious that even her fanboys can’t ignore them.
Tory activist Belinda Don is very different from the Scottish Unionist press in that she’s not a big fan of Ruth Davidson. She most likely doesn’t have a photie of Ruth on her mantlepiece posing in a jolly manner with a gutted fish. She’s immune to the dubious charms of Tank Girl. Belinda is so annoyed with Ruth that she’s breaking the Tory omertà against speaking out in public against the Supreme Leaderene and is not only speaking out, she’s taking legal action too. This is a story with far more political consequences than the decision of a blogger to sue Kezia Dugdale. This is a story that goes right to the very heart of how the Conservative party, or rather Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives™, operate. What makes it even more delicious from a pro-independence Schadenfreude viewpoint is that the entire affair is entirely of the Tories’ own manufacture. If they hadn’t decided that democracy in Scotland was merely a serving suggestion, they wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.
Belinda Don was second on the Conservative list for the EU election in 2014. The sole Conservative who was elected in that ballot was Ian Duncan. However the Tories wanted to get Ian into the Scottish Office, some rumours had it that they wanted him as the new Secretary of State for Speaking for the UK Cabinet in Scotland, seeing as how David Mundell has less authority and gravitas than a failed contestant on a Saturday evening game show who’s just been dunked in a gunge tank to the accompaniment of the Birdie Song by someone dressed as a chicken.
So Ian stood as the Tory candidate for Perth, and even though this was a seat that the Tories were very confident of winning, Ian lost. This may have something to do with the fact that Ian bears an alarming resemblance to Herman Munster. Although the Tories threw everything into the fight, the SNP’s Pete Wishart narrowly retained the seat, much to the relief of Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who’ll now still be able to keep playing his favourite game on Twitter of making up anagrams of Pete’s name. Although someone whose own name is an anagram of I’ll die fanny really ought to think twice before going down the anagram name route. Och silly me. A Labour MSP? Thinking twice? Thinking once would be nice. But I digress.
Despite the fact that the good voters of Perth had looked upon the Tory choice and said “Naa, we don’t want this guy in our parliament”, the Tories decided that mere democracy shouldn’t get in the way of their absolute right to decide who gets into government. Ian was suddenly and rapidly offered a peerage, resigned as an MEP, and was off to the House of Lords and a post in the Scottish Office anyway. Voting eh? Voting is for democrats.
According to the normal rules, when an MEP resigns, the next person on that MEP’s party list should automatically get the gig as that party’s MEP for the rest of the term of the EU Parliament. Or in this case until March 2019, when the UK crashes out of the EU and is left with only Donald Trump as a friend. If he hasn’t caused WW3 by that point. Although if he does you can be sure that the British government will be the only European government not to criticise him. Ian resigned, and there was Belinda waiting for the phone call to tell her she’s the last Tory MEP for Scotland. Only the call never came. The party has refused to confirm her.
The distinct lack of a call is not unrelated to the fact that Belinda and Ruth are not exactly besties. Belinda may have a photie of Ruth in her hoose, but if she does it’s on a dartboard. She was one of those who prominently opposed Ruth’s candicacy for party leader back in 2012, and if there’s one thing that Ruth is good at apart from posing for photo-opportunities with her pals in the press, it’s holding a grudge.
Sources in the party are saying that Ruth’s leadership style is authoritarian and unforgiving. A woman who likes to dress up in military uniforms has dictatorial tendencies. Who could have seen that one coming? Ruth Davidson is running the Scottish Conservatives as her personal vehicle for advancement. It’s the tank that she’s planning to use to further her career. Scratch beneath the cheery photo opportunities and there’s something very ugly.
Belinda is now taking legal action to prevent the Tories from offering the MEP seat to anyone else. Her supporters claim that unless you’re a part of Ruth’s clique, you get nowhere in the Scottish Tories. This says rather a lot about the recent revelations that the Tories had been appointing as candidates a whole slew of people with some very worrying connections to the far right and the Orange Order. Just as long as you’re a supporter of Ruth Davidson, the party doesn’t care if you’re a bit of a fascist with a sideline in sectarianism. It doesn’t do the due diligence on candidates, just as long as they support Ruth. That says a lot about Ruth’s leadership, a lot that doesn’t paint the Tories in a very flattering light.
Painting the Tories in a flattering light has been the single minded job of much of the Scottish Unionist media for the past few years. And that’s not been easy, what with the rape clause, the soaring gap between rich and poor, the housing crisis, Ruth’s rapid conversion from Remainer to Brexiteer, the dirty deal with the DUP, the utter lack of coherence and planning for Brexit, Ruth’s propensity for tweeting photos of actresses in underwear (can you imagine the outrage if a male politician had done that?), etc and depressingly more etcs. But it won’t stop them.
Ruth likes to dress like a dictator, it’s no surprise she acts like one too. The vain, self-regarding and deeply flawed Ruth Davidson is the Unionist establishment’s only remaining hope of saving the UK, and they’re going to protect her. This latest dispute is far more serious than a Twitter dispute between non-party Yes supporters, this goes to the very heart of how the Scottish Conservatives are led and run. It goes to the very heart of democratic accountability in Scotland. Yet you can bet that it won’t receive a fraction of the coverage received by a Twitter dispute within the Yes campaign.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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