Piqued Ruth

Well that’s me back home now. I had a lovely time with my other half although when I was away I picked up a nasty cough and sore throat from my husband’s infant niece. I fell down the stairs in my in-laws’ house and did my back in and hurt my elbow. And I managed to lose the SIM card for my mobile phone after removing it from my phone to replace it for the duration of my trip with a US pay as you go one. But no matter how crap I am currently feeling, it is as nothing compared to the ocean of Borisoid doo doo in which Ruth Davidson’s career is currently mired. I’d normally feel a modicum of sympathy for anyone facing such challenges, because my mammy brought me up to be a kind sowel, but … naaah.

Ruth Davidson was always a media construct, all smiles and photo ops riding on the back of a single policy – the refusal to countenance another independence referendum. There was never any realistic prospect of Ruth Davidson becoming the next First Minster despite the hype of her pals in the press. Ruth was only ever the latest darling of a Scottish media that’s always on the search for the next Saviour of the Union like a band of cultists expecting the Messiah. But Ruth has turned out to be a false prophet just like Kezia Dugdale and Jim Murphy and all the rest before them.

It’s easy to scoff at a politician who bases their entire appeal on a couple of cheeky photo ops and some snark on Twitter, but we live in an age of surface not substance. It was precisely Ruth’s lack of substance and her surface sheen of modernity that allowed her to appeal to people who might not otherwise have voted Conservative. Her image, young, working class, lesbian, was far removed from that of the huntin shootin and fishin landed toff Tory. She managed to position the Scottish Conservatives as the default party for that segment of the Scottish population which would never consider independence under any circumstances. She became the smiling modern face of a reactionary project.

However Ruth has been undone by her own party, who have in the shape of our new Colonial Secretary Alister Jack returned to landed toff huntin shootin and fishin form. The Conservatives’ pursuit of Brexit has opened up another fault line, a chasm into which Ruth’s electoral prospects have tumbled, most likely never to recover. Essentially Ruth Davidson was repeating the trick played by Tony Blair in the 1990s. He tacked to the centre and right because he knew that left wing voters could be taken for granted. Ruth Davidson made a pitch to the anti-independence centre because she knew that the right could be taken for granted. Brexit undid that. She now has to compete with Nigel Farage on the right. Meanwhile the centre in Scotland is overwhelmingly opposed to Brexit, and so is immune to the dubious charms of a Scottish Conservative party which is defined by achieving the goal of the Brexit that Scotland has rejected.  Scotland must now choose between two unions, either the UK or the EU.  Thanks to the Tories keeping both is no longer an option. Losing on the centre, losing on the right, Ruth has nowhere to turn. Stuck in a guddle with David Mundell.

Ruth has attempted to shore up her position by supporting Brexit, contrary to her previous stance, but claims that she’ll resist a no deal Brexit. Unfortunately for her there is nothing that she can do in practical terms to resist a no deal Brexit. It’s a meaningless stance from a politician who cannot affect the outcome. The other morning, Tory MSP Adam Tomkins had a toe curling interview on BBC Radio Scotland with Gary Robertson during which he was unable to answer a simple question about what Ruth Davidson could do to prevent a no deal Brexit. Adam didn’t want to answer, because the only option that Ruth Davidson really has is to give Boris Johnson suuuuuch a look.  That’ll show him.

The uncomfortable truth which both Adam and Ruth can’t avoid is that there’s nothing that the Scottish Tories can do to prevent a no deal Brexit. The 13 useless wonders who sit as Conservative MPs for Scottish seats were not disposed to listen to Ruth when she was Ruth Davidson the winner, Ruth is full of win, Ruth the darling of a gushing media, they’re certainly not going to obey her now that she is held in similar esteem by Boris Johnson as something unpleasant on the sole of his shoe. Boris Johnson openly humiliated Ruth and destroyed her authority when he sacked David Mundell against her advice. He then signalled his contempt for the distinctiveness of the Scottish party by appointing an MP for an English seat as “Minister for the Union” in second place at the Scotland Office.

Scottish Tory MPs won’t vote against a no deal Brexit because Ruth Davidson tells them to. Indeed, some of them will actively pursue it, and having spent the last election telling one and all that those MPs were representives of the Vote Ruth Davidson for More Ruth Davidson Party, Ruth Davidson will not be able to avoid the political fall out in Scotland. The other parties will hold her accountable for the voting records of Brextremist MPs like Ross Thomson and Stephen Kerr.

If there’s an early General Election because Boris Johnson is unable to get a no deal Brexit through the Commons that election will be fought on giving Johnson a mandate to pursue the Brexit of his choosing. Ruth Davidson will then be in the untenable position of opposing the key policy of her own party. She can hardly repeat the trick she managed in 2017 of acting as though the election in Scotland is purely about heading off another independence referendum. It will be a Brexit election and Ruth’s party will be advocating a position that Scotland has rejected, led by a Prime Minister that Scotland despises and who ignores Ruth’s advice. She will no longer be able to claim that a vote for her will produce any tangible increase in Scottish influence in the corridors of power in Westminster when she can’t even influence her own MPs. She will no longer be able to claim that a vote for her increases Scotland’s strength within the Union. A vote for the Scottish Conservatives will be an endorsement of Scotland’s second rate status and place of silence on the back seat. Her discomfort will be enjoyable to watch.

The options for the Scottish Tory leader are extremely limited. Even Murdo Fraser’s proposal for a separate Scottish Conservative party to contest Scottish elections wouldn’t solve the problem – and Ruth has already ruled it out. Under that plan Scottish Tory MPs at Westminster would still take the Conservative whip and would not be directly answerable to Ruth on Brexit. There’s nothing to prevent them ignoring what their putative leaderene says on Brexit exactly as they’ve ignored her to date. Besides, setting up an independent Scottish Conservative and Unionist party would only mean that Ruth would be left with the humiliating question of why she’s asserting independence for herself, but denying the Scottish people the right to even ask themselves the question. Mind you, humiliation has never stopped the Scottish Tories before. David Mundell based a whole career on it.

The Conservative party in Westminster has given Ruth Davidson an abject lesson in Scotland’s real place in this so-called awesome foursome. Told to sit down and shut up at the back of the Boris bus. Her choices are stark. She can either sit down, shut up, and accept it and watch as the Scottish Conservatives face electoral oblivion at the next election, in which event what little credibility she still retains will disappear even quicker than Ruth herself does when faced with a difficult question, or she can resign. Scotland needs someone who can wield influence in Scotland’s favour. Ruth Davidson can’t even influence the Conservative party.

Either way Ruth Davidson’s career as Saviour of the Union is well and truly over. The Scottish press is already preparing to worship at the feet of Jo Swinson who will this time, no really, honestly, cross my heart and swear to god, turn out to be the miracle worker of East Dunbartonshire. HalleUKia, praise the flawed.

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35 comments on “Piqued Ruth

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug Piqued Ruth Well that’s me back home now. I had a lovely time with my other half although when I […]

  2. Ernie Ross says:

    Hope you recover fast. Wee ginger dug you can’t leave him for a second, dottery auld fool lol

  3. failedcrofter says:

    Wee ginger dug on holiday in Ullapool. See picture. Ken.                                                                   Sent from my Vodafone Smart

  4. wm says:

    Welcome back Paul, could not agree more another first class post. The differance between a tory in London and the SE, and the Scottish tory is that the conservative in London and the SE is four or five times richer, and they treat Scotland’s conservatives as they deserve. Even the labour voters in the SE would not p**s on the conservative voters in Scotland.

  5. Melvin says:

    Great that your back Paul, It exciting times, general election on the horizon and SNP hopefully will make it vote for us vote for independence and EU, or at least vote for us and if no section 30 then we vote in Scot parly to declare union void.

    Wishful thinking?

  6. Alba Laddie says:

    Sublime Paul. Oddly enough I’ve just e-mailed our local cipher, sorry, Tory councillor in our ward to ask him similar questions re Teflon Ruth (as is my habit every time I receive one of his glossy Butcher’s apron bedecked leaflets).

    His evasive, non-answers always amuse me, especially since his leader, me, and him, all live in the same ward as each other and I often see her torn face in the local Morrison’s.

  7. scotsmanic0803 says:

    Sorry to hear you were in America. Hope you get better soon. 🙂

  8. Millsy says:

    What is the difference between Ruth davidson and Jo Swinson ?
    This isn’t a quiz question with a clever play on words at the end – I genuinely do not know the difference between Davidson and Swinson !

  9. John Lamb says:

    Going by her voting record Joe Swinson is a tory masquerading as a Liberal Democrat. The LDs have now become the tory-lite party, Trying (with some sucess) to pick up the remainers vote. As the Tories move further to the right the LDs are occupying the vacant posiition in the centre right.

  10. Robert Harrison says:

    And the humiliation dont stop there as colin clark is now basically working in the Scotland office for naff all alongside an England mp who got 25k for doing the exact same job Scotland hating little tory being treated like a slave by bojo the clown England supremacist to the extreme.

  11. Colin Dawson says:

    There is another option for the Conservative Party in Scotland. They could conclude, like about half of Scotland’s population, that the UK does not act in Scotland’s best interests and support calls for independence. I accept that this is extremely unlikely but the threat of a no-deal Brexit puts us in uncharted territory. If the Conservative and/or Labour Party in Scotland came out in support of Scottish independence, the result of the next referendum would be a slam dunk. As for the Lib Dems; they need to pick a union. They can’t have both.

    • Alastair Gunn says:

      It’s also another option for Ruth, though she’d have to be really deft when it came to spinning her u-turn. (I also doubt “her” MPs/MSPs, nor the party membership at large would allow her to take it and remain “leader” afterwards.)

      If she wants to be First Minister of Scotland, and I assume that she does, then why not aim to be First Minister of an *independent* Scotland? Wouldn’t that be an even more impressive thing to have written about you in the history books? There’s going to some form of centre-right party in an independent Scotland and, sooner or later, it will end up in government so come on Ruth, it could be you? 😀

      Plus, as you say, the support of either the Conservatives and/or Labour would make Indyref2 a slam dunk and from Ruth’s POV she should consider that at the moment she’d pretty much have to be the public face of Better Together 2 and should she lose that campaign then her political career would come to a screeching halt! Whereas if she was campaigning for independence and we won then she could go on the claim “it was her support that swung it!”. (It wouldn’t really be true, but that’s unlikely to stop her from claiming it!)

    • Bob Lamont says:

      I suspect all parties know indy2 is highly probable but none dare break ranks?
      The problem for Davidson etc in changing horses is the backlash from both sides in Scotland – Whilst I agree centre right and left parties are inevitable, the current leaders have too much baggage to be candidates, even if they were they to swear on a stack of bibles…
      The disease of British politics may be infectious, but dare I suggest that “stand by your word” and honourable behaviour may be due a renaissance, god knows neither has been much seen of late..?

  12. Bob Lamont says:

    Glad you enjoyed your break, but it reads like a rerun of Ricki Fulton’s “Lucky White Heather”…
    Welcome back to the madness, Johnson in charge of the Tories and Swinson the Liberals, just when you thought British politics could not be more farcical, Swinson’s excruciating intonations remind you it can….
    Your “we live in an age of surface not substance” is spot on, but no amount of polish can disguise the cracked veneer beneath.. Johnson’s buffoonery is a distraction to the Tory fundamentalists’ aim to destroy the EU and devolution, “No Deal” was never a destination but the nuclear option of mutually assured financial destruction with Ireland at the epicentre..
    Ditching Mundell, however heartening, was not only a rebuff to Ruthless, but removed her from the chessboard as potential adversary (few English Tories realise how shallow she really is). The appointment of “Minister for the Union” simultaneously reduced her influence to almost zero, but put the propaganda machine fully under London control for the imminent wargames.
    Her coat was on a shoogly peg anyway, now there’s nothing left to hang it on..

  13. Terry callachan says:

    Ruth , Jo , etc etc are interchangeable in Scotland ,
    setting aside their personal ambitions which are how much money and power they can create for themselves,
    they have only one policy and that is for Scotland to be ruled by England
    Everything they do and say has to gel with those two things

  14. panda paws says:

    “HalleUKia, praise the flawed.”

    oh that is sublime! Were you in the Bible Belt?

  15. Midgehunter says:

    If the dug starts ringing then you know where the Sim card is…!

    This is one of the best posts you’ve done till now, it’s a clear resumee of Roothies situation.

  16. Paul, like yourself, I usually have some sympathy for people who are in a pickle, but for Ruth, I am willing to make an exception.

  17. Andy Anderson says:

    Glad you enjoyed your break to the States. Welcome back.

    Good analysis of Ruthie’s situation. As you highlight the ‘no Independence’ supporters can now vote Brexit party or UKIP reducing the likelihood of the Conservatives getting anything near the 13 MP’s they have at present. I suspect the SNP will get more MP’s next time if we have a GE this year.

    Less for Westminster from here but they, the Tories will get a Brexit support vote in England even from people that would not normally vote Tory.

    Grim political times indeed.

    My only frustration at present is the I see and hear people in Yes groups getting on with campaigning but not the SNP. I acknowledge many SNP people are active in Yes groups but where are the 100,000 that seem to be sitting at home tweeting away.

    C’mon campaign now.

    • Robert Graham says:

      Agreed the snp management need to start paying attention , it is only recently they have started making appearances on marches etc and the braver ones pop up on Alex Salmonds show on RT .

      I renewed my and my wife’s membership recently then three days later a reminder that my membership had lapsed , a total waste of time and postage .

      The media presence is woeful to the extent it’s non existent so much for the unit set up to counter the now bare faced lies that unionist politicians seen to favour , a wee bit of coordination and joined up thinking is needed , and this arms length stance that is being used with most independence groups needs to change because we are all in this together Aren’t We ! ? .

    • Bob Lamont says:

      True that SNP admin have been notably noticeably disengaged from visible joined up and public action and have allowed far too much bullshit to pass unchallenged, but with so many SNP members otherwise participating, there has to be strategic logic in play at HQ. I’m not defending SNP in the slightest, proactive engagement would make a welcome change when so much bullshit is flying, but perhaps it’s one of those ‘it’s too damned quiet out there’ strategies because they know the media response will be brutal.
      We should not forget the Scotland Office staffing and budgets have been hiked for no sudden administrative reasons, so I’d be highly surprised if a dedicated team is not parked there ready to rubbish whatever SNP say or do. This is the end-game for the Union and they know it full well, it’s going to get very dirty when the starting pistol fires….

  18. Just noticed that Ian Duncan Smith has accused Mark Carney of reviving ‘project fear’. There seems to be widespread thieving of slogans from the Independence Campaign.

  19. I just noticed my earlier post has not appeared. It was about Jane Dobbs, LibDem winner in the Brecon and Radnorshire election talking about voters choosing ‘hope over fear’.

  20. Derek Rogers says:

    Ruth’s conduct may have a different explanation. She sees fine well that independence is coming, and we’ll need new, home-grown political parties – so she’s positioning herself to be the leader of one of those. She has determination, and she’s photogenic, and maybe she also has brains under all the clowning that Westminster forces her to do. And we certainly need a half-way decent opposition. The alternative, for heavens’ sake, is Jackson Carlaw, or Annie Wells.

  21. ziggy85 says:

    Great article Paul. On the money and made me laugh. You have Ruth sussed.

  22. Welsh Sion says:

    Darn it!

    There goes my ‘other’ joke.

    I’ll give it its last outing …

    Q: What’s the difference between the Leader of North Korea and
    the Leader of the Tories of North Britain?

    A: One is a self-regarding egoist who loves posing with military hardware and is adored by State media. The other is Kim Jong-Un.

  23. diabloandco says:

    S’truth Paul , you’ll have to take better care of yourself . Welcome home !

    Johnson has done one good thing in sacking Mundell , his appointment of the hunti’ , shootin’ and fishin’ man is not so good, hardly a man of the people.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Perhaps there is method in this beyond the Davidson snub.
      He will be acutely aware appointing Jack will rankle the status quo, but by appointing a completely disconnected Worcester MP overseeing Scotland and NI will go down like a lead balloon from which he is distanced. The Scots have been a pain in the Tory backside for ages having been a Labour stronghold (and no love lost from Tory members). Scots leaving after a “brave” fight to preserve the Union may well be his tactic, Conservative England weeping crocodile tears while rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of further decades of political dominance, Tory or BP simply different shades of the same coat
      That only leaves Norn-Irln (a drain on them for decades) to dispose of, the balancing act being to manoeuvre re-unification while relying on the dinosaur DUP for political support.
      The “forever England” Tory dream and perpetual political domination is then guaranteed, rid of potential Scots trouble-makers and challengers, the Irish troubles discarded as a failed 1920’s miltary adventure, sunny uplands beckon..
      The financial impact will be managed, Johnson’s “fuck business” equally transposes to “fuck the Scots” or “fuck the Irish”…. Everyone’s hero, in England…
      It’s all about money and power…

      • Welsh Sion says:

        That only leaves Norn-Irln (a drain on them for decades) to dispose of,…

        ‘Ere! Wot about uz, Bob? 😉

        • Bob Lamont says:

          Wales is not one of the more immediate probabilities 😉
          In the longer term, even England cannot survive as presently constituted, vast swathes of the country trapped in artificial decline and poverty, but which will not improve under any form of sunny-upland Brexit, whichever Tory version governs.
          London-centric control, most notably under the Tories, has created a society where investment gravitates to the south-east. There was an excellent talk by Anand Menon where he argued that further devolution was the only viable model to redistribute wealth more fairly, but “politicians seem obsessed by high speed trains” instead.
          With Tories opposed to decentralisation, the historic EU scapegoat sacrificed, where will that anger and frustration at the inequality be directed I wonder ?
          It could all get rather ugly quickly, and change may become an imperative….

  24. David Agnew says:

    Some time back around 2007, I read a rather dry and academic work called “Union and Unionisms” by Colin Kidd. A dry read, with very few insights and not much in the way of extolling the virtues of union. It did conclude with two rather startling observations.

    One: That the Union was simply tolerated. It had been around for so long, that folk just got used to it. Its like faded old wallpaper, said Mr Kidd. Hidden by the furniture and folk are unwilling to change it because people don’t much care for change.

    Two: Should that cozy consensus be disturbed; say by an upsurge in English nationalism, then the union is unlikely to survive it, because Scottish unionists wouldn’t know how to respond to it.

    I think that really does get to the heart of the Ruth Davidson problem and by extension the Scots tories. She did try to position her party as pro union, in a bid to wrest away what few pro-union votes there were to be had from Labour and the Lib-Dems. She avoided policy because she knew how deeply unpopular her party was and still is. She very cleverly and smartly positioned herself on a fence called union. The Ruth Davidson problem is that if you do that, you have to be prepared to fight for it. To fight for Scotland’s place in the union. Not just from independence minded Scots and the SNP but also from Westminster and England. Its just that the Scottish tories have shown very little aptitude in this area, in fact are demonstrably unwilling to do so. What works for England and the tory party, should, by extension (or so the Scots tories think) work for Scotland. Only this is not the case. But they can’t bring themselves to acknowledge this. Can’t and will not draw attention to any injustices and genuine grievances Scotland may have, because they think it strengthens the appeal of Independence. But if they don’t, how can they ever extol the benefits of the Union?

    The solution to this has been to basically hope that England wouldn’t lose the plot and start acting like a gammon faced racist, determined to turn their precious UK into a racist little hell hole.
    Enter Farage and his normalisation by the UK media.
    Enter UKIP.
    Enter the EU referendum on the even of a narrow vote of support for the union in Scotland. A vote secured on a lot promises, not least of which was the assurances on EU membership.
    Enter ERG and the Dickensian villain that is Jacob Reese Mogg
    Enter the raging Gammon that is the Brexit party, who act like a racist with a midlife crisis and decided to crash an 18-30 holiday, because they still think they’ve got the moves. Instead we have the walking corpse that is Anne Widdecombe doing gran dancing instead.

    From that moment on, the Scots tories were hostages to the fortunes of their English paymasters.
    It should have got off its fence and defended Scotland to the hilt. But it doesn’t want to do that for the reasons stated earlier. It also simply does not know how to deal with the rise of a pure mental and batshit insane English nationalism. It doesn’t know how to defend the union from the prophets of Gammon.

    You also have decades of lies of Scottish dependency on subsidy coming back to bite them on the arse. You don’t denigrate your own nation like this to another and there be no consequences to it. Just one too many snide asides left unchallenged for any defence to look credible.

    But don’t feel sorry for Ruth Davidson or her party. This disaster is on her. She played politics with our nation and its people, instead of standing up for it. Her sub branch cravenly stood by and watched her party bosses in Government, set fire to the UK and its institutions. Stayed silent as her political masters attacked and insulted our allies in Europe. Called its citizens queue jumpers and tried to use them as bargaining chips. She said nothing as the UK media attacked remainers as saboteurs and traitors. Silently stood in the shadows as the WW2 rhetoric got dialed to 11. Watched Priti Patel threaten to starve the people of Ireland. Looked like people chewing wasps when one blow hard called for remainers to tried for treason. And all the while, as the UK burned and their precious Union bleeds out, they demanded that Scotland give Johnson a chance and embrace a brexit they know will destroy the UK and their party.

    Don’t you dare feel sorry for Ruth.

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