It’s going well isn’t it? So much for the puffery that claimed that Ruth Davidson was bidding to become the next First Minister. The erstwhile leader of the Ruth Davidson’s Vote Ruth Davidson for More Ruth Davidson party is going the same way as all the other Saviours of the Union, unable even to save her own career. She’s on the verge of proroguing herself indefinitely. I always believed that the UK would come to an end not because of the actions of the SNP or the Scottish independence movement, but because of the failures of the forces of Scottish Unionism and because of English nationalism. I just never expected them to be so enthusiastic about it.
It is claimed that Ruth’s resignation is not directly related to today’s decision from Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to suspend Parliament in order to ram though that no-deal Brexit that he doesn’t have the votes for. Aye. Right. That is true in exactly the same way as it is true that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson swears blind that he’s really progroguing Parliament in order to introduce new legislation about education in England, funding for the polis, and transport infrastructure. We’ll get round to believing that just as soon as we’ve picked our brains up from off the floor, replaced them in our craniums, and done up the buttons at the back of our heads.
A snap YouGov poll carried out on Wednesday found that only 27% of the UK public support the Government’s decision to suspend Parliament. In Scotland that figure drops to 17%. Although the BBC still managed to find one of them for a vox pop on Reporting Scotland. That figure means that a sizeable chunk of those who voted Tory in Scotland in 2017 disagree with the decision and sounds the end of any hopes of the party maintaining its ground in the snap general election that is increasingly likely in the not too distant future. The Golden Girl of the Scottish press doesn’t want to be at the helm when the ship of the Scottish Conservatives doesn’t merely hit the rocks, but it shatters into a thousand pieces and sinks to the bottom of a very deep trench.
It would be exceptionally peculiar timing if there were no direct causation between the respective decisions of the Abandoned Mattress Fire in Downing Street and the darling of the Scottish Press. It means that Ruth will be making a statement about her future as Scottish Tory leader on the very same day as a Holyrood by-election in Shetland. That’s a great look for a Tory candidate, discovering that not even his party leader can support their own party. Of course the Tories were always going to get pumped in Shetland anyway, but this is a casual disregard for even the basic niceties of party leadership. That tells you something about just how hacked off Ruth is.
The resignation will of course be reported by the likes of The Guardian as an honourable move by a politician who had had a great future ahead of her. But that’s only because the English press fails to understand the realities of Scottish politics and never truly appreciated that even when she was still the Golden Girl Ruth Davidson had as much chance of becoming the next First Minister as Ross Thomson does of correctly identifying things that you can legitimately grab onto to stop yourself falling over when you’re pished. Allegedly. In Scottish terms, her position had become untenable. In the wider Conservative party she’d fallen from grace, the least popular politician amongst Conservative party members in the UK as a whole.
The moment that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson ignored her advice to keep Fluffy Mundell in office, it was clear that Ruth Davidson had lost her sole selling point in Scotland – her supposed influence on the Conservative government in Westminster. It was just one in a series of wounds to her carefully cultivated reputation, a puffed up balloon that started to deflate when those MPs elected as representatives of the Ruth Davidson’s Vote Ruth Davidson for More Ruth Davidson party so publicly refused to toe her line on Brexit. This Prime Minister has signalled the death knell for Scottish Unionism as a political force in its own right and with its own interests. There’s no place for Ruth Davidson in this new political landscape. There’s only a place for a Scotland that’s quiet, obedient, subordinate and submissive.
Ruth Davidson had hoped she could leave before she was found out. It’s a bit too late for that. The failures of Scottish Unionism as a political philosophy are laid bare. There’s nothing left now but the Cringe. And if that’s all that’s left, there’s nothing left for Scotland in the UK. There are no positive arguments to be had, there’s only fear, negativity, and self-doubt.
Reports that Ruth has had enough and is about the resign signal something important for the opposition to Scottish independence. It means that attempts to put a fresh modern face on Scottish Unionism have failed. You can after all only get so far with cheeky photo ops while perched on the back of a buffalo. Strip that away and underneath lurks the same nasty intransigence, the same pursed lipped nawbaggery, the same contempt. The true face of Scottish Conservativism is the patrician disdain of Alister Who He Posho, who is the living embodiment of the saying that every silver lining has its cloud.
This is the last bastion of One Nation Conservatism giving up the struggle, and the Tories in London giving up on Scotland as a lost cause as they transform themselves into an openly English nationalist party. When even the face of opposition to Scottish independence can’t support her own party leader in Westminster, we are in the end game for this so-called union.
The British establishment in Scotland has just lost their latest Saviour of the Union. Ruth has gone the same way as Kezia, who went the same way as Jim Murphy before her. Chris Deerin and Kenny Farquharson are desperately in need of a new one. Step forward Jo Fracking Swinson, and we can see how long you last before you crack under the pressure.
My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.
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