ALMOST every month since Alex Salmond led his party to a surprise victory over Iain Gray’s Labour Party, someone in the overwhelmingly Unionist Scottish media has penned a piece claiming that we’re past peak SNP. But 2009 was a different world, Scottish politics was dull and boring. There was no grass-roots independence movement, and with the exception of Thatalicsammin, party leaders were grey, boring, and managerial. Labour’s leader was even called Gray.

The Scottish Unionist establishment, the guardians in Scotland of that British nationalism which isn’t nationalist at all because it’s British, loathed the SNP. Even more, they loathed the changes that the SNP government had wrought in Scotland. Above all they loathed the growth of a mass grass-roots popular movement calling for radical change in Scotland, the independence movement. Something had to be done. Someone had to do whatever it was that had to be done.

That someone was going to be the new Messiah who was chosen as the leader of the main anti-independence party. A messiah who would smite the heathens with their blue-painted faces and hairy wee Caledonian legs and restore Scotland to its proper place as a grey and dull land with a disengaged population which passively consumed a diet of proper news. News about murrdurrs, wee cute kittens, fitba, and how the SNP is very very bad. It’s not so much seeing the light as hallelujah seeing the dreich. Yea, verily. But British nationalism in Scotland is not a cult. Only independence supporters are cult-like. It said so in an anti-independence newspaper, and it is tweeted regularly by frothers who invest Ruth Davidson with mystical powers, so it must be true. Holy writ, even.

Unfortunately, over the succeeding few years, messiahs came and went as regularly as the phases of the moon. In fact, organic gardeners discovered that Labour leadership election season was a pretty reliable guide to when you should plant your potatoes. All were hailed as the next big thing – remember Jim Murphy? – who was going to wield godlike powers and turn back the independence tide, and all turned out to be potatoes. So much so that even the British nationalist media, which is so engaged in magical thinking that it still claims to believe that the British state has Scotland’s interests at heart, gave up believing in the Labour Party. By the time Kezia Dugdale had her turn passing through the revolving door, no-one was really that interested any more.

Her replacement, Richard Who?, hasn’t even made as much of an impact on the Scottish political landscape as an organic potato patch. With Richard Who?, Labour in Scotland has reverted to type. They’re not even trying any more. Not even the British nationalist media in Scotland can affect much of an interest. At Furst Meenister’s Questions this week, Richard delivered the kind of performance that you watch between your fingers with your hands covering your eyes, all the while making small groaning noises and wishing it all would stop. You may always have thought that James Kelly was the only politician on the planet who could make Iain Gray seem charismatic, witty, and amusing, but then Labour in Scotland chose Richard Who? as its branch office manager.

Thankfully for true believers in the godlike powers of the Yookay, a new messiah was discovered when Ruth Davidson became leaderene of the Scottish Tories. Ruth was really going to smite the Nats, with her cheery photo ops and her propensity for sitting on tanks. Unfortunately, it’s an exaggeration to say that Ruth’s contribution to Scottish political life has been smoke and mirrors. At least you can do something useful with a mirror. You can see what you’re like in a mirror. No-one would accuse Ruth of possessing that amount of self-awareness.

Ruth might not have much self-awareness, but she did have policies. Or at least a policy. It’s a one-size-fits-all policy, but it suited a desperate British establishment better than a Labour potato. The Scottish Conservatives had a policy response to any question or issue that was put to them. What are the Scottish Tories going to do about the NHS? Scotland doesn’t want another independence referendum! What would Ruth do about ScotRail? Scotland said no and no means no! What about education policy? We’re fed up with Thatessempee always banging on about independence! What about Brexit? Did we mention we don’t want another independence referendum?

Ruth’s contributions to FMQ’s over the past few years have gone approximately as follows. In 2014: the Scottish Parliament should use the powers it’s been given! In 2015: the Scottish Parliament should use the powers it’s been given! In 2016: the Scottish Parliament should use the powers it’s been given! In 2017: the Scottish Parliament should use the powers it’s been given! In 2018: how very dare the Scottish Parliament use the powers it’s been given!

Still, she’s gone pretty far considering that all she’s got going for her is the uncritical support of a media establishment that doesn’t believe in asking her difficult questions. Unfortunately the people of Scotland aren’t that uncritical. A recent opinion poll demonstrates that no matter how much the media tries to put a shine on Ruth, she’s really just another potato. If there were to be an election today, the Tories would lose a slew of seats.

The Tories are not the voice of Scotland in Westminster, they are the voice of Westminster in Scotland. We’re not past peak-SNP – the independence movement remains vital, active, and revving up for another referendum – but we’re certainly past peak Ruth.