I HADN’T watched the We are Scotland video before I read Conservative MP Ross Thomson’s letter complaining about it. I knew it must be bad though. Thomson asserted in his letter to Scotland’s top civil servant, the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government, Leslie Evans, that the video had violated section 15 of the Civil Service Code because: “Nationalist rhetoric is infiltrating what should be impartial government communications.”

Scary stuff, indeed. Curiosity piqued, I searched for the offending video. I don’t know exactly what I expected to see – perhaps some burly blokes aggressively jabbing an SNP-emblazoned foam finger at a Jim Murphy lookalike? Imagine my surprise when the “offending” video turned out to be remarkably benign. It is, in essence, a pro-immigration message, talking of “one Scotland” and “standing up for those who call this place their home”.

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It’s the kind of sentiment you’d think would be (almost) universally welcomed. The only Scottish political figure you’d expect to argue against the notion that immigration is good for Scotland, and people who call Scotland their home should be welcomed and valued, is Ukip’s David Coburn.

The Scottish Tories, led by I’m-not-really-a-Tory Ruth Davidson are canny enough to attempt to distance themselves – with limited success – from the anti-immigration rhetoric and policies of the UK Government.

Thomson can’t argue with the message, so he heaps ulterior motives on the messenger. If readers haven’t already read his letter, I recommend they do so as a matter of urgency. It’s so swivel-eyed and bombastic that Thomson even manages to turn a reference to belly buttons into a sinister attempt at subliminal messaging.

Immigrants, Thomson claims, don’t understand Scottish slang. They don’t use colloquial terms such as “heids” or “gadgies”. As well as being patronising, that simply isn’t true. But even if it was – why shouldn’t a video promoting inclusion and respect be a message for Scots-born people too? We’ve seen what happens when a government approaches immigration with suspicion and hostility. The Windrush scandal brought that sharply into focus, but even before then, the drip, drip, drip of othering and division spouted by politicians has had a direct impact of the lives and well-being of immigrants in the UK.

We would be foolish to trick ourselves into thinking that Scotland is immune from racism and bigotry; it is not. That’s why it’s imperative that our political leaders and government send the message right from the top: everybody who lives in Scotland deserves equality of status and opportunity.

Perhaps Thomson is worried that Scotland, the bloody pest that it is, is going “off message” from the UK Government. Maybe his party feels threatened at what a country that is largely undistracted by endless squabbles about the danger of immigration could achieve.

Or maybe – just maybe – this hissy fit is designed to distract. In recent months David Mundell has faced questions over the Scotland Office’s use of Facebook adverts targeted at small business owners in his own constituency.

In another case, one advert excluded only supporters of independence. Campaign group Unlock Democracy said the Scotland Office employing such a strategy could amount to using taxpayer’s cash to “manipulate potential voters for party-political purposes”.

It’s telling, though, that a pro-immigration video is the thing that has incensed Ross Thomson so much. Last week, the Muslim Council of Britain urged the Conservatives to launch an inquiry into Islamophobia within their party, saying there were now more than “weekly incidents” involving Tory candidates and representatives. In Scotland, Tory councillors have been suspended – and in some cases, reinstated – over alleged racist and bigoted comments. No outrage from Ross Thomson on that.

The Scottish Tories are at pains to differentiate themselves from the UK party when it suits. You’d be forgiven for thinking they weren’t affiliated at all with the party of the rape clause, the hostile environment policy and the “hard Brexit is better than no Brexit” school of thought.

Strip away the mealy-mouthed assurances and “different kind of Tory” shtick and we see them for what they are. They are a party so devoid of purpose that they stretch their obsession with British nationalism even so far as to trash a pro-immigration video in their aim.

This silliness was a desperate cry from a party in crisis. As the UK Government lurches from disaster to destruction, the Scottish Tories are left bobbing on the lifeboats, pointing to HMS Brexiteer and shouting “that’s nothing to do with us!”. The irony is that a second independence referendum is their only chance at relevance. Without it, they run the real risk of having to answer for their own party’s failings with no opportunity to distance themselves from it.

The introduction to the video on the One Scotland website says: “No matter what your race, creed, colour or culture, you’re welcome here. After all, it’s the contribution of the many that makes Scotland what it is: one great country.”

If the Scottish Tories were sincere and deserving of the “progressive” credentials that are so often attributed to them, they would be comfortable in embracing this sentiment in its entirety.

The fact that they reacted with consternation speaks volumes and should dispel that myth once and for all.