RUTH Davidson’s media strategy is tried and tested, stunningly simple and effective. It revolves around the premise that she is a Tory unlike all the others. I’ve previously likened her to Boris Johnson, which may not be an obvious comparison, but their styles are remarkably similar.

Johnson swerves difficult questions with that very distinct, Bullingdon-boy style bluster. His faux-eccentric, mumbling stream-of-consciousness is as insincere as it is savvy. At the end of every successful Johnson interview, commentators will be left dusting off their Latin-English dictionaries and googling whatever long-disused word he has not-so-casually employed in a bid to divert attention from the real content of his answers. Mugwump is his flash grenade.

Brand Davidson has learned from her Westminster counterpart and honed her own flash-grenade media strategy to the point where it is unmissable and right on cue, whenever the political waters get a bit choppy.

During election campaigns, it comes in the form of the photo-op. As a self-styled different kind of Tory, she likes to avoid defending or explaining her own party’s policy wherever possible. She ensures the campaign is about herself, her kookiness and achingly-obvious click-bait banter. Defending austerity, nuclear weapons and UK foreign policy is a lot more difficult than straddling a tank or riding a buffalo while smiling for the camera.

As the post-election negotiations finally reached their conclusion, the Conservative party agreed a £1 billion sweetener to secure the votes of the Democratic Unionist Party. One of the first tests of this new alliance was in the debate on whether to remove the pay freeze for public-sector workers such as nurses and police officers. With the image of the heroic Grenfell Tower firefighters, exhausted and sobbing, still fresh in our minds, the sound of Tory MPs cheering as they won the vote left a bitter taste. Davidson profits politically from the Unionist aims of the Conservative and Unionist party, but largely manages to avoid damage by association.

So as Holyrood begins summer recess and the shambolic Brexit negotiations are under way, Ruth Davidson signed off Twitter in her characteristically brand-shrewd way.

"Right, I’m off for a fortnight. In the mean time, here’s @GillianA [Gillian Anderson] just sitting round the house in stilettos & seamed stockings. As you do."

It quickly garnered attention and reaction, a section of which was centred around whether a senior politician sharing an image like that was appropriate, and if it amounted to the objectification of women. Many suggested that if a male politician had tweeted the same, there would be an immediate back-lash and widespread condemnation.

A Scottish Tory spokesperson responded, saying: "When Ruth goes away she often puts up a light-hearted ‘test card’ picture. For political opponents to suddenly try to score points when they’ve never commented before shows just how rattled they’ve become by the Scottish Conservative revival.”

It is unlikely that Ruth Davidson was unaware of the stir her tweet would cause. More so, it seems like that was the whole point of the exercise, in keeping with her ethos of bantering her way through difficult political times. The problem with this kind of strategy is that is quickly becomes transparent, and tests the patience of both the public and media.

When you become the butt of the joke – as Boris Johnson has – your credibility inevitably suffers. Ruth Davidson is not quite there yet and is still written about largely approvingly by the UK media in particular. But the class-clown-in-camouflage act isn’t sustainable, long-term. If she truly believes that she is a First Minister in waiting, then she’ll have to start acting like one. The obvious difficulty being that to do that, she would have to throw away her comfort blanket of zaniness and banter and accept that her personal brand and Conservative party policy cannot be separated.

In the meantime, expect to see more "out there" tweets and photo ops from Ruth Davidson. As the coalition of chaos between the Conservative party and DUP gets under way there will be more scrutiny to avoid, and more grubbiness to try and distract us from.

Pushing-the-boundary tweets and wacky photo-ops are undoubtedly the new "dead-cat strategy" for our social-media smart politicians.