FIRST thing every mornin. Pit on ma slippers, mak a cup o tea, an open the curtains tae the girnin pus o John Lamont MP.

Noo, there’s nae flood damage tae leuk sad aboot or tragedies tae photobomb, sae the bold Conservative Member of Parliament for Berwickshire, Roxburgh an Selkirk himsel is naewhaur tae be seen. Insteid, whit’s smirkin in at ma windae is the giant photae in his constituency office that stauns in for him an daes jist as much guid, like the cairdboard cut-oot security men in Home Bargains. On yer best behaviour, guid citizens. Muckle John is watchin.

This isnae jist for ma benefit, like. The hale kintrae is stairtin tae tak note o John Lamont. See, for maist o whit fowk smilingly caw his career, John’s been ontae plums. This is David Steel’s auld seat, LibDem Till Ah Die. Jumpin John’s fourth attempt tae win it came aff simply because he convinced LibDem floaters he wis the anely candidate wha could stap a second independence referendum. An fair’s fair. He’s managed jist that. In the same wey that this rock ah’m haudin keeps awa tigers.

Fower attempts! Robert the Bruce’s spider’s got naethin on oor John. The hale thing’s been Dick Whittington Redux, a touchin, riches-tae-mair-riches story o failure an redemption. Ah, but. Like aw guid fairy tales, John’s story has got kind o a grisly endin. The anely wey tae keep his place in the Westminster stalls is tae placate the LibDem voters wha pit him there. An that means either gawin against his ain government fae time tae time – a notion John recoils fae like it’s a Big Issue salesman staunin ootside Waitrose – or convincin thae same voters that indyref2 is yinst again nigh, and Anely John Lamont Can Stap, etc.

Sae John’s gied up on ony pretence o bein pairt o the actual UK Government, or chyngin the lives o his constituents for the better, or ony o that. Insteid, whit he’s daein is dottin aw ower the constituency like some mad mental remake o Challenge Anneka, canvassin an stumpin an haudin public rallies, aw in the name o Naw tae indyref2. This, by the by, in a pairt o the kintrae that votit twa tae wan tae stey in the UK, an is as likely tae break oot in spontaneous Riverdance as muster the troops for the UDI.

An thereby hings a tale. If John Lamont ever pitches up his act in Glesga or Dundee, ma hat’ll be aff tae him. That’s intae the lion’s den, that is. But tae staun gallus in the weel-scrubbed streets o Melrose or Kelso or Duns, an lead the chants against somethin that anely a minority o fowk there support, that stairts tae leuk like somethin else awthegither. Silencin, mebbe. Bullyin. There are ither wirds.

It’s a trend, an it’s a wirryin yin. We aw unnerstaun that the Daily Mail an ither siclike things exist explicitly wi the purpose o noisin up their ain readers, o enragin an upsettin the verra fowk whase siller keeps them in business. When a private concern like a newspaper cairries on like that, it’s a scunner. But when a political pairty stairts tae act the same wey, it’s somethin a lot warse. An whit we’re seein fae the Scottish Tories o late is a clear an continuin program tae strike fear intae the herts o their ain electorate.

The eggin o Jim Murphy wis wan o the wattershed moments o the first indyref. No (as the Naw heid yins wad hae it) because it merked the breakdoon o public discoorse intae stramash. Raither, it wis validation o the idea that it wis noo politically legitimate tae dae somethin jist for the sake o provokin a negative reaction. Gettin gubbed bi a double-yolker wis the crounin achievement o Jim Murphy’s political career, an ah say that anely hauf-ironically. He kent exactly whit he wis efter.

The sicht o the Scottish Tories – yon brassnecked bourach o League of Gentlemen cosplayers – inspires me wi deep, visceral feelins. Anger, disgust, intellectual incredulity. Feelins that ah dinnae enjoy. Feelins that are at odds wi the person ah want tae be. Ah shouldnae care, should ah, if some bunch o haufwits want tae dress an act like a mixter-maxter o the teachers fae Billy Bunter an the pupils. But ah DAE care. An a big pairt o the reason is – that the Tories want me tae.

The Tories dinnae want fowk like you or me tae jist get on wi oor business. They dinnae want oor tolerance – that’s no wirth ony votes. Whit they want is tae spark up the ootrage o their ain political base, an tae uise oor ootrage tae dae it. Check Murdo Fraser. Every smile a smirk o sic stoondin superciliousness that ony merciful spin doctor would shuirly talk him oot o it. Every utterance a gratuitous mock o social groups – vegans, environmentalists, Scots spikkers – whase votes he thinks he disnae need. Tories like Murdo Fraser arenae simply obnoxious, though there’s an argiment for that. Whit they are noo are deliberate, self-awaur stereotypes o unearned privilege an blasé self-belief. They’re oot tae upset fowk, in the same wey as radio shock jocks an racist co-wirkers an the warst kind o political “satirists”. An it’s aw for nae ither reason than tae keep their ain voters miserable, tae imprison them in this grim wee dungeon o freeloadin foreigners an political correctness gaun radge.

Sae, whit tae dae?

Ah read somewhaur the ither day that the maist quotit poem o 2017 wis Yeats’s “The Second Coming”. Ye ken the wan. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the warld. Whit rough beast slouches taewarts Bethlehem. Och, an ma ain favourite – The best lack aw conviction, while the warst are fou o passionate intensity.

Whit Yeats wis sayin wisnae that the Best need tae up their gemme a bit. Whit he wis gettin at wis that the Warst are, bi definition, the fowk wha’ve nae dout in themsels. That whit lies between believin somethin 99 per cent an believin it a hunner per cent isnae a leap o faith, but a moral chasm. The antidote tae the pure zealotry the Tories are strivin tae whip up isnae some mair extremism o oor ain. The hert o the independence muivement has ayeweys been a healthy dose o uncertainty aboot the wey things are an micht be. “Naw” is anely an answer. “Aye” – that’s a question.

John Lamont’s fairy tale ended wi him turnin intae a troll. But it’s a cautionary story. It could happen tae ony o us wha wake up o a mornin an open the curtains an insist on seein naethin but horror, until we find oot the windae wis ayeweys jist a mirror. Look at puir auld Murdo an imagine, jist for a meenit. Pit yersel in his size sixes. Every second o every day, shuir as shuir can be that the warld ye live in is a dreich an tairible place. Frenzied in yer confidence in it. An certain. Absolutely certain. Nah. Nae thanks. Jist gie me dout.