FORMER First Minister Alex Salmond has hit back at Murdo Fraser after the Tory MSP referenced him in a new essay on Scottish conservatism.

In a piece published on the Scottish Tory website, Fraser, who has contested seven constituency elections and lost all seven of them, puts on his blue-tinted glasses and writes about the history of his party in Scotland.

The essay ends rather optimistically first by extolling the virtues of the 13 Scottish Tory MPs elected last year (four of whom are mad Brexiteers happy to defy Ruth Davidson to push through the hardest Brexit), before saying his party is "challenging to be in government".

Recent polls appear to suggest this analysis is wide off the mark, with a Survation survey last month predicting that the SNP would win five Westminster seats back off the Tories and that Ruth Davidson's party had, in fact, fallen back behind even Richard Leonard's hapless Scottish Labour party.

Murdo's essay opens with Walter Scott's famous "so tremble false Whigs in the midst o' yer glee / For you've no seen the last o' my bonnets and me" line from Bonnie Dundee, and follows the quote with a dig at Salmond.

"The irony of the former leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond, quoting these words from one of Scotland's greatest Tories, during his concession speech following the loss of his Gordon constituency in June 2017, was not lost ony observers," Murdo waffles. "Salmond was, perhaps inadvertantly, referencing the Whiggish roots of modern Scottish Conservatism, the very cause that had brought his political career to an abrupt end."

Salmond was quick to hit back, though, saying that Murdo, who was also defeated by Davidson in a Scottish Tory leadership contest in 2011, was suffering from a crisis of political identity having lost so many elections.

“I read Murdo Fraser’s article a couple of times and am still no clearer as to whether he regards himself as a Whig or a Tory," Salmond told The National. "But then as someone who has contested seven constituency elections and lost the lot Murdo probably has suffered more than most from a crisis of political identity.

"Murdo claims whiggish roots for Tory Unionism but I prefer the middle Irish definition of toraidhe meaning thief or robber – sums them up perfectly, then and now.”

That works for us...