NO means No. At least as far as Scotland is concerned. Last week it was Richard Leonard, this week it’s Ruth Davidson who seeks to block democracy and progress in our small nation.

In the run-up to her speech at the Conservative conference in Birmingham on Monday, the Scottish Conservative leader announced that Scotland “will not be permitted” to hold another independence referendum until at least 2027, and – wait for it, this is the best bit – then only under a Conservative government.

Now, given the Scots haven’t voted for a Tory government in many a long year, despite the voting intentions of the rest of the UK, this is not much of a realistic scenario right at the get go.

But more importantly, just like Leonard, Davidson has failed to understand the very essence of Scottish politics in 2018 and the true meaning of democracy. The Scottish people have a democratic triple-lock mandate on a second referendum and a Claim of Right. It’s not up to the Tory Tank Commander to decree the when and the how of indyref2 whether if by some cosmic mystery she ends up as FM, in a parallel universe or otherwise.

Interestingly, Davidson seemed to “get it” back in 2016 when she announced that “constitutionally the UK Government shouldn’t block” another referendum. But she’s well known for her flip-flopping, and changes her opinion according to the whims of the Cabinet, not the democratic wishes of the country or constituents she represents at Holyrood.

This kind of draconian and authoritarian stance won’t go down well in Scotland. As one of many campaigners out last Saturday for the SNP’s day of action, I can tell you that people are sick and tired of being undermined, ignored and treated with such monumental disdain. They’ve had enough of the UK Government trying to block Scotland from a positive future at every twist and turn in their self-inflicted Brexit bourach.

Davidson also used her platform at the Conservative conference to reject any support for a second referendum on Brexit saying it would be “undemocratic”. Oh, the irony! Respect for democracy is hardly the Tories’ calling card at the moment. But Davidson is standing firm – she will not countenance a People’s Vote, despite the democratic wishes of the Scottish people who voted Remain by 62% and despite the doom-laden economic predictions for our country post-Brexit. In her eyes, any support for another go at staying in the EU would open the floodgates for a second independence referendum. In the absence of policies and her continued anti-independence stance, this is all she has got. As far as Davidson is concerned, just like her leader, “now is not the time”.

Putting up blockages to progress for Scotland seems to be a recurring theme for the Tories. In the past few weeks we’ve learned that they tried to block any support or discussion at the EU of a Northern Ireland-style “backstop” for Scotland or, in other words, if the north gets to stay in the customs union and the single market. The Tories advised that under no circumstances should the same preferential deal be applied by the EU to the Scots.

You may also remember that Theresa May has tried to block Holyrood’s EU Continuity Bill by taking the Scottish Government to the Supreme Court, the result of which we still await.

At Westminster, her government tried to block the SNP’s opportunity to debate the EU Withdrawal Bill and the Tory’s blatant Brexit devolution power grab by filibustering and apportioning a tiny amount of time to this important topic. Luckily for Scotland, the SNP took action, and were given extra time the next week to make the voice of Scotland heard at Westminster. But all to no avail so far.

Scotland has watched from an unsafe distance this continuous marginalisation by the current UK Government. We can see clearly that the so-called partnership of equals is merely an illusion. The Conservative conference motto this week may be “Opportunity” but it could just as well be “Self-interest” as everything is worth sacrificing on the altar of Brexit – Scotland, Northern Ireland, our standing on the world stage, the economy, the people, everything.

It’s this over-riding self-interest which could lead to self-destruction. Davidson wants the Tories to “crack on” with turning the UK into an economic wasteland through Brexit, while turning a blind eye to the damage wreaked by her party’s austerity measures, to the insensitivity of their two-child cap and rape clause, to endemic racism and religious bigotry in their ranks. It may be that through her calls for a complete shutdown on independence and through her public support for May and her Chequers Deal, Davidson has backed the wrong three-legged horse.

The main conference room was only half full for her speech on Monday, while the real action was happening on the fringes, stage right with Rees-Mogg. Trust me, the queue to his speech was far longer and more excitable than Ruth’s. Her MPs, such as Ross Thomson, are also very vocal in their support for the other side. She might find that, before long, both her party and her country abandon her and her couthy soundbites.

Because regardless of the games being played out in the Tory party just now, Scotland has a whole different vision for our future – one that’s free of blockages and refusals from power that doesn’t care or value us. We need to be ready to seize it and we need to have a clear plan. Because everything we have done to improve the lives and futures of our nation through devolution is the antithesis of Tory policy.

While Davidson has been playing at politics and bending with the wind from London, we’ve been cracking on with mitigating the worst of her government’s destructive policies, we’ve been fighting hate and prejudice and we’ve been promoting equality. Devolution has been good for Scotland, even better than many of us hoped. Just imagine what we could achieve with Independence.