IT won’t have escaped your attention that on a regular basis in this column I’ve been fairly critical of Ruth Davidson and her Scottish Conservative MSPs and MPs.

Let’s be honest here, there’s not been much good to say about them since the EU referendum in 2016 or since the General Election in 2017. They’ve let Scotland down at every twist and turn of this Brexit bourach, failing to stand up for their constituent’s clear democratic wishes and the greater good of their country and its future prosperity.

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And all of this while the worm of religious bigotry and prejudice has been crawling all the way up through their councillors to their MPs. None of this has been addressed adequately.

But this week saw a new low in their trajectory as a party.

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I wondered how Davidson had felt when she heard Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the DUP, quote her exact words to the House of Commons during Theresa May’s non-announcement on Brexit last Monday.

Perhaps she knew in advance – after all she’d already made a statement of support for them at the weekend. But even so, suddenly, it looked like the political had become personal for Ruth Davidson.

Dodds was of course reiterating her and Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell’s call for no special measures for Northern Ireland. This to ensure no differentiation for Scotland from the rest of the UK in all matters relating to Brexit. Now, put to one side the sheer idiocy of supporting Brexit in the full knowledge of what it will do to harm the country you represent as a politician, all in the name of Unionism. And put to one side the sheer hypocrisy of a politician whose main argument during the independence referendum in 2014 was that a vote for No would ensure continued membership of the EU and all the benefits of remaining in the single market and the customs union, only to double flip to the other side of the debate once her party had chosen the path of no return via Brexit.

Even faced with these huge questions, she chose to turn a blind eye to the reactionary policies of the DUP, and sacrificed the opportunity to stick up for what she presumably believes in.

For Nigel Dodds is an MP who has consistently voted against equal rights for gay people, who has consistently voted against same-sex marriage as well as having a pretty poor record on women’s rights. He doesn’t think that gay people should have the same rights as heterosexuals. He’s totally opposed to someone like Ruth Davidson, in a same-sex partnership, enjoying the same rights as he does with his partner. These are his views, and he is entitled to them, but it does make for a political odd couple taking common cause with the Scottish Conservatives.

And yet, here they are, a yin and yang union all of their own making. It must surely have been the lowest point in her career, boxed into a corner with the DUP in a last vain attempt to preserve their fragile, illusionary Union – all at great cost to Scotland while also endangering peace in Northern Ireland.

As Theresa May almost plucked up the courage to spell out to Nigel Dodds in the Commons on Monday, a special deal for Northern Ireland in Europe would be good for the economy. And such a deal would be good for Scotland as well. However for the DUP deputy, he at least has a record of consistent opposition to the European Union and all its works. Ruth Davidson is meant to be in favour of it!

A low point indeed. Lower even than her failure to take a stand against the abhorrent rape clause, or the inhumane treatment of the elderly, the vulnerable and the disabled by her party, or their hostile immigration policies, or her failure to stand up for Scotland against a catastrophic Brexit that she never believed in in the first place.

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And all of these missed opportunities have led to this point, to this new low. Ruth didn’t threaten resignation to stick up for the poor and dispossessed but does to stick up for her precious Union. And this threat directed at a Prime Minister to whom she has previously been a slavish follower, even to the extent of lecturing Boris Johnson and others for their supposed disloyalty.

Again Nigel Dodds is not a Tory politician. He is entitled to extract from Downing Street every pound of “DUPgeld” he can get and bend the Prime Minister to his will if he can.

Ruth in contrast is May’s colleague and supporter. She is meant to show just a modicum of loyalty when the going gets tough. Amid all the other Tory daggers plunging into her frame Theresa May would now have the right to say “Et tu Ruth”.

It’s grim. But it’s also irresponsible and a dire dereliction of duty on her part, morally and politically. Any kind of sectarian alliance across the Irish Sea should be avoided at all costs in a modern Scotland that is keen to shake off the religious bigotry of the past and surely, in this day and age, any kind of regressive attitude to sexuality should be vigorously opposed by all politicians, no matter their political affiliation or orientation.

You might say she’s been put in between a rock and a hard place and had no choice but to stand by the Union. But politics is full of hard choices and this one will be her defining moment.

Here is a female politician who could have taken an entirely different path, who could have made good on her potential to modernise the Tory party and drag it out of its reactionary quagmire, free of its nasty image and lack of humanity.

It’s all the more confusing when we know that Davidson’s new book, which has been described as an “equalities manifesto”, tracks the achievements of women in all walks of life who have smashed through the glass ceiling despite their gender.

She must know how important it is for women to have a strong voice in politics, whatever party they choose to join, especially women who represent minorities in society who have been under-represented in the past, whose voices have the chance now to be heard and action taken. Like much of the twists and turns of Davidson’s political career, none of this makes any sense unless everything is worth sacrificing to protect the Union and, of course, to promote herself.

By joining forces with the DUP, it would appear that once again, the Tories are in reverse gear, while Scotland looks forward to a more progressive future, based on equality and respect, not division and discrimination. This time, Davidson has backed the wrong horse.