TRUST the Tories to get upset by a mild insult thrown at their MPs who voted against Scotland’s best interests the other night.

As one of our most literate politicians, Mike Russell knew exactly what he was saying when he added the hashtag #RagmanRoll to the list of the Scottish Tory MPs who backed the Brexit deal put in vain to the Commons by Theresa May on Tuesday night. Some of the more excitable Tories and their lackeys in the media, especially their cohort of trolls on social media, decided Russell was calling the latest Ragman Rollers a bunch of traitors to Scotland, displaying yet again their ignorance of Scottish history.

No doubt referring to May’s Loyal XI as Ragman Roll is an insult, but it’s a very light one compared to the wholesale abuse handed out to the SNP by the Tories in the Commons, not to mention the Scottish Government and Parliament who have been insulted and ignored over Brexit for over two years now.

Russell chose a very apposite reference when he used the Ragman Roll term, but he was not condemning May’s XI as traitors. Instead he was indicating that they were people who had pledged their loyalty to an English leader – something that is undeniable – in return for being allowed to keep their MPships. That’s MP for Mess of Pottage, by the way.

The original “ragmen” were nobles, landowners and gentry who signed pledges of loyalty and offered up “gifts” to Edward I of England in the 1290s in return for keeping their lands, lives and families.

There were two Ragman Rolls, one signed in 1291 when the Scottish lords did homage to Edward Longshanks in the hope that he would put one of their factions on the Scottish throne. The other was in 1296 after Longshanks’ army had slaughtered every man woman and child in Berwick, and then comprehensively won the Battle of Dunbar.

No wonder the Scottish nobility, almost 2000 of them, queued up to pledge their fealty – they faced extinction if they did not.

Comparing the current Ragman Rollers to the original signatories might actually be a compliment – for there on the list signed in 1291 is the name of Robertus de Brus, Comes de Caryk, otherwise called Robert, Earl of Carrick, later known as King Robert the Bruce. The Bruces, along with many of the other 2000 signatories, eventually showed their true patriotic colours, and there is no doubt the current Ragman Rollers will do the same by supporting the right of the Scottish people to self-determination – they will do that, won’t they?

Meantime, Russell could have issued another insult and called the Tory XI after the main Scottish fall guy for Edward Longshanks, namely King John Balliol, known to history as Toom Tabard. For that might better sum up David Mundell and crew – empty coats.

There are some lexicographers who define a word as deriving from Ragman Roll. It’s a word that perfectly describes Brexit – rigmarole.