IT’S ancient history now, but there was a time when the Conservative & Unionist Party won 50.1% of the vote in Scotland.

After the 1955 UK General Election, the map of Scotland was almost solid blue with some red splashes in places such as Central Scotland and the Western Isles. The Tories had 36 out of 71 seats, just two more than Labour. The SNP won none.

Where I grew up in East Renfrewshire, a Tory MP was considered the natural order of things. It stayed that way for many years, and many elections. On that true blue patch, it was not considered trendy to join the Young Socialists. I may have represented one-quarter of the membership. Or perhaps one-sixth. Maybe because Tories, in those days, were many strange things, as you might suppose, but they were also Scottish.

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In the shires they were be-tweeded and pearled, but they had a working class presence too. They might have appeared an alien species in many minds, but they knew how and when to play the Scottish card. The late George Younger, when secretary of state for Scotland, threatened to resign if Margaret Thatcher closed the Ravenscraig steelworks. He did not lack brownie points in Lanarkshire for that.

Compare and contrast, as they say, today’s Tory rump. Jackson Carlaw remains a household name in his own household, and maintains a knee-jerk loyalty to the gospel according to the Prime Minister. Even when the latest tablets of stone from Number 10 deny the presence of a Scotland-England border and in the face of the most devastating of post-Brexit threat to the devolution settlement – coming shortly to a courtroom near you.

Never have so many risks been taken by so few people of merit and talent

This is all of a recent pattern. When the blessed Ruth Davidson was at the helm, the Scottish Tories managed to muster 13 seats, which was, as it happens, one more than Theresa May’s notional Commons majority once she’d bought up the DUP’s seats. That gave Davidson’s troops the power to advance Scotland’s interests in the Tory Cabinet, but I’d be hard pushed to recall it ever being deployed.

The fact that the 2017 election defenestrated two of the Nationalists’ heavyweights in Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson, and that the SNP lost 21 seats, may have given the Tories a false sense of their current importance. Losing a less than magnificent seven just 18 months later should have been a wake-up call. Though not if you’re sound asleep at the wheel.

Which brings me back to Mr Carlaw. In recent weeks there have been ample opportunities for a party which has traditionally enjoyed solid support from many in the farming and fishing communities to fight their corner at Westminster. To be Scottish MPs, not Tory MPs who happen to sit for Scottish seats.

There was the amendment put down in the Commons to protect farming welfare and production standards from any rogue trade deal that might damage and undercut them. It would have upgraded weasel words into binding legislation.

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Every single Scottish Tory voted it down. There was the nonsense over the Border, part of an ongoing attempt to persuade us that Britain and the UK are but one single national identity, a palpable lie which gets too often repeated by lazy broadcasters.

Did you hear the Scottish Tories rise up in protest? Me neither. Curiously, a former Tory strategist was quoted yesterday as suggesting that borders/hard borders was a good hot-button issue for the party. More like an inclination to fight the 2014 war all over again with old campaign weaponry, methinks.

But most egregious of all has been Mr Carlaw’s response to the naked attempt to hole Holyrood below the water line, by passing a law bringing in a single UK market from January. And having a Westminster-appointed body deciding what Holyrood lawmaking to permit. An outrageous piece of daylight constitutional robbery by the Brexit ultras. Is Jackson Carlaw bovvered? Nutatall.

His take is that it would be bad for our producers to have different standards from those in England. So, if I understand his reasoning, if Westminster’s “finest” do a deal which involves accepting dodgy food processes and currently illegal animal welfare standards, we should meekly go with the flow?

It’s difficult to remember a time when our future lay at the mercy of so many ill-equipped chancers and charlatans. My theory as to why the appalling Cummings holds so much sway in the Johnson administration is not that they’re all feart of him – although they probably are – but in a land of political pygmies having two brain cells to rub together makes you a standout.

Never have so many risks been taken by so few people of merit and talent. All of the once-great offices of the land are occupied by intellectual minnows to whom some previous Conservative grandees would have struggled to give the time of day.

Imagine if you will some very big Pharma with a global reach musing that it would rather do a deal with Little Britain, than mega Europe

Their ideological fixation with Europe didn’t only propel them into jobs for which they could hardly be more ill-equipped, but lit employment time bombs under the future of those whose wellbeing they are supposed to be representing.

The Conservative Government was offered a transition period to get some kind of post-Brexit act together and spurned it. Just as it spurned a Europe-wide ventilator scheme in the early days of the pandemic. Just as it has now set its face against an EU push to make any viable vaccine widely available.

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The reason: if it signed up to that it would prevent it doing its own deal. Imagine if you will some very big Pharma with a global reach musing that it would rather do a deal with Little Britain, than mega Europe. I would laugh if I wasn’t too busy weeping.

It’s difficult to try to understand the mindset of a Scottish Tory voter, never having been one. Nevertheless, permit me to offer their parliamentary representatives a modicum of free advice.

If they persist in failing to defend Scotland’s interests; if they continue to give simpering obeisance to a UK Government hell bent on doubling down on economic chaos and carnage, then they will reap an electoral whirlwind. And they’ll deserve to.