WELL that was short, but decidedly not sweet. Jackson Carlaw's tenure as leader of the Scottish Conservatives has ended within months of it beginning. Faced with rising support for independence, and a First Minister whose approval ratings have left the Conservative Prime Minister's in the dust, the Scottish Tory leader has thrown in the towel rather than face the impossible feat of reversing the fortunes of a Conservative party that is its own worst enemy in Scotland.

READ MORE: Jackson Carlaw resigns as leader of the Scottish Conservatives

In his strained resignation announcement which came just hours after a combative FMQs during which he'd been handed his head on a plate by Nicola Sturgeon, Surname Surname said that he'd come to the conclusion that he wasn't the best person to make the case for the Union. The real problem that the Conservatives have is that there's no one among their ranks who is able to make a case for a Scotland that is routinely ignored, sidelined, and marginalised by a Conservative Government in Westminster which is driven by a naked English populist nationalism. It's hard to make the case that Scotland is a respected and valued partner in a union when your own boss in Downing Street makes policy announcements which affect Scotland which the Scottish Government only finds out about when they read about them in the papers.

It's harder still to make the argument against independence when the only weapon you have left in your armoury is the complaint that the Scottish Government didn't diverge more rapidly and decisively from the policies of the British Government for dealing with the coronavirus epidemic. Yet all of Scotland knows that had the Scottish Government done just that, Jackson Carlaw and the Conservatives would have been the ones screaming the loudest that Nicola Sturgeon was politicising the epidemic in order to promote independence. When all you've got left as an opponent of independence is that the SNP isn't doing enough to distinguish Scotland from the rest of the UK, it's time to call it a day.

READ MORE: 'We’ve crossed swords politically': FM reacts to Jackson Carlaw quitting

There have been reports recently that the Conservative HQ in London wants the Scottish Conservatives to downplay the independence issue in the next Scottish elections. They fear that if the Scottish Tories campaign on a platform of saying no to another referendum, and the SNP as predicted by the polls win the election handsomely, they will have all but conceded that there will have to be another referendum. However Jackson Carlaw and the Scottish Conservatives know that if they don't highlight the independence issue, they'll be left with nothing to attract voters who might oppose independence but who have not necessarily signed up to the Conservative project.

Johnson is toxic in Scotland in a way he is not in England, and the Scottish Conservatives will be unable to attract former Labour voters in the way they did in England during the General Election. The Tories will in effect be making the same mistake that the SNP did in the 2017 General Election, when it attempted to downplay the independence issue with the result that much of its support base simply didn't turn out at the polls.

READ MORE: John Swinney says he is 'stunned' by Jackson Carlaw's resignation

The resignation of the leader of the Scottish Conservatives after a few short months in post is perhaps a recognition that the strategy which is being foisted upon the Tories in Scotland is merely a recipe for turning their likely defeat in May 2021 into a rout. There won't be many Scottish Tories left to oppose another referendum. The Tories will of course deny this, but it's otherwise hard to explain why their Scottish leader has resigned just as he's got his feet under the table. Moreover he has resigned with immediate effect, and will not remain in post until his successor is chosen. This speaks of a deep crisis within the Conservatives in Scotland.

Yet if the Tories do campaign on opposing independence in order to minimise their losses, but still as predicted go down to a defeat, it will be politically impossible for them to continue to oppose another referendum. The party is caught in a bind of its own creation in Scotland. Jackson Carlaw has looked upon its prospects and decided that there's no way out. He doesn't want to be left carrying the can. Now the party faces a leadership contest, with a dearth of talent and charisma on its front benches. There's no new Saviour of the Union on the horizon. There's only the growing belief in Scotland that it's time to call it a day for a UK which has no place for this country. Even the Scottish Tories now see that the writing is on the wall.

READ MORE: Five of Jackson Carlaw's biggest blunders at First Minister's Questions