DO you have what it takes to be the next Scottish Tory leader? First of all, ask yourself if you are aiming too low – why not try to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom? It’ll be easy!

You might think you lack the necessary skills or experience, but it turns out there are actually only two essential criteria: a willingness to defend the indefensible, and the ability to delegate.

Let’s start close to home, as there’s an urgent vacancy to fill.

To become Scottish Tory leader you will, of course, have to get yourself elected, but that should be plain sailing if you get a spot on the regional list and the support of some Unionist chums in other parties. After that, it’s a simple matter of making a convincing case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.

Easy peasy. All you’ll need to do is pop up and shout “get on with the day job!” and “no, not like that – what about independence?!” on rotation, and keep reminding everyone why a second referendum is a terrible idea. Since the Union is both precious and mighty, with broad shoulders and an open cheque-book, it should be easy to defend.

Don’t read anything into the fact that Jackson Carlaw has found it impossible! He must just be tired. Probably because he failed to do enough delegating.

READ MORE: 'Was he pushed or did he jump?': Twitter reacts to Jackson Carlaw quitting

Anyone can be a great political leader if they have a team of talented and charismatic colleagues to help them get the message across. And with more than two dozen Tory MSPs sitting at Holyrood, Carlaw was spoiled for choice. No doubt there was a good reason why he didn’t just ask any of them to take charge of explaining what’s so great about Scotland being marched out of the EU by Boris Johnson and chums.

If they were all busy he could have simply taken a leaf out of Johnson’s book and outsourced this role to a telegenic civilian. Johnson’s book, a self-help guide called A Dummy’s Guide To Being PM, has loads of other useful tips that prove talent need be no obstacle to political success.

Can’t come up with any policies to improve the lives of your citizens? Let your special adviser take care of that stuff – you can definitely trust him to do the right thing. Can’t explain and defend these policies to journalists at press briefings? No problem – just get an actor in to do it. Can’t keep on top of your own personal grooming? A dogsbody armed with a comb can be on call around the clock, letting you focus on more important things.

So what are those more important things, the things you’d actually need to do yourself? Well, there’s memorising your strategy for keeping a low profile when touring the provinces, testing out hilarious one-liners that you can fire across the debating chamber at your bemused opponents, and rehearsing soundbites to repeat on the campaign trail.

If you’ve been taking all the recommended precautions during the coronavirus pandemic you’re probably not repeatedly slapping your own forehead or gripping your head in your hands, which will give you an edge over the current PM.

In every photo shoot there’s at least one image that might as well have a think bubble attached containing the words: “I can’t believe they actually fell for it – what on earth am I doing here?”

You do have to wonder if the power behind the throne is tempted to dispense with a human Prime Minister altogether, given the main requirement is now to look presentable and not blurt out anything offensive. Hand-shaking and the kissing of babies is out for the foreseeable future, so expect the next UK Tory leadership contest to feature a besuited teddy from Build-a-Bear Workshop, appearing from behind its own special podium, with a beanie hat or bald dome occasionally popping up into view.

But for now we’re stuck with a real-life muppet, and the search is on for a human ventriloquist’s dummy through which his dastardly schemes can be filtered. So who are likely to be the candidates for this role? The mind boggles. Number 10 are seeking an “experienced and confident media operator”, and are offering around £100,000 a year.

This might sound like a king’s ransom for trotting out government lines once a day, but surely no-one with the relevant skills and experience wants to be remembered for such a gig? If the successful candidate lasts six months it’ll probably only work out at about 5p per instance of public booing or shouting of “liar!”, when calculated over the rest of his or her lifetime.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross rumoured to take over as Jackson Carlaw quits

Aspiring spokespeople might imagine themselves selling a grand political vision, West Wing-style, as soaring music plays in the background, but the reality is likely to be less CJ Cregg and more CR Smith, as reporters try to cut through the sales patter and find out the true costs, and viewers shout “ugh, not this again – change the channel!”

It’s possible, of course, that for Jackson Carlaw this latest, shameless abrogation of responsibility was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Why should he, the Scottish Tory leader, be thundering his socks off at Holyrood, and subjecting himself to media grillings over rising support for independence amid the pandemic, when his big boss down south can barely be bothered to turn up for a meeting or properly answer a PMQ?

Johnson might favour skulking in the shadows, but Carlaw’s replacement will quickly find there is nowhere to hide.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross: Who is the Tory MP rumoured to replace Jackson Carlaw?