RUTH Davidson was reputedly one of the leading Scottish Tories behind the ill-fated Operation Arse which aimed to keep one incompetent away from the Conservative leadership. Now she has been instrumental in Operation Arse Over Elbow, which aimed to install an incompetent in the Conservative leadership.

It hasn’t taken long for the wheels to fall off the Douglas Ross bandwagon. The carefully constructed artifice that Jackson Carlaw resigned as Scottish Tory leader entirely of his own volition – and it was only after the fact that Ross decided to throw his hat into the ring and called upon Ruth to assist him – would perhaps have lasted a few days longer if it had indeed been a carefully constructed artifice, and not a series of lies thrown together in a hurry and stuck together with the glue of shamelessness and lack of self-awareness which is so typical of the Scottish Conservatives.

In an interview on BBC Scotland last Tuesday evening, not only did Ruth Davidson obviously and blatantly dissemble when she said that she’d offered to assist Douglas Ross only after Jackson Carlaw was pushed out of office – sorry, resigned entirely of his own accord – she had the gall to claim she had accepted the offer of a peerage in order to make the House of Lords more democratic. Which is a bit like saying that Kanye West is running for the American presidency because he’s self-effacing and modestly lacking in confidence about his own regard for himself.

Douglas Ross’s tenure as leader started in a lie and has continued in confusion and incompetence. He began by telling us that he wouldn’t resign his Westminster seat and will continue his career as a football linesman. So, leading the Scottish Conservatives won’t even be his second job, but his third. His first act as the new leader of the Scottish Conservative branch office was to concede defeat to the SNP by vowing that his goal was to provide an effective opposition to an SNP government.

No matter how poorly the SNP perform in office, all they have to do in order to convincingly fend off Tory attacks is to do better than their Conservative equivalents in the British Government – a bar even lower than any you’ll find at the finals of the World Championship limbo dancing contest.

Douglas Ross’s wish to avoid the constitutional issue – a wish which clearly originates in a Conservative HQ that is terrified of the outcome of the next Scottish election– merely deprives the Scottish Tories of their most effective rallying call: their appeal to diehard opponents of independence who may not necessarily support Conservative policies. The extent of the Conservative panic about the extent to which they’ve royally screwed up the Preciousssss Union has become clear over the past week. David Mundell came out of the obscurity he so richly deserves to opine that it was the fault of the SNP that Westminster rode roughshod over Holyrood when it imposed the EU Withdrawal Act on the devolved administrations.

Likewise it’s all the fault of the SNP that both Johnson’s Government and that of his predecessor never bothered to consult with the devolved administrations during the Brexit process. It’s all the fault of the SNP that the Scottish Government only found out about changes in UK policy regarding the coronavirus pandemic, which will have an impact on Scotland, when they read about them in the Conservative-supporting press. Mundell might have had a point if he was referring to a one-off instance, but there is a consistent and persistent pattern of behaviour from the British Government in its high-handed dealings with all the devolved nations.

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The Conservatives’ attitude toward Scotland derives from their belief that only Westminster is sovereign. They believe in their own right to command, whereas Scotland, along with the rest of the UK, has only the duty to obey. There is no room in their philosophy for a Scotland which has entrenched constitutional rights and a distinctive political personality of its own.

In their arrogance they ignored the obvious restlessness from Scotland, and public unease about the path that Brexit was taking. It’s only now that support for independence is consistently in a majority that they’ve belatedly started to take notice. But it’s already too late.

The Conservatives’ problem is that they have no real idea what to do in order to turn the independence tide. Some Conservative commentators have aired the idea of a new Act of Union which would more tightly define the powers of Holyrood and strip the Scottish Parliament of any possibility of holding another independence referendum. However, a new Act of Union imposed by a Conservative Government in Westminster without consultation and consent will not be seen in Scotland as an Act of Union at all, but rather an Act of Supremacy to be resisted at every turn. It will only increase Scottish alienation.

Any problems the Conservatives have just now in selling their Precioussss Union to an increasingly dubious Scottish public are only going to be compounded by the end of this year when the UK exits the EU transitional period.

By December people in Scotland who support EU membership will know that there’s only one way in which that can happen, through Scottish independence. Scotland will start next year still reeling from the economic effects of the epidemic which will be compounded by the impact of the Conservatives’ ideologically driven Brexit.

Even if by some miracle a deal is struck, it’s still going to be considerably worse than what we currently have and will set the tone for the Scottish election campaign which will begin shortly afterwards.

In the meantime, the Scottish Tories have saddled themselves with a part-time leader, and will be represented in Holyrood by a woman who has sold what passes for her soul for an ermine robe. No-one is going to take lessons in democracy in Scotland from an unaccountable politician who benefited from the patronage of Boris Johnson in order to ensure she never needs bother with the electorate again.

No-one will take her seriously when she opines about the need to respect the outcome of democratic votes when she herself overturned the result of a democratic election within her own party. Ruth Davidson has come to embody all that is wrong with the British state and constitution.