The National:

IT'S a tough life being a Scottish Conservative. There you are with a spanking new leader voted in by the party membership, when the old leader comes along and ousts him in a coup because she thinks he's not up to the job and when she's accepted a peerage so she can sit in the Lords without having to trouble her media construct with any of that democratic accountability nonsense. Then she only finds herself humiliated by Nicola Sturgeon in her first outing at FMQs.

READ MORE: 'Clearly rattled': Twitter reacts to Ruth Davidson's FMQs return

However it's not only Ruth Davidson who has been humiliated this week. A whole slew of Conservatives are now hurriedly trying to cover up their embarrassment over the attacks they made on Scottish Education Minister John Swinney's management of the SQA results which saw some 124,000 grades - about a quarter of the total - being downgraded by the exam board authority. There's Thatessempee failing our children, the Tories harrumphed with the self-righteousness that only the terminally unselfaware can possess.

It's certainly the case that exams results are important, particularly to kids who have sweated and slogged in order to get the results that will allow them to embark upon the course of their choice in higher education, or to get the apprenticeship or further training that can set them up in a career. However what is far more important to a child's future life chances is childhood poverty, and the Conservatives have presided over a growing gulf between the richest and the poorest. According to figures from the Child Poverty Action Group, 30% of children in the UK live in poverty. 72% of whom live in a household where at least one person is in work. This Conservative Government's two child policy and its benefit cap have alone resulted in hundreds of thousands of children being consigned to a life of poverty which will have a serious and dramatic impact on their future life chances. For the Conservatives to complain about anyone else damaging children's life chances is like Al Capone complaining about office workers raiding the stationery cupboard for pencils.

However, the SQA results were seen to be unfair to all children who have been dealing with the extra burden of worry caused by the current pandemic and its widespread economic and social effects. It's been even more unfair to those kids who come from families which have tragically lost a loved one or where a relative has become seriously ill.

The problem for the Scottish Conservatives is that they spent all last week demanding John Swinney's head on a plate, only to see their own Education Secretary Gavin Stupid Boy Williamson preside over an even greater debacle in English exam results. Nearly 40% of English exam results have been downgraded in the system used there, and it had the benefit of seeing what had happened in Scotland and advance warning which could have been used to sort out the problems before the results were published.

A number of Conservative politicians, including David Mundell and the inappropriately named James Cleverly have hurriedly deleted tweets that they made last week which accused Nicola Sturgeon of presiding over one of the biggest scandals in the history of devolution which had shattered the life chances of thousands of Scottish schoolchildren and demanding John Swinney's head on a plate. If they think that about John Swinney, then what can they possibly think of their own Gavin Williamson doing far far worse? That's an exam question they're hoping no one will ask.

READ MORE: Scottish Tories delete tweet slamming Nicola Sturgeon for exam results

Having been found out to have deleted embarrassing tweets, the Tories are claiming that the tweets were deleted because they had wrongly used the word "effected" when they meant "affected". Which means that the Conservatives are now in the position where they are forced to concede that making a basic spelling error while they accuse someone else of reducing education standards is the lesser of two evils. In other words, the Conservatives are hoping that we'll just think that they're stupid, not that they're hypocritical. Unfortunately for them those two categories are not mutually exclusive.

In response to the revelations that the Conservative Government in London can be assessed by everyone to be performing far worse than its Scottish equivalent, the Scottish Conservatives' new leader Douglas Ross has announced that his job is not to defend the UK Government and he will criticise it when it requires criticism. Which is grand. Only he's not criticised them at all. It's like standing at a crime scene and telling the press that you'll criticise crime whenever it happens without actually mentioning the crime in question. The SQA wouldn't need to downgrade Douglas's result for his first week as leader because everyone can already see that he's getting an F.

READ MORE: SNP hit out at Tories for 'rank hypocrisy' over English exam results