THIS week’s Tory debate from Perth made for a punishing two hours for anyone tuning in. It encompassed everything that is wrong with both candidates and underlined why neither is remotely fit to be the next prime minister. Whoever wins, Scotland will lose.

They are competing to lead a Tory government which is breath-taking in its arrogance and cruelty. It has inflicted public service cuts and brutal benefit sanctions on our communities while pursuing a reckless and disastrous Brexit that Scotland voted against.

With the hostile environment it has imposed on migrant communities and the lies it has deployed against them, it has been right up there with Thatcher at her worst.

Unfortunately, there is nothing about either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak that suggests they will change things for the better. Even as the removal vans cart away the last remnants of Boris Johnson’s failed administration, it is clear that we are in for more of the same.

Throughout the contest, both candidates have tried to outdo each other in terms of who can whip-up the worst instincts of their party membership by announcing the most right-wing, bigoted and reactionary policies.

There is no low they won’t sink to. They are prepared to promise anything – tax cuts for their super wealthy mates, turning away desperate refugees and threatening them with racist deportations, demonising trans people – in order to get the keys to Downing Street and wreak even more havoc on society.

READ MORE: Impossible for independence to be worse than cost-of-living crisis

Both candidates have made stopping our democratic right to an independence referendum a central part of their campaign. Liz Truss even went as far as calling herself a “child of the Union”, saying that she would “never ever let our family be split-up.” That’s rich coming from one of the most senior figures in a Government whose racist immigration and asylum policies split actual families up on a regular basis.

Both candidates have made clear that they intend to follow in their predecessors’ footsteps by imposing some Big Brother style unit to salvage the broken Union.

The original “Union Unit” was a cack-handed Boris Johnson initiative that was launched as part of his self-aggrandising and self-assigned role as “Minister for the Union”. It fell apart after only 18 months following a series of acrimonious splits and divisions.

The reality is that when it comes to Scotland, the Tories have no clue. They have consistently tried to undermine devolution while enacting policies that people in Scotland have rejected. All the while, they have cut the block grant funding to the Scottish Parliament.

It has been 70 years since the Tories won an election in Scotland, and, based on what we have seen from Sunak and Truss, that record of failure will continue for a long time.

By contrast, the Scottish Greens, through the Scottish Government cooperation agreement with the SNP, have spent the last year working round-the-clock to deliver the kind of meaningful and progressive policies that are making a difference to people’s lives in real time.

The National: Rishi Sunak at a defence system plant in Northern Ireland Rishi Sunak at a defence system plant in Northern Ireland

While Labour have sat on the fence and the Tories cause further damage, we ensured a doubling of the Scottish Child Payment to £20 a week, with an additional rise to £25 coming.

While the Tories rush to drill for even more oil and gas during a climate emergency, we delivered the first round of a £500 million Just Transition fund for communities in the North East.

We have built on this with free bus travel for everyone under 22 – which is helping household budgets and the climate – and have banned the most problematic single-use plastics while delivering hugely increased funding for wildlife and nature.

We are investing record sums in walking, wheeling and cycling, and we’ve banned new waste incinerators – all things that will help protect our climate and communities.

We are helping families to turn houses into homes, having eliminated a range of grounds for mandatory evictions and with new rights and protections on the way for tenants, including rent controls.

We are also making homes far more energy efficient and easier to heat, with a £1.8 billion fund By introducing the Gender Recognition Reform Bill and committing to a full ban on so-called “conversion therapy” we have shown that whilst the Tories are willing to abandon LGBTQ+ people, we never will.

READ MORE: Levelling Up Bill to let UK ministers rewrite devolved laws, charities say

We have fought the reactionary campaign of misinformation and transphobia that has been pumped out by Downing Street and parroted by Truss and Sunak – and sadly by a minority of Scottish politicians too.

The challenges of the last two years, and now the cost of living crisis, have shown what happens when Scotland lacks the major economic powers required. There are millions of people struggling to make ends meet and worried about how they will pay for skyrocketing bills, but the Tories are ignoring them.

With three quarters of households in Scotland facing fuel poverty, we need bold, decisive action. We need measures that won’t just last for six months but will fundamentally change how we cope with our energy and cost of living demands for years to come. The Scottish Greens will be setting out fresh proposals in the coming days on how that can be achieved.

The contrast could not be clearer. Westminster has no functioning government, no credible opposition and no ideas, whereas, with Greens in Government here in Scotland, we are working positively and constructively to serve the people who elected us.

There is no question to which Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak or another five years of Tory rule is a good answer. Next year’s referendum will offer us the chance to build a fairer, greener and better future and break from the brutal and undemocratic vision that is being offered by the Tories.