HAS anyone seen Ruth Davidson? Or at least some representative of the Scottish Conservatives? There are questions to be asked about party funding and the dark money which the Tories used to buy the results which underpin Ruth’s reputation for electoral success.

Or at least there would be questions to be asked if the overwhelmingly British nationalist Scottish media could be bothered enough to pursue them in anything other than a desultory manner. Only this newspaper is concerned enough by the dangers to Scottish democracy that the dark money scandal represents to keep worrying at the issue.

Both parliaments are now closed for the summer, and the Scottish Conservatives are clearly hoping that the whole issue of dark money will go away and that we’ll all have forgotten about it in a few weeks’ time. They are aided in this by an overwhelmingly anti-independence Scottish media, which is more afraid of doing anything that might inadvertently assist the cause of independence than it is of the damage wrought on Scottish democracy by those who claim to love the Union.

Instead, the leading lights of the anti-independence Scottish media, such as the former editor of the Scotsman, appear to be far more interested in blaming the SNP for making EU migrants feel insecure because of Brexit than they are in holding to account those British nationalists who have actually created the Brexit mess. In an article for The Times on Monday, Magnus Linklater laid into Nicola Sturgeon for the disgraceful way in which EU citizens in Scotland are being treated by the Home Office.

Next week, Magnus will castigate the SNP for its failure to adequately respond to the volcanic eruption that destroyed the Edinburgh area and created Castle Rock 350 million years ago and make a shocking revelation about the SNP’s responsibility for the spread of the Black Death in mediaeval Europe.

Nowhere does The Times article acknowledge that immigration is a reserved matter, and nowhere does it acknowledge that calls to devolve aspects of immigration policy to Holyrood have been repeatedly rebuffed by the Conservatives. The really scandalous thing about this article is that Magnus is fully aware of which issues are devolved to Holyrood, and which are reserved to Westminster.

This article means that The Times newspaper has given more space and prominence to a spurious attack on the SNP for policies which are being implemented by a Conservative government in Westminster than it has to the Scottish Conservative dark money scandal.

That, in a nutshell, pretty much sums up everything about the Scottish media that independence supporters feel aggrieved by.

Meanwhile, also in The Times this weekend, there was a paean to tweed-wearing huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ by Max Hastings, in which the former editor of The Telegraph told Scots off for being unhappy about the Clearances, and reminding us that Scotland didn’t suffer like Ireland did so we should get over it. So that makes it all just fine then. Thanks for clearing that up, Max.

Nowhere in Max’s article was there any awareness that the gloriously empty countryside that rich people like him can rent a 34,000 acre estate in is only gloriously empty because its inhabitants were cleared out to the slums of the industrial Lowlands, or shipped across the ocean. Max didn’t mention the Scottish Conservatives’ dark money scandal either, because Scotland only exists in Max’s imagination as a place where he can laird it over ungrateful natives.

This is Scotland in the UK. Patronised and slapped down while the real issues are ignored and sidelined. Know your place.

Usually Scottish Conservatives are very keen on self-promotion, but whenever an issue crops up that demonstrates that the Scottish Conservatives remain every bit as much the nasty party as they ever were, they are harder to find than evidence that David Mundell has stood up for Scotland’s interests during a Cabinet meeting. It’s easy for them to hide. The overwhelmingly British nationalist media in Scotland isn’t exactly keen to go searching for them.

It’s a very marked contrast to the doorstepping inflicted on independence-supporting politicians who have been deemed to do wrong. Yet what we’re talking about here isn’t a personal lapse in judgement. It’s not some wrongdoing that’s confined to the actions of a single individual. The Scottish Conservative dark money scandal strikes at the very foundations of democracy in Scotland.

To be fair, the Scottish media can’t ask Ross Thomson, the Scottish Tory MP for Aberdeen South who was elected as Ruth Davidson’s very own personal representative, but who, as soon as he got his backside on to a House of Commons bench, came out as just as fervent a Brexiteer as Nigel Farage.

Ross is currently embarrassing himself in Japan, where, if his prior visit to Iraq is anything to go by, he’ll pose for a cheeky photo in front of the Hiroshima memorial. Ross is in Japan to investigate reports that their vacuum cleaners really suck.

Although many on social media have criticised Ross for traipsing off to Japan on a freebie, his visit does represent a fair exchange. Japan is the world’s leading exporter of animation, so it’s only fair that we send them a cartoon character of our own.

However, don’t say that this newspaper never does anything to assist Ross in his tireless campaign of self-promotion and single-handed drive to strike a post-Brexit trade deal between Japan and Peterculter. As an assistance to Ross in his mission, he may find this Japanese phrase useful, as it’s one he’s likely to hear frequently: “Kono baka wa daredesu ka?” Which is Japanese for, “Who is this idiot?”

Much as the Conservatives would like the issue of dark money to go away, much as they are assisted by a British media that prefers to draw a veil over Scottish Conservative dealings, much as they attempt to distract us with attention-seeking stunts, those of us who support independence won’t let them pretend that the scandal doesn’t exist. The reason that so many of us campaign for Scottish independence is because, unlike British nationalists in Scotland, we care passionately about the quality of Scottish democracy and political accountability. We are not about to let the Tories off the hook.