I NOTE that Richard Tice and Nigel Farage, with their newly named Reform UK party, are venturing to make an appeal to voters north of the Border to support their latest political farce. Mr Tice, the UK chair of the party which until recently was called Brexit, intends to again bring his anti-European, xenophobic, English nationalist brand of toxic populism to Scotland in an attempt to persuade the gullible, uninformed or bigoted to warm to his newly named but depressingly similar political party.

READ MORE: Lockdown sceptic Michelle Ballantyne becomes Reform Party Scots chief

Reform UK’s leader is of course Nigel Farage, a sawdust Oswald Mosley and devoted follower and champion of President Trump. The fact that most objective observers believe that Trump is an affront to democracy and human decency will not stop the shameless Farage from attempting to foist his disingenuous, hate-filled rhetoric onto the people of Scotland.

Fortunately the vast majority of us will doubtless reject Farage and his peripheral political group as vacuous, prejudiced and incoherent. Even Scottish Tories will be wary about supporting a party that lurches towards neo- fascism more than their own present Westminster incarnation. By announcing none other than former Conservative MSP Michelle Ballantyne as their new Scottish leader, Reform UK have clearly demonstrated their values and dubious political morality to a Scottish audience.

READ MORE: Reform Party's attack on Holyrood Covid 'lockdown concensus' slammed

Ms Ballantyne, a defender of the controversial rape clause and the Malthusian economic ideology implied therein, is well known for her right-wing opinions, including the privatisation of the NHS, and her record as an MSP shows someone at odds with the views of the Scottish Conservative party and more attuned to maverick right-wing extremism, making her an easy coalitionist for the likes of Farage. Her political future was hanging by a thread after she chose to become an independent. She has cast it into oblivion by accepting a post that offers little but criticism, ridicule and a further smear to her already bleak reputation.

Owen Kelly