IT'S a sign of just how desperate he must be to avoid the growing clamour of criticism about Tory sleaze, second jobs for MPs, calls for a police investigation into allegations that Johnson's Conservatives have been running a cash-for-peerages scheme and Number 10’s shameful attempts to abolish independent scrutiny of standards of behaviour in the Commons and replace it with a tame sham committee chaired by a former associate of Johnson's wife and stuffed with a majority of Tory MPs that the Prime Minister has chosen to get away from London and make a snap visit to Glasgow. 

Today it was reported that Scottish Tory MP Andrew Bowie has resigned as vice-chair of the Conservative Party but has agreed to stay in post until a successor is appointed.

It is being claimed that he has stepped down in protest over the Government's handling of the sleaze allegations, but he wasn't so upset by it that he voted against – or even abstained – when the UK Government tried to abolish the role of the independent Parliamentary Commissioner and put in its place a crony committee.

The National: Andrew BowieAndrew Bowie

Had there not been the public outcry, Andrew would have been quite happy to acquiesce in Number 10's assault on standards of behaviour in public office. Suddenly discovering principles after your party has been caught is not very convincing, Andrew.

It's a safe bet that Johnson hasn't decided to come to Scotland in order to congratulate Nicola Sturgeon for having meetings with world leaders which were markedly more convivial than anything he could manage, seeing as how the rest of the world now regards the British Government in much the same way that viewers of a soap opera view a character who has killed off a much-loved regular and buried them under the patio of the Queen Vic.

You have to be very eager indeed to escape awkward questions about your and your party's sleazy and corrupt behaviour that you instead choose to visit a city which has always been immune to the supposed charms of your tousled schtick and where you are less welcome than a bridie at a vegan wedding.

At least the contents of a bridie have a distant connection to meat – nothing that issues from Johnson's mouth has even a tangential relationship to the truth.

Johnson was booed upon his arrival at Central Station. However, it is progress of sorts that he came by train. When he left Glasgow last week after attending the opening proceedings of COP26, he flew back to London on a private jet in order to have dinner with a climate change skeptic.

Charles Moore, Johnson's former boss at the Telegraph, was in 2015 appointed as a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, an organisation founded by former Conservative chancellor and notorious climate change denier Nigel Lawson with the purpose of combating what it describes as "extremely damaging and harmful policies" designed to mitigate climate change.

Johnson awarded Moore a peerage in July 2020 in an honours list which included the Brexit Party's Claire Fox who once described the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as "advocacy research". In a tweet, she said it would be a "betrayal of scientific inquiry" to treat the body as "high priests of The Science and final word on climate”.

Although Johnson is in Glasgow in order to take credit for the draft agreement which the delegates to COP have produced today, his own commitment to tackling climate change is at odds with his willingness to promote climate change skeptics to positions of influence, and to take private jets when it suits him.

This piece is an extract from today's REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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