PASS the popcorn, the Tories are tearing themselves apart.

For a party that's always tut-tutting about the supposed divisions in Scotland created by the independence debate, they're giving a very good impression of being hopelessly divided themselves. I'm just waiting for some Brextremist Tory backbencher to tell the rabid right-wing media that Douglas Ross only wants Boris Johnson to resign because he hates the English.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is what you'd get if a clothes pole was haunted by the ghost of a rapacious 18th-century landlord who had evicted his tenants in the dead of winter, is deeply unimpressed by the call from Scottish Tory leader and permanently angry chipmunk Douglas Ross for Johnson to resign over his admission that he did in fact attend a garden party in Downing Street during the height of lockdown in May 2020.

During an interview on Newsnight on BBC2, Rees-Mogg dismissed Ross as a "lightweight" as opposed to Scotland Secretary Alister Jack, who is continuing to support Johnson and who told the BBC that he had urged Ross not to make any statement until after the Sue Gray report into the parties has been published. Rees-Mogg hailed Jack as "heavyweight" and as a "substantial figure." Jack is backing Johnson because he is a party loyalist first and foremost - apparently this also extends to garden parties.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon mocks Douglas Ross after he's snubbed by UK Tories

The truth is that Jacob Rees-Mogg could not pick Alister Jack out in a lineup consisting solely of Alister Jack, but to be fair, neither could most people in Scotland, to whom it genuinely comes as news that Alister Jack is a "heavyweight". Jack is a heavyweight in the exact same sense that Priti Patel is a humanitarian or Michael Gove is loyal and honest.

Gove has also displayed a dismissive contempt for Douglas Ross, brushing away the demand from the Scottish Tory leader for Johnson to go by saying that Ross is "up in Elgin", presumably because those of us far from London in remote parts of Scotland like Moray, Glasgow, or Aberdeen, have no business casting judgement on the activities of important people in important places like London.

The National: Boris Johnson said the New Zealand agreement was a ‘great trade deal for the United Kingdom’ Picture: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Boris Johnson has a clear message for the Scottish Tories

It should not be forgotten as Gove and Rees-Mogg turn on Douglas Ross that it was Johnson and his cronies who staged the internal party coup that unseated the hapless Jackson Carlaw and put Ross in his place as leader of the Scottish Tories. They did that because they saw Ross as a tame lapdog, perfect to head a party of tame lapdogs. The coup was itself a sign of Westminster's contempt for the Scottish Tories. Carlaw had been elected by the party membership, but Conservative party democracy means as little to Johnson and his gang as Scottish democracy does.

Rees-Mogg's remarks ought to clarify even for the densest of the Scottish Conservatives - I'm not naming names here because we are spoiled for choice - that they count for nothing to the Conservatives at Westminster, not them, not their party, not their leader. The Scottish Tories were happy to applaud and gloat when the Westminster Conservatives treated the other Scottish parties, the Scottish Parliament, and the devolution settlement with contempt. Now they know that they too are held in the same contempt. That would come as a kick in the proverbial balls, that is, if the Scottish Tories had any to be kicked.

READ MORE: Jacob Rees-Mogg's 'arrogant disdain' for the Scots Tories backfires spectacularly

Gove and Rees-Mogg have just shown us that not even the loudest and most staunch supporters of Westminster rule in Scotland have any influence at Westminster.


Never mind influence, they don't even merit a modicum of respect. By Thursday afternoon it was being reported that the Scottish Conservatives don't want Johnson to attend their Scottish party conference in March. They're now the self-proclaimed party of the UK in Scotland who don't want the Prime minister of the UK to come anywhere near their conference. Are you Yes yet, Douglas?

If Johnson does manage to survive this crisis, and the pro-Brexit, pro-Conservative newspaper The Telegraph is already predicting that he will, then the position of Douglas Ross and the 19 Scottish Tory MSPs who have backed his call for Johnson's resignation will become untenable.

They'll be left with a Prime Minister and a Conservative party leader whose resignation they have demanded and who they are on record as believing to be unfit for office.