SCOTLAND’S council elections always bring forth a miscellany of rich and diverse characters seeking to represent us. With around 1500 seats up for grabs, the bangers, roasters and hot dogs who lurk in the shadows of civic Scotland feel they have a wee chance of securing a place among Scotland’s town hall panjandrum class.

Many are probably deemed just a bit too fruity and unpredictable for Holyrood. At a council election though, they can conceal themselves more easily among the political foliage before popping up unexpectedly to stake a claim for municipal stardom and become legends in their own social clubs.

And after that, who knows? The ascension of characters such as Douglas Ross to the top of Scottish politics bears profound testament to the fact that merely possessing the ability to walk and talk at the same time can take you far in that game.

And while all political parties have their quotient of mad squads and weapons, the Scottish Tories seem always to be a magnet for them. Perhaps it’s something in the air left over from the Covid that’s given the Tories’ walloper class a fresh sense of optimism, but this year’s party roster of hopefuls has already delivered an ensemble cast of frightful screamers.

As this paper reported on its website yesterday, Tariq Parvez, a Conservative candidate for Glasgow’s Southside Central ward, said that lawmakers in Pakistan should be executed. He also insulted Reham Khan, the former wife of Imran Khan, the country’s deposed leader, by suggesting she “should apply for a job in Playboy magazine”.

In calling for some public figures in Pakistan to be punished for their malfeasance, he wrote: “Niwaz, Zardari, Disel & Wali Khan son must be hanged in public.”

Admittedly, this probably puts him firmly in the liberal wing of the current UK Tory Party, where the declaration that “hanging’s too good for them” accurately encapsulates the historic attitude to penal reform favoured by some of its more irascible adherents.

In Falkirk, another Tory council hopeful, Claire Brown, suggested that Nicola Sturgeon had invented the numbers of Covid victims to justify lockdown restrictions. This struck me as somewhat ironic in view of the fact that, throughout the pandemic, Brown’s party had invented a new and unusual suite of scientific qualifications to enable all manner of companies to claim expertise in manufacturing PPE equipment for frontline NHS workers.

Elsewhere, another Tory council candidate, Judy Lockhart-Hunter was discovered to have launched a petition a few years ago calling for Britain to shut its doors to Syrian refugees, because the prospect of any of them moving to North Berwick would make the town “less appealing”. Nor could she understand how a Syrian refugee then working in the East Lothian seaside town could have written eloquently about his admiration for Scotland.

At least Lockhart-Hunter’s attitudes about the quality of Syria’s education system mirror ours about what goes on at some of England’s top boarding schools and elite universities. When you observe them violating pigs’ heads; writing naughty words on each other’s fundaments; and eating each other’s top hats you wonder how any of them could ever understand intricate policy details, let alone speak about them.

At least, though, you gain a fuller grasp of the potential consequences of aristocratic consanguinity or “keeping it in the family” as it’s often called.

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Not having read the full text of the Scottish Tories’ manifesto for the council elections, I can only guess at its contents. Nevertheless, from years of close study of the habits and conduct of this party’s representatives, I feel able to make this decent stab at it.

‘AS Scotland seeks to recover from the privations of the Covid, it’s incumbent on us all to cast aside petty divisions and pull together using the broad shoulders of the United Kingdom. To this end we present our five-point plan – Building Back Better for Fewer – to get the country back on its feet.

“1. Scotland’s affordable housing crisis is intolerable. We propose then that all affordable housing projects be scrapped. If you have no affordable homes then you can’t have an affordable housing crisis. Instead, we propose a £100k investment over the next five years in sustainable shanty towns using the thousands of acres of derelict land that exist on the perimeters of our main towns and cities.

“2. Scotland currently sits proudly at the pinnacle of the European Champions League for drugs deaths. This achievement has taken years of sacrifice and self-denial in the form of austerity; DWP benefit cuts; rising house prices and energy bills and steep increases in the cost of living.

“To ensure Scotland retains its pre-eminent addiction status we pledge to cut funding for all recovery programmes and replace it with the National Drugs Games where Joints Win Prizes. Only the strongest will win and all funding will be re-directed to them. We’ve learned to live with Covid by accepting nature’s pruning fork and we can do the same with drugs.

“3. Scotland’s food banks have become a national embarrassment. Irresponsible management and lax vetting procedures has seen them become a free-for-all. We thus aim to privatise all food banks and open the contracts to a competitive tendering process. It’s time we saw food banks as a national asset and stop apologising for them.

“Every town and village should have one where the best in British business practices will be showcased. They’ll operate on the robust business models which have made our high street banks the envy of the world. They’ll offer overdraft and loan facilities on basic goods to encourage thrift.

“4. Scotland’s education system was once the envy of the world. Since then, we’ve filled the heads of poor families with daft ideas about social mobility. This has coincided with the aforementioned rises in homelessness, starvation and drugs. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of service sector jobs which could be done by Scots are filled by foreigners.

“We favour a horses-for-courses approach. All state schools will become hospitality training facilities, and we’ll pledge £500m to support the building of private schools in partnership with global pharmaceutical firms for those who can afford them and know how to run things.

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“5. Scotland can be proud of its record of helping refugees and migrants. But let’s not get too carried away. We pledge to trial a bespoke refugee response programme using the Ukraine war as a guinea-pig. Only people with at least a seven-figure sum in their accounts fleeing terror will be admitted, if they pledge to invest in our new private school and private food bank sector.”