HEATWAVES are notorious for making people testy and ill-natured.

The only people having a worse time during the heatwave than the Conservative leadership contenders is royal disgrace Prince Andrew, who is having to hide away in an air-conditioned room in one of his maw's many palaces because it's 40C outside and he's told everyone that he can't sweat.

But the hot weather is not the explanation for the bad-tempered display from the Conservative leadership contenders during Sunday night's televised debate. They really are just deeply unpleasant human beings.

Still, it's vaguely reassuring to see that they have as much contempt for one another as they do for the general public.

Rish! Sunak – whose campaign has replaced the last i in his given name with an exclamation mark in order to make it seem as though the carefully curated former chancellor has a genuine personality – let slip the true unpleasantness lurking just below the surface of his meticulously constructed safe-pair-of-nice-guy-hands facade when he demanded that Liz Truss say if she was more ashamed of once having been a Remainer or once having been a LibDem.  There are many things that Liz Truss should be ashamed of, such as the time that she got the Greek foreign minister mixed up with a pop star, that time when she got lost trying to exit a room with only one door, or when she announced that it was a “disgrace” that the UK imports two thirds of its cheese … or how about that time she got mixed up between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea?

Liz Truss said during the ITV debate that she became a Conservative because the school she went to failed its pupils. Truss is 46 and was at school from 1979 to 1993, for the whole of which time there was a Tory government, in charge of education policy and spending. Her school was in one of the more affluent suburbs of Leeds, and the local constituency had a Conservative MP from 1955 until 1997. But there are few things more Tory than Conservatives blaming other parties for their own failures.

It speaks volumes about the moral and ethical vacuum at the heart of the Conservative party that Rish! thinks Truss should be most ashamed of the times she displayed a modicum of decency and humanity, and not by her complicity in the corruption, lies and debasement of democracy that characterised the regime of the Prime Minister who made her Foreign Secretary.

But then Rish! is equally complicit in all of that, so it's understandable that he might not want to draw attention to it.

The Conservatives are worried that the unedifying display of leadership hopefuls tearing lumps out of one another in public might bring their party into disrepute. They needn't be concerned about that – that ship has sailed, hit the rocks while serving as the Arran ferry, and BBC Scotland is now blaming the SNP for it.

Rish! and Truss have now pulled out of the planned Sky News debate, resulting in it being cancelled, so we are going to be spared the spectacle of leading Conservative figures calling one another woke, communist traitors in a party which is so right-wing that it makes 1990s Ukip seem like a beacon of liberal moderation.

The other leading Tory who is trying to keep a low profile is the erstwhile prime minister, who has decided that he can't be bothered attending an emergency Cobra meeting to deal with the heatwave crisis because Carrie wants him to go to B&Q to get a wallpaper steamer. Douglas Ross is also trying to keep his head down and avoid difficult questions, but that's very much on brand for him.  Today, Conservative MPs vote again, and Sunday's five remaining candidates will be reduced to four. If only it was so easy for Scotland to get rid of unpopular Conservatives, there might be a whole lot fewer people wanting independence

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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