WHEN the Conservative con­tenders for Downing Street reach Perth for their hustings on the 16th it would surely be a fraternal gesture to send them a map in advance. Especially useful for Team Sunak, since their man effortlessly relocated Darlington to Scotland when answering a question from a Tory supporting magazine.

In fact for Team Truss we should perhaps throw in a globe which would help her tell her Black Seas from her Baltics – one of her more glaring bloopers as the Foreign Secretary who has scant regard for foreigners.

A wee primer on basic diplomacy wouldn’t go amiss either, given her ­comedy turn suggesting she’d ignore the First ­Minister of Scotland on account of the ­latter being nothing more than an ­“attention seeker”. Even her most sycophantic supporters ­enjoyed the irony of the photo op queen alleging anyone else was seeking a cheap headline.

Ah yes, her supporters. Do we mean the intellectually challenged Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries who came smartly out the traps to pledge their undying ­allegiance? In their world, I guess, Ms Truss probably counts as a political genius.

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Or do we mean all those erstwhile ­cabinet colleagues who escaped from the ­woodwork only when it seemed likely that ditzy Lizzie looked likely to be the gal ­handing out the cabinet gongs?

There is, of course, a third Truss camp – like R-M and our Nadine ­basically ­unemployable – but falling over ­themselves to indicate unswerving loyalty. Step ­forward John Redwood, long serving sub lieutenant in the swivel eyed brigade, who is barely drawing breath between ­tweeting supportive notelets. All of these billet doux explain why Rishi Sunak’s pitch is ­unacceptable and all of them basically translate as “giesajoab”.

And let’s not forget the entertainingly named David Frost, Johnson’s Mr Brexit till it became clear he had presided over a total bourach whereupon he scarpered to the House of Lords, that recent repository for deadbeats, Conservative party donors, and paid up members of the oligarchy. (NB the latter two may belong to more than one category.) Assuming our deadly leadership duo ­actually find Perth, we might reasonably suppose there will be further rein for their quite astounding mix of ignorance and arrogance towards the ancient nation which, in their latest script, has morphed from partner in an equal union to upstart pretender.

It began with the usual tired and ­untrustworthy mantras: “now is not the time”, “you’ll have had your ‘once in a generation’ referendum”. Tedious, but ­utterly predictable. When you haven’t given Scotland even a swiftly passing thought, it’s easier to download a couple of cliches from the shelf than devote any ­serious thought to the current implosion of the barely united kingdoms.

A BBC interviewer posed an interesting question to me this last week. Did I think that the incoming Prime Minister would be the one to preside over ­“losing ­Scotland”. The premise, of course, was semantically unacceptable. ­(Losing ­something ­pre-supposes we’re talking about a possession. Which ­Sunak was when he talked of “being firm” with ­Scotland – as with a surly teenager ­presumably.) Yet a possession seems to represent the mindset towards Scotland of not just the contenders for the Tory crown, but so many of their colleagues.

Last week we had the utterly risible suggestion from former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith that the SNP contingent at Westminster, rather than opposing the UK Government, should be questioned about the performance of the Scottish Government at Holyrood.

It was, as more than one legal eagle pointed out, a “constitutionally illiterate” intervention. For starters it is the defined role of opposition parties at Westminster to hold the UK Government to ­account, and, as it happens, they are neither ­members of the Scottish Government nor responsible for its policies.

Now you might argue, and I have ­before now, that the SNP’s Commons brigade might be more usefully deployed north of the border. You might observe, as I have before now, that some of them seem ­inordinately comfortable in their current setting, and not necessarily in the market for exploring how they might best ­support and strengthen the independence ­campaign back at the Scottish ranch.

Regardless of all of which, Iain ­Duncan Smith has displayed all the political ­acumen which caused his own party to give him his jotters. However ­nonsensical his pitch, however, we have to ­recognise that it’s indicative of the utter contempt being shown in recent years to the ­Scottish Government and indeed to pre-existing legislation like the Scotland Act, and previous declarations of support for recognition of Scotland’s right to self determination should there be majority opinion in favour.

We’ve already been there and got the t-shirt anent the Lady Thatcher’s opinion that a majority of Scottish MPs should be the basis for determining the mood afresh on independence.

And it was not a generation, but eight short weeks after the 2014 poll when the all party Smith Commission said ­unequivocally that: “it is agreed that nothing in this report prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future should the people of Scotland so choose.”

WHAT we can say with reasonable certainty is that Scotland and her future will not be top of the red box when the latest incumbent wheels their belongings into Number 10. Given the economic forecasts of this last week, the burgeoning cost of living crisis, the eye watering energy charges and the not so small matter of a war in Europe, it’s safe to say that Scottish affairs will be lucky to feature in the bottom third of that box underneath the ambitions of English regional mayors.

The question for all of us in the Yes camp is how to respond to the likely ­indifference which will assuredly be on display. Obviously it’s essential to keep a more than beady eye on the continuing coach and horses being driven through the devolution settlement under the guise of levelling up. (Trust me, dollops of cash to local and undeniably needy Scottish councils, is not evidence of Westminster largesse so much as the continuing tactic of bodyswerving Holyrood.) Yet that shouldn’t distract us from the essential business of harnessing the ­enthusiasm of Yes hubs up and down the country, whilst continuing to make the case for a Scottish state ­independent of the international crock the UK has become in the not so tender care of the Tories.

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Sometimes we are so intent on how best to fashion our own future, that we fail to notice just how diminished the UK has become internationally. Global Britain is not so much the new reality as a fast ­disappearing fantasy.

The impotent boast of the Millwall football fans: “nobody likes us and we don’t care” has now become the cri de coeur of successive Westminster governments which have moved from mainstream ­conservatism to right wing paranoid cult.

I sometimes wonder what previous denizens of the office of Foreign secretary from the late Robin Cook and Denis Healey to erstwhile Tory heavyweights like Douglas Hurd and Malcolm Rifkind make of the shrill pretender now ­occupying that swankiest of residences. Serious politics no longer play a part in modern conservatism; instead we have had a parade of third raters whose only claim to fame has been their doughty devotion to Brexit.

Except, ironically, busy Lizzie, who once plighted her troth to Remain when she thought it would win the 2016 ­referendum. Her pivot to Brexit loyalist ­happened so speedily after the result it made her colleagues’ heads swim.

So I suppose we must spare a token thought for Rishi Sunak, conviction Brexiteer, who finds himself outflanked on ­Euroscepticism by a woman who’s adopted more positions than the most dedicated yoga coach. It’s going some to nail your colours to the Cameron, May, Johnson masts in quick succession and then parlay yourself as their natural successor!