NO-ONE likes a moan more than Douglas Ross – every week there is a new gripe of some description, that he will of course offer no real solution or alternative to, but will ensure is heard regardless.

This week he’s greeting about a Drag Queen story hour for kids in Moray.

According to him, reading books to children is “totally inappropriate”.

Another day, another attack on a minority group at the hands of a dwindling Tory politician desperately trying to keep a grip of the reigns.

It’s no secret that Ross’s popularity amongst his own ranks has taken a nosedive of late (although the fact that it’s taken this long poses serious questions in itself).

It’s almost convenient that he would come out this week to fan the flames of culture war in an attempt to garner support, it’s a tale as old as Tory time.

Minority groups have long been fair game for conservatives who seek to benefit from their suffering. See Margaret Thatcher for historic reference or Ron DeSantis for current.

Whether it be to enhance their own popularity or to simply divert from failings in other critical policy areas – where there is political capital to be found, no matter what the consequence for society, you best believe a lame duck conservative will find it and subsequently exploit it.

Drag is no less appropriate for children than pantomime or indeed theatrical performance of any kind – but I’d argue that the event itself is of virtually no concern to Ross.

He won’t be attending and I presume neither will his children – it was just this week’s virtue signal to the right in an attempt to stay relevant before retreating back to his deeply privileged life where the consequences of his comments will likely not be felt. 

Unforgivably though, his latest dog whistle comes in the midst of Pride month. An event born from riot and resistance and a celebration that the likes of Ross have no business interfering in. 

From the Harlem Renaissance to the trailblazers of the Stonewall Riots, drag has been and continues to be an integral part of LGBTQ+ culture and activism and has a significant role to play in the celebration of Pride – as well as the education surrounding its history. Without drag artists, there would be no Pride. 

It’s almost comical that Ross finds himself qualified in any way to decide what role they should or should not play in a celebration that they themselves own. 

READ MORE: Scots Tory council rebuffs Douglas Ross's criticism of drag queen Pride event

Drag itself is an art form that dates back centuries, thriving in particular within queer communities as a means of self-expression, celebration, and defiance. Drag artists have long used their talent and creativity to challenge the status quo and create spaces of acceptance and liberation. 

Performances typically encompass a spectrum of expressions, from glamorous queens and kings to acts that explore the fluidity of identity. A celebration of individuality, creativity, and the freedom to transcend societal expectations.

Unsurprising then that conservative men don’t seem to like it. Whilst Ross’s comments were transparent in their opportunism, they are not inconsequential beyond that.

There is an ongoing global fight for LGBTQ+ rights, with Scotland itself being a focal point since the exploitation of the GRA by anti-trans groups and right-wing politicians.

Figures published earlier this year showed a staggering 75% increase in LGBTQ+ hate crime in Scotland over the last eight years – so while Ross plots how best to hold on to one of his long list of jobs – the LGBTQ+ community are fearing for their safety and fighting for their basic human rights. 

Which is the most sinister aspect of it all. He is well aware of the echo chamber he exists in, particularly online, that is waiting with bated breath for the next dog whistle they can jump on. 

While I don’t think he’s actually interested in the event, he is feeding a hungry audience that causes harm to an already marginalised community for his own gain. Spineless stuff from an unsurprising source. 

I was glad to see Green MSP Ross Greer was unafraid to call him out for what he is and I wish that we saw more of that in our political discourse.

The reason we even find ourselves in the trenches of human rights discourse is because our politicians too often walk the middle line, and too much credence and understanding is given to what is simply hatred.

In a modern society, human rights are not topics for debate and should not be treated as such. And any threat to them should be met with the fiercest resistance. 

READ MORE: 'Nasty little bigot': Douglas Ross faces backlash over Drag Queen Story Time row

Despite progress, we are yet to arrive at that reality and indeed are still very far from it. In recent years, we have undoubtedly gone backwards rather than forwards. 

There has been so much room for debate that narratives have spun out of control to the benefit of politicians like Ross, who, when their career starts going south, can rely on the predictability of hate to keep them afloat. 

Celebrating drag and engaging in the art of it is to engage with a profound history of resistance and resilience.

I find that to be a deeply rich educational experience that children should benefit from being afforded.

And there has never been a more pertinent hour to educate. 

Education is after all the key to human acceptance and understanding.

We often fear what we do not understand, and so it begs the question – why are conservatives so terrified of giving children the tools they need to understand human difference? I think we might be able to hazard a guess.