IF nothing else, Home Secretary Suella Braverman is determined to be nasty. Inhumanity and incompetence are her two defining characteristics.

Braverman is undaunted in her pursuit of performative cruelty, to the point of coming up with a vile back-up plan in case the UK Supreme Court rules that her hideous plan to send asylum seekers on a one-way trip to an authoritarian African country is unlawful. The Supreme Court is due to start considering the lawfulness of the government's plan in October, after the Court of Appeal ruled in June that the Rwanda plan was unlawful.

So far, the British Government has paid the Rwandan authorities £140 million without a single asylum seeker being sent over.

An economic impact assessment carried out for the Home Office in June this year found that it would cost the British Government around £63,000 more per asylum seeker than the cost of processing their claim in the UK. So clearly, despite what the Conservatives claim, this is not about value for money for the taxpayer, it's about pandering to the worst prejudices of the right-wing media and the Tory base.

READ MORE: SNP are 'constantly whinging and complaining', senior Labour MP says

There are now reports that if the Supreme Court rules that the Rwanda scheme is unlawful, Conservative ministers are considering a back-up plan: sending asylum seekers to the UK overseas territory of Ascension Island.

Ascension Island is about as remote as it is possible to get. The 34-square-mile island sits in the South Atlantic, 1000 miles from Africa and 1400 miles from South America. The nearest inhabited land is the island of St Helena – 800 miles to the south east.

Ascension island has no native inhabitants. The 800 people living there are not permanent residents but are mostly contact workers from St Helena, employed as support staff at the island's military airfield, the BBC World Service's Atlantic Relay station and the European Space Agency's tracking station.

Sending asylum seekers to Ascension Island (below) would be cruelty for the sake of cruelty. The island currently lacks the infrastructure needed to feed and house thousands of refugees, and water supplies would be a major logistic problem. Sending asylum seekers to the island could only be a temporary measure as there is nothing there to support them in the longer term. The British Government would still have to find a permanent destination for them.

The National: Ascension Island

Boris Johnson and Priti Patel first revealed proposals to send asylum seekers to Ascension Island in 2020 but the idea was ruled out as being impractical. The fact that the idea seems to be being revived now points to desperation on the part of the Conservatives to have a sufficiently vile and nasty policy to deal with asylum seekers in place before the next General Election.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak has released a bizarre self-promotional video which purports to show five things that he is doing to "stop the boats". Indeed if "the boats" could be stopped by Sunak's self-aggrandising attention seeking the English Channel would be empty of traffic.

The video, posted to Sunak's Twitter account on Monday – and, no, Elon, no one is calling it X – shows the Tory leader in a montage of action hero-style poses, accompanying police and immigration officers as they smash down a door with screams clearly audible in the background, looking on at an overcrowded boat full of desperate people in distress, and boasting about the deals he's negotiated with France and Albania – while promising that anyone who enters the UK illegally will be deported.

Here's what Sunak is not doing to stop the boats: he's not introducing safe and legal routes of entry, he's not tackling the climate crisis which will drive ever greater numbers of people to flee their home countries, he's not ending the UK's support of human-rights abusing regimes like Rwanda.

Never mind stopping the boats, we could do far more to solve the pressures on public services and stop the waste of hundreds of millions of pounds of public money by stopping the Tories.

The National: Cllr Susan Aitken (SNP, Langside ward). Leader of the opposition at Glasgow City Council and leader of the SNP group. She is pictured in the debating chamber in the City Chambers, Glasgow. FOR SUNDAY HERALD INTERVIEW BY ANDREW WHITAKER.

   Photograph by

Susan Aitken (above), the leader of Glasgow Council, has warned that the UK Government wants to house an asylum barge in Glasgow. Possibly this is because they think that Glasgow is as remote as Ascension Island. The council leader has revealed that the British Government is seeking consent form Glasgow City Council for an asylum barge to be "sited in the city".

She wrote on the social media platform that we are all still calling Twitter: "The UK Government wants Glasgow City Council to give consent to an asylum barge being sited in the city. We will not give it. Glasgow's communities are proud to be beacons of support and integration for asylum seekers and refugees. This is the polar opposite of that."

A spokesperson for the Home Office refused to confirm or deny the council leader's claim.

Penny Mordor

The National: Tory MP Penny Mordaunt said she will do everything she can to secure a fifth term for the Conservatives at the general election (Victoria Jones/PA)

Failed Conservative leadership candidate Penny Mordor, sorry Mordaunt (above), has claimed that the SNP's approach to politics is based on "bile and hatred”.

That's pretty rich coming from a woman who represents a party whose main policy is demonising and dehumanising refugees and the poor – and which gave us all a hard Brexit based on lies and prejudice about Europe.

Yet again a Tory politician pontificates about Scotland from a position of gross ignorance. If you want to see real bile and hatred in Scottish politics you need look no further than the social media accounts of rabid Scottish Tories.

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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