The Scottish Tories are thinking about a replacement for Ruth Ran Away Before Her Party Got Skelped Davidson. Sadly for the Scottish Tories, they’re reduced to fishing for a new leader in a gene pool that’s not so much a pool as it is a damp patch of mould on an abandoned mattress. According to a report in The Times newspaper, that voice of all things Conservative, three new names have thrown their very small hats into the contenders’ ring. These are the MSPs Jamie Greene, Brian Whittle and Michelle Ballantyne, alternatively known the Scottish public as Who? Eh who? and Huvnae a clue. This lot are struggling in the lower ranks of nonentitidom to such an extent that even Labour’s branch office manager Reinhold Lowloader is basking in public adoration by comparison.
Even Annie Wells has a higher public profile than any of these three. Admittedly that’s only because she’s a bit of an embarrassment, but you’d imagine that the Scottish Tories need all the help that they can get. No publicity is bad publicity and all that. At least some people have heard of Annie. Only because they’re scoffing and saying, “No! Did she really just say that. My God.” But still.
It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for Jackson Carlaw. Imagine going home in the evening after work with the knowledge that your colleagues think you’re so useless that they’d rather replace you with Jamie Greene. That’s some deep and dark existential horror of the very soul that is. Mind you, the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald hailed Jamie as the rising star of the Tory party, but this is not a publication noted for its expertise in astronomy. If you look a tad more carefully you’ll see that it’s not a rising star at all, it’s really a visitor from a distant galaxy that’s about to plunge into the sun.
Jamie’s most notable contribution to Scottish politics to date has been a display of confusion on the concept of how time works. Jamie’s the Father Dougal of time travel. Last year he took to Twitter to take the Scottish government to task for its record on the economy, and as proof cited predictions for growth figures for the next five years. Fun fact: Jamie drives a DeLorean powered by plutonium. This has the advantage of being less poisonous than the party he represents in Holyrood.
Then there’s Brian. Ah Brian. Brian has won gold medals at the European Athletics Championships for running really fast. And true to form he runs his mouth off just as fast too. Brian’s sole breakthrough into public consciousness came when he denied that the rape clause existed. Perhaps it was just a figment of our collective imaginations that his bosses at Westminster introduced a rule depriving women from collecting benefits for more than two children unless they could prove that the third child was a product of rape. An entire country wished that Brian would run away from public life just as fast as he did during the 4 x 400 metres relay in 1994. Brian also thinks foodbanks are brilliant. He doesn’t think that the rape clause exists, and he doesn’t think that the statistics which prove a rise in the use of foodbanks since the Tories introduced Universal Credit exist either. If you see a small speck of dust on the distant horizon, that’ll be Brian running away from reality.
Michelle is best known, in fact she’s known for nothing else, as being the main cheerleader for Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson in the Scottish Parliament. This apparently plays well with the refugees from the Home Counties who make up a significant percentage of the electoral roll in her constituency, but goes down with the rest of Scotland like a bucket of vomited up Buckie at a parent teacher evening in Coatbridge. Her fate as putative leader of the Scottish Tories will be closely tied to that of the object of her adoration in Westminster. Since in the short time he has been in office he’s lost all seven parliamentary votes he’s had, blown up his majority, trashed the constitution, broken the law, lied during his keynote party conference speech, and is currently trying to negotiate a deal which the EU says is a non-starter, this does not bode well for Michelle.
Other names which have been suggested as potential candidates include Murdo Fraser. Murdo was unsuccessful last time round, but that just gave him plenty more time to regale the nation with his wit and wisdom on Twitter, in the process unwittingly and unwisely introducing the country to the new catchphrase, “There’s been a Murdo.”
Then there’s the current health spokesSNPbadder Miles Briggs. Miles has been tasked with trying to persuade Scotland that the Conservative management of the NHS in England is better than the Scottish Government’s management of NHS Scotland. That’s like trying to prove that a headcold is worse than a brain tumour. Miles is making a bid for the leadership by claiming that the party has no chance at all of getting anywhere in 2021, which is exactly the kind of positivity guaranteed to endear him to party members. But we know he’s got at least one supporter. That would be George McIntyre, a party member he went out canvassing with last year, after George had been banned from the party for making racist comments online. But hey, it’s only the SNP that has a problem with online abuse isn’t it Miles.
And last and very much least there’s Liam Kerr. There’s absolutely nothing you can say about Liam that is remotely interesting. So let’s not bother.
Alternatively the Scottish Tories could go for a bold move, something that would really grab the headlines and ensure that the party was led by the Scottish media’s new saviour of the union. Expecting a bold vision from the Scottish Tories is rather like turning on Love Island and expecting to see an explanation of particle physics. Or indeed evidence of a vague awareness that Narnia isn’t a real country, it is actually the constituency that Ross Thomson thinks he is representing. But these are desperate times for the Scottish Conservatives, and desperate times demand desperate measures. They should ask Jo Swinson to be their leader. She’s always been a Tory in all but name, and she’d rather risk a no-deal Brexit than see Jeremy Corbyn installed in Number 10, even as a caretaker Prime Minister. That’s also Tory policy, so they’re already most of the way there. It’s either that or the Wheel of Disfortune of Nonentities.
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