It’s a great hypothetical – What would you do if you were PM for the day?

The question is a set-up. It’s an invitation for virtue signalling, grand-standing and showing off. You could be a policy wonk, a saintly visionary or you could be charming and funny…

“I’d cancel Trident and create a peaceful world” or “I’d build 100,000 homes and end homelessness” … or even some sordid Tory version would suffice. What’s really strange about Douglas Ross’s response is how petty it was.  The newly elected representative for Moray replied: “Tougher enforcement against Gypsies and Travellers”.

So given his moment in the sun slipping into the leather chair at No 10 – with the vast resources of the one of the richest countries in the world – he’d persecute an already perscuted minority.

Naomi McAuliffe, Scottish programme director of rights group Amnesty International also voiced her disapproval at Mr Ross’ stance. “Douglas Ross said his aim as an MP was to ensure ‘as good a deal as possible for the people of Moray’ – we really should not have to remind him that Scottish Gypsy Travellers living his constituency also deserve representation and respect.”

This has irked him. The MP’s efforts today to spin his bigotry have dissolved into farce with just reinforcing the idea that he is in a hole now bleating about others “shutting down the debate”.

Imagine being that small-minded?

His language is extraordinary:

“Because you have to go to the courts to get permission to get them to leave your own land, you have to pay for clear-up.” Of course you’ll all have experienced people camping on your land won’t you?

Remember poor Captain Haddock had the same problem a few years back.

The use of “they” and the presumptions behind his language are of a landed class unaware that they live in a different universe. Let’s hope the Green Brigade give him a warm welcome tomorrow.

It’s not been a good week for the Colonel’s troops with their being some confusion about the ‘re-training’ of her overtly racist bigoted councillors. The Scottish Tory leader said Alastair Majury and Robert Davies, who were both elected as Stirling councillors in May, “wanted to change” their behaviour and deserved a second chance. Aw. Bless. Then she claimed that they’d undergone diversity training as part of the disciplinary action against them. The “Nil By Mouth” anti-sectarian organisation have said neither Ruth Davidson nor the two councillors had spoken to them.

The reality is that this is a Tory free-pass for people who talk about ‘Tarriers” and are blatantly homophobic and abusive.

Dave Scott, campaign director for Nil by Mouth, a charity which works to end sectarianism in Scotland, said he was ­disappointed at the Conservative’s response.

“When this story emerged, we offered to work with the elected members ­concerned to help them understand why their tweets caused such controversy and upset,” he said. “A Conservative Party spokesperson indicated that the ­member involved would take part in such a ­meeting. Sadly, we have heard nothing from either the councillor or the party.”

She’s been caught out telling porkies. Presumably she know what she’s doing and is playing to her constituency: people who use this language, automatically assume that “Gypsys” are a “problem” and are quite comfortable using this sort of language.

It’s all a far-cry from the Hug a Hoodie days when Call me Dave started to try and detoxify the Tory brand. He pretty much succeeded – jumping on a Husky sleigh – claiming to be the ‘Greenest government ever” then chumming up with the lovely Liberals in the Rose Garden. But the Bromance is long-gone and now, post-Brexit the mask has slipped.

They’ve had their problems before – like with their unfortunate candidate for Benbecula and North Uist – but their inability to process, respond to or even comprehend what is at stake, is astonishing. These are bigoted people protecting their power and their social class.The idea that you can ‘re-train’ people to not represent the interests they do is itself extraordinary. These are powerful social forces not personality defects. Obsession with fealty to a dominant culture, protection of order, an abhorrence of any ‘other’ are all manifestations of the new authoritarianism which cultural conservatism celebrates. This is part of the DNA of Toryism and it won’t be de-toxified by a re-branding exercise or a bit of desperate spin.

For all the faux populism and the slavish media praise Ruth Davidson gets, there is no avoiding that .

“We said bigotry and we meant bigotry.”

 

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