Atomic Kitten

You could almost feel some sympathy for Douglas Ross as a nation watches his political career disintegrate in real time. I say ‘almost’ because his malignant views over a range of topics make such sympathy impossible. Last night on Channel Four’s Next Leader of Scotland debate, on a set that wasn’t sure if it was a Quentin Tarantino torture scene or Dragon’s Den, Ross switched from his happy-chappy, yoof-friendly Campaign Guy to the desperate politician shouting across Nicola Sturgeon as the dawning realisation that he’s TOAST dawned slowly.

The debate was the first time for Channel Four in this most strange election campaign and was robustly chaired by Krishnan Guru-Murthy who swiped-down poor Anas Sarwar with the aside: “We are talking about the constitution. If you don’t want to talk about it, it’s fine, you can sit this out.”


But it was really Douglas Ross who was at the end of this tether as the life-blood of his short and disastrous reign of the Scottish Tories was drained from his palid body. Ross oscillated from the comically-grandiose (“It is the most powerful and successful economic and political union that the world has ever seen!”) to the meek and timid response to Guru-Murthy’s question: “Hands up anyone else who thinks realistically they will be first minister?”.

Reader, no hands were aloft.

This cycle is mirrored in the Unionist tone and messaging which moves through a merry sequence of telling Scottish voters:

You Don’t Exist

We Love You

I Will Destroy You

It’s just disconcerting to see these messages channeled through one individual on one tv show.

Ross increasingly looks like the Donald Crowhurst of Scottish politics. Crowhurst famously disappeared after hoaxing his way round the 1968 Round the World yacht race. Ross seems to be bluffing his way through this election campaign and not very convincingly. The two main questions that come to mind after last night are:

“How the hell did this guy become leader of a political party?”


“Who on earth will they replace him with?”

The Scottish Conservatives aren’t blessed with a very deep talent pool (!), so the candidates that routinely float to the surface like turds on an incoming tide are Murdo Fraser or Adam Tompkins. Tompkins is standing down so others will need to be considered, of more in a moment.

Guru-Murthy obviously hadn’t got the memo and was far more even-handed than Scottish-based journalists on other broadcast channels. This provoked outcry from poor Alex Massie who tweeted: “Not sure I’ve seen a non-Fox News debate moderator frame every question in such a one-eyed, partisan, fashion as is happening for far in this debate.”


The tweet was quickly deleted, but Massie later replaced it with the slightly more plaintive: “Sturgeon was the obvious winner, albeit in a debate largely framed in terms very much to her advantage.”

He didn’t elaborate on what exactly gave the FM such an advantage.

Massie’s fictional grievances aside, the idea of comparing multi-award-winning and respected Channel 4 News with Fox News is so risible it could only be considered if the Tories and the Union were facing annihilation and you couldn’t really cope with a very low bar of broadcast media.

In a week where the Tory “stench of sleaze” around Boris Johnson’s government was in everyone’s nostrils and after the letting “the bodies pile high” comments it was like shooting fish in a barrel for Nicola Sturgeon. But Ross’s Shouty Man performance was also risible. In a week’s time Ross is sunk as a political force. His campaign has been lacklustre and incoherent – talking tough then screeching backwards then trying to appear as an Atomic Kitten.

From his comments on gypsy travellers to gay marriage (“Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross would have voted against same-sex marriage if he’d been an MSP“) Ross comes across as repugnant, but his own self-inflicted problems aren’t the only challenge for the Scottish Tories.  Like his predecessor Colonel Davidson he is forever tarnished by association with the government we didn’t elect. In a weeks time Ross will have overseen a discharge of Tory MSPs, losing somewhere between 7 and eleven seats.

What to do?

With the Unionist case essentially being reduced to just a threat, and with Adam Tompkins retiring disgracefully and the Colonel off to the Lords, there is only one man who can replace the unfortunate Mr Ross. It’s a man who was unjustly usurped – a man who’s boots proved too big too fill – a man who can surely resurrect the cause of, er, well anyway – only one man who can lead them to victory.

Jackson Carlaw must return to the fray. It’s time for re-building.

It’s time for #JusticeforJackson.

Comments (13)

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  1. Cathie Lloyd says:

    I found the general atmosphere of the debate ( if you can call it that) too aggressive and shouty. It was staged in a set which looked as though it could encourage a dark mugging. The shouting over the FM was wearing although she did get to deliver some good lines especially at the end. However it generally seemed to me to legitimise violent , dishonest, abusive debate on social media. How can we get back decent discussion in politics?

    1. Chas Gallagher says:

      Cathie, couldn’t agree more I thought that Krishnan Guru-Murthy was rubbish and he allowed Ross to interrupt continuously, mind you Wearie Wullie was almost as bad. As for Patrick Harvey, he hardly got a word in edgeways.

      Mind you on the positive side it allowed people to see that was not FM material and he is just as much rubbish as a politician as he is a linesman.

    2. I agree Cathie it was shouty and aggressive. If the leaders – particularly Rennie and Ross – come with that tone its difficult to control. I thought Guru-Murthy did well in some parts but struggled in others.

    3. Iain MacLean says:

      Ross started the campaign as an unknown, immature and patently not the sharpest tool in the shed!

      Ross finishes the campaign as an unknown, immature, narrow minded nasty individual prone to lying and further away from being the sharpest tool in the shed!

      Ross has obviously undergone candidate training at tory central office to turn him from a traveller hater into an all round odious individual!

      I am a big fan of Channel 4 News, the reporters are firm but fair with everyone, but on this occasion they let themselves down, it was a free for all with people speaking over each other.

      There must be a away of conducting a debate where mics are muted, candidates are given equal time and candidates are penalised for butting in!

      Also the inbuilt 3 against 2 needs an equal balance!

  2. ST says:

    Jackson Carlaw.
    Hope not.
    Please God in 10 days time he’s no longer my MSP and not able to resume the leadership

    1. Yeah. Me too. It was just a joke.

  3. Squigglypen says:

    Could almost feel sympathy for Dross?…nope…that clear enough?

    1. You’d do better to make it to the second sentence

  4. Dugald says:

    I reckon it’s time for Annie Wells’s shot at glory.


  5. James Morton says:

    Yes – justice for Surname Surname!

    Its time for – erm – that guy, you know the one, the one who stabbed Surname Surname in the back, to be in charge of the Boris Johnson Fan Club. We also need serial tank botherer, burly man magnet and regimental mascot, the Orange Baroness, Col. Ruthless Ruth to stand down as well. If they don’t everyone is going to think that the Boris Johnson Fan Club is a bit pish.

  6. Derek says:

    Photo taken in the People’s Republic of Morningside…

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      …where they aa wear fur coats an nae knickers. A metaphor, maybe, for the Scottish Tories?

  7. Rich says:

    I think it’s very cruel of contributors here to keep kicking these poor beasties .
    I’m sure there must be a suitable charity body to report you all to .
    Perhaps we should fund their rehabilitation or retirement to some kind of perpetual sanctuary for endangered wildlife…
    Where is it they are sending their last leader ?

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