Nasty Tories in a panic

The Tories have a well deserved reputation as the Nasty Party and during this general election campaign as they stare at electoral devastation in the face, the Tories appear to have decided that the reason they are so unpopular is because they are not being unpleasant and out of touch enough. The Conservatives are the political equivalent of that bullying kid at school who courts popularity by throwing rocks at a dug.

Let’s begin with Scotland’s very own Mr Nasty Tory, Douglas Ross. During his tenure as Scottish Conservative leader there has been a noticeable increase in boorish and hectoring interruptions from the Tory benches during First Minister’s Questions, very often led by Ross himself, who is clearly determined to bring Holyrood down to the adolescent barracking so characteristic of that House of Commons which is his spiritual home.

Just a day before nominations for the general election closed, three jobs Ross showed Scotland just how nasty he really is. Despite claiming just as recently as a few days ago that he had no intention of standing for Westminster as he was focused on his job as an MSP and leader of the Tory group at Holyrood – at least that is when he’s not focused on his job as a football linesman – Ross has changed his mind and is going to stand for Westminster after all, in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East seat of sitting Tory MP David Duguid who has suddenly been deselected. Duguid had expressed his determination to stand again as Scotland really needs his services as a no mark mediocre Tory MP. However he is currently in hospital battling a serious illness. His colleagues have stabbed him in the back, the front, and the sides. Not even the Tories can trust the Tories.

Ross claims the decision to drop Duguid as a candidate was made by an independent Scottish Conservatives’ selection panel, a panel so independent that Ross sits on it. But then Ross knows a thing or two about Scottish Tory stitch ups, he only got the gig as Scottish Tory leader after the previous incumbent, Jackson Carlaw, who had been elected by the membership, was ousted in a putsch organised by Ruth Davidson. The Tories don’t respect Scottish democracy, but then they don’t respect their own internal party democracy either.

It’s a shabby and sordid move by Ross. If Ross had an atom of decency in his body he would pledge, that if he is elected, he will stand down when David Duguid is fit to return. But then David Duguid will most likely be bumped up to the House of Lords in Sunak’s resignation honours list. However this nasty and scummy little episode tells us all exactly who Douglas Ross is, both as a politician, and as a human being. This decision is most likely not unrelated to the fact that Ross has a wafer thin majority of just 513 in his Moray seat whereas Duguid’s majority is a rather more comfortable 4118 and the Tories hope to hold the seat, whereupon Ross would be ideally placed to throw his hat into the ring as leader of the Conservative party.

Ross has fled his Moray seat for a safer bet in order to escape the embarrassment of losing his Moray constituency, which would be to the general glee and amusement of the nation. To secure a seat where he had a better chance of winning, he arranged a stitch up at the expense of a desperately ill colleague. That, coming on top of the underhand and dirty way in which he became the leader of the Scottish Tories in the first place, tells you all you need to know about his character. This is one deeply unpleasant individual, a nasty man for a nasty party.

Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes decried Ross’s underhand manoeuvre saying: “To quote one of Douglas Ross’s own colleagues, ‘this is straight out of the Farage playbook’ and I do not think it portrays the Conservatives in any decent light.”

Here’s hoping that as they cast their ballot, the voters of Aberdeenshire North and Moray East consider the character of the man who seeks to become their Conservative MP. If Douglas Ross is prepared to do the dirty on one of his own colleagues as he lies in a hospital bed recovering from a serious illness, he’d certainly be prepared to sell out the people of Aberdeenshire North and Moray East if they are foolish enough to vote for him.

On Friday Duguid released a statement in denying that his health precluded him for campaigning and he had very much looked forward to the campaign. He added that the management board of the Scottish Conservatives – on which Ross presides – that had taken the decision not to allow him to stand and it had done so without seeking medical advice or visiting him beforehand.

Duguid added that he was “very saddened by the way this whole episode has unfolded and it would be wrong of me to pretend otherwise”.

While the BBC was preoccupied with D-Day, that favourite obsession of British nationalists, it came to light that the Tories had continued to accept substantial donations from Frank Hester, even after it became public knowledge that Hester had made remarks about Diane Abbott which were widely condemned as racist and misogynistic. Hester had said that seeing Abbott, Britain’s longest-standing black MP, on TV made “you want to hate all black women,” and called for her to be shot.

The Conservatives refused to return the £10 million that Hester had donated to the party with one cabinet minister claiming the comments were made half a decade ago while Michael Gove said that Hester deserved “Christian forgiveness.” It has now transpired that the real reason Gove was so keen to offer Hester “Christian forgiveness” was because his party was still proffering the collection plate and Hester had given the Tories a further £150,000 after the story of Hester’s misogynistic and racist comments about Abbott had been made public.

It was confirmed on Thursday that Hester had given a further £5m to the Toriesbringing his total donations to more than £15m in a year. New allegations have been made that Hester has made repeated comments about race, religion and ethnicity long after the remarks he made about Diane Abbott, including in recent years.

Speaking to The Guardian, two former employees of TPP described Hester talking about an individual at a hotel in 2021 and saying she was attractive for a black woman.

That the Conservatives continued to take more money from Frank Hester even after his racist comments about Diane Abbott came to light tells you everything you need to know about the lack of principles of the nasty party.

With an opinion poll this week showing that Nigel Farage’s vanity vehicle Reform is snapping at the Tories’ heels and is polling just 2% behind the Conservatives, the Tories are looking at the very real prospect of meltdown. Douglas Ross won’t be the only Tory carpetbagger looking for a better bet elsewhere. The nasty party is in a nasty panic.

Hoewever that shabby story was quickly eclipsed by the shabby story that Sunak had buggered off early from the D-Day commemorations in Normandy in order to do an election interview with ITV that won’t even air until Wednesday next week. So Foreign Secretary David Cameron ended up in the world leader photos and video footage where Sunak should have been.Every normal person understood it was a day for statesmanship not politics, but not Sunak.

Much of the Tory party and the right wing media were incandescent with rage. Conservative commentator Tim Montgomerie slammed Sunak saying: “I think it’s political malpractice of the highest order. It’s just not dignified. It’s not the right thing to do at a fundamental level.” And that’s a Tory saying that. Even the Daily Mail laid into Sunak. Farage will be rubbing his hands with glee, Sunak has just ensured yet more former Tory voters will desert him for Farage’s Reform party.

Sunak issued an apology saying that “on reflection” it was a mistake to leave early. But if the Prime Minister and his team managed to work out today that leaving the D-Day commemorations early was a mistake, why couldn’t they work it out yesterday?

Sunak wants 18 year olds to do a year of National Service but couldn’t even manage one afternoon of National Service himself. The Tory party has killed itself. This is Sunak’s “bigoted woman” moment. The Tories are beginning to realise that the man who lost to Liz Truss isn’t the brilliant campaigner they thought him to be.

Sunak and his miserable party deserve electoral obliteration, the real tragedy is what will replace them.


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