The National:

POLITICS can be a rough old game. Party leaders (past and present) taking a pop at each other is all part of political life’s rich tapestry. Wilfully misleading the public is something else again. Coming up with what one of Trump’s cronies masquerading as press officers described as “alternative facts” is frankly beyond the pale.

Ruth Davidson, former colonel in chief of the Scottish Tories, has been explaining to readers of her London Evening Standard column about the current constitutional crisis occasioned by a new Tory bill neutering the devolved administrations.

She starts off her shameless misrepresentation of the Westminster power grab by suggesting that the furore it is causing is all of a piece with Nicola Sturgeon “taking repeated and pointed sideswipes at the UK Government from the podium of her daily news conferences”.

If only! I have been a constant viewer of these Corvid updates and the only people taking sideswipes have been journalists vainly trying to goad the First Minister into saying anything controversial about her Westminster counterparts.

READ MORE: Ruth Davidson backs UK Government's Brexit power grab on Scotland​

Had she been so inclined she could have taken more than a sideswipe at the incoherent messaging, and “world-beating” initiatives strangled at birth. She has, in fact, been polite to a fault. Maybe because you have to sound consensual when you need to keep the Treasury sweet. The compliment is rarely returned.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon, contrary to Ruth Davidson's claims, has refrained from party politics during her coronavirus briefingsNicola Sturgeon, contrary to Ruth Davidson's claims, has refrained from party politics during her coronavirus briefings

That is far from the worst of Davidson’s assertions. Talking about a bill which effectively gives Westminster new powers of veto over whole swathes of formerly devolved areas, she claims this is nothing more sinister than the construction of a level playing field across the UK nations. And, since we were happy to have one anent Brussels, why should we worry our little heads about one across the British Isles?

The would-be Baroness speaks with forked tongue. She knows fine well that the bill will give a Westminster appointed body the power to scrutinise any proposed Holyrood legislation and decide whether it’s competent.

She fails to mention at any point the implication that common UK standards mean we have to accept whatever concessions the PM’s negotiators make to rustle up new trade deals when we fall over the Brexit cliff.

READ MORE: Ruth Wishart: Here’s the nub of why the Scottish Tories face oblivion

The endlessly sleekit Mr Gove, during his stint at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), insisted there would be no lowering of animal welfare or farm production standards. Then, in his current elevated capacity, refused to put that into legislative writing. Trust me, I’m Michael, has a bit of a hollow ring round these parts.

She fails to remind readers that when an amendment was inserted to offer agricultural protections, every single “Scottish” Tory helped vote it down. The powers being repatriated from Brussels have to go somewhere she says. Without mentioning that the ones with any serious muscle, like decisions on state aid, have been repatriated to London – even in policy areas devolved since the first Scotland Act.

But lookey here, we will be given a hundred shiny new powers we never had before. Presumably like hiring our own window cleaners.

As this cast of third rate characters, a sort of Peter Principle collective, huddles in Downing Street, dimly aware that they are not so much out of their depth as drowning in incompetence, you might think Ruth Davidson would be trying to put some clear blue water between herself and a Prime Minister she once derided.

Perhaps she should try some new reading material. I recommend the small print in this shoddy new bill, with a chaser on current polling data. She will find that more than half of all Scots are now persuaded Scotland needs to de-couple from this car crash. It seems too, that almost half of English voters would now like to set Scotland free too.

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