OH whoopee, the Conservative leadership candidates have finally deigned to notice that Scotland exists, aren't we the lucky ones.

At the hustings in Leeds, we learned that Rishi Sunak thinks Boris Johnson's power grab and Westminster's unilateral undermining of the devolution settlement was a good thing. Sunak believes it will strengthen this supposed union.

But then, we are talking about a man who has only the haziest of notions about what is going on in Scotland. When asked whether he'd spend more time in Scotland if he became Prime Minister, Rish! and his exclamation mark of ambition replied: "I think people can already see I take that seriously – I was the chancellor who set up an economic campus for the government and for the Treasury in Darlington.” Whoop, and indeed, de-doo Rish!

Well, it's all up north, isn't it? So it's pretty much the same thing.

Sunak's claim that undermining the devolution settlement is in fact an example of how the Tories are strengthening the Union was only one facet of the gob-smacking delusion which is the hallmark of the Conservatives' approach to Scotland. This is what happens when your go-to guy for advice on matters Caledonian, sorry, North British, is Andrew Bowie. Sunak can afford to pay £3500 on a suit, you'd think he could afford to invest in some more realistic advice about Scotland … but apparently not. As far as Scotland is concerned, the Tories are only interested in their Union-flag-themed comfort blanket, not reality.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak pledges to become most interventionist PM since devolution began

Another example of Sunak's delusion was the way in which the former chancellor, arch-Brexiter and proponent of leaving the European customs union and single market spoke about how nationalism is a "romantic and seductive idea". He was of course talking about nationalism of the pro-independence Scottish variety. His own Anglo-British nationalism isn't nationalist at all in his deluded eyes, and it's certainly neither romantic nor seductive to the great majority of people in Scotland.

Andrew Bowie, Sunak's chief Scottish Tory cheerleader, has already waxed lyrical about how if he becomes prime minister Sunak will pass legislation to allow Westminster to "circumvent" Holyrood because the Tories "cannot trust the SNP to act in the best interests of the Scottish people”.

It was an incredible thing to say, and it is indicative of how most of the media in Scotland is more concerned about fending off independence than standing up for the rights of Scotland within this so-called Union that they keep telling us is so good for us that Bowie's gross assault on the principles of democracy was met with a shrug of the shoulders and not howls of outrage.

Not only is it an insult to Scottish democracy, but it also represents a direct breach of the vow that the Conservatives made in order to secure a No vote in 2014, when they promised that no changes would be made to the devolution settlement without the express consent of Holyrood. But apparently it's only the SNP who are to be held to statements made in the 2014 independence referendum campaign.

Whatever you think of the SNP, they are only in the position that they are in Holyrood because the people of Scotland voted to put them in power. Whether the SNP acts in the best interests of the Scottish people is a judgement for the people of Scotland to make at a Scottish election, that is how democracy works. It is not for Sunak or Bowie to overrule the electorate, being as they are representatives of a party that has not won an election in Scotland since the 1950s. 

Sunak's big idea seems to be to keep on saying no to another referendum while actively hollowing out and undermining the devolution settlement. That might play well with the staunch British nationalist moon-howlers on social media, but it will only help to bring about the destruction of this so-called Union.

On August 16, the Conservatives will hold their sole leadership event in Scotland with hustings in Perth. No doubt both candidates will regale us with the ways in which they intend to trash Scottish democracy and play to the unrepresentative gallery of right-wing Anglo-British nationalists who'd like to abolish the Scottish Parliament. It will lay bare the utter poverty of the case for what the Tories are still insisting is a Union.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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