SERIAL scandals, lies, a cost of living crisis, the utter failure of Brexit to deliver any of its much-vaunted “benefits”, and the humiliation of Liz Truss's immolation of the British economy have seen the Conservatives plummet in the polls.

The impact of Brexit on the UK economy is on the same magnitude as the Covid pandemic and energy price crisis, the chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility said over the weekend. So you might have thought that the Tories would have realised they need to change their behaviour and restore public trust if they are to have a realistic chance of avoiding electoral annihilation at the next General Election.

You would of course be wrong.

Tories gonna Tory and they are no more capable of humility and shame than a parasitic gall wasp is capable of realising that paralysing a host and feeding on its flesh from inside its body is morally dubious.

The National: Former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng raised the possibility of setting up a meeting between Boris Johnson and a fake Korean firm (Aaron Chown/PA)

This weekend, former kamikaze chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (above) and Matt “Your granny is safe with me” Hancock – both of whom ought to have realised the importance of keeping well clear from anything remotely smelling similar to a potential scandal for the foreseeable future – were caught by a sting operation organised by the anti-Brexit campaigning group Led By Donkeys.

The group created a sham company before approaching 20 MPs from different parties to ask if they would join the fake firm's international advisory board for a considerable bung of cash. Both Hancock and Kwarteng told the group that they would expect to be paid £10,000 per day to act as “advisers” for the non-existent company.

Both MPs have strongly denied that they have done anything wrong and that their actions were within the rules – which merely proves to an outside observer that the rules are wrong – but then these are the rules you get when you allow a shameless bunch of shysters to set rules that suit their interests.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond says ‘continuity won’t cut it’ after Humza Yousaf win

And as if this was not shameless enough, also at the weekend we learned that Truss – who served as prime minister for seven disastrous weeks – has submitted a resignation list rewarding her donors and supporters with what the British state insists we must call “honours”.

These reportedly include a peerage for Mark Littlewood, boss of the right-wing capitalist scorched-earth think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs whose ideas were instrumental in shaping the catastrophic budget which tanked the pound and spooked the bond markets.

Truss, who has clearly learned as much as Kwarteng and Hancock, later blamed the failure of her insane economic plans on the “left-wing cabal” of the Bank of England and the international money markets. Yes, those famous socialists of international capitalism.

The National: The journalists are being honoured for their interviews with Liz Truss (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Truss also wishes to give a peerage to Tory donor Jon Moynihan – who donated more than £50,000 to her leadership campaign last year, according to the register of MPs' financial interests. Others whom Truss wishes to give peerages include Matthew Elliot, the former Vote Leave chief executive who helped found the Taxpayers' Alliance, another of those shadowy right-wing think tanks based in Tufton Street in London which were so influential in formulating Truss's economic devastation.

Two former aides told the BBC they did not think she should be putting anybody forward, given her short and disastrous time in office. One told the corporation they were "relieved to no longer be working for her and having to defend the indefensible".

Let’s not forget that nominations for “honours” made by another former prime minister, Boris Johnson, include a knighthood for his alleged wife-beater of a father, Stanley.

But Truss's nominations for peerages are of course entirely within the rules, proving yet again that it's the rules that need to change. But they never will as long as those in charge of setting the rules are those who benefit from them.

The Conservatives' big idea isn't to restore probity in government, it's to junk international law in pursuit of novel ways to be even crueler to the desperate and impoverished people driven to cross the English Channel in small and dangerously overcrowded boats.

Because the problem with Britain is not corruption at the top or the hollowing out of democratic safeguards, it's poor people and foreigners. If the Conservatives spent one-tenth of the time and energy getting their own house in order as they did on demonising the poor and the vulnerable, they might not be 20 points behind Labour in the opinion polls.

READ MORE: SNP leadership results: All the key numbers as Humza Yousaf is declared winner

Meanwhile, after a bruising SNP leadership contest, we finally have a winner. The result was announced at Murrayfield, the national rugby stadium – I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed that they didn’t announce the result on the pitch.

Humza Yousaf won the contest in the second round of counting, crossing the 50% threshold thanks to second preference votes. Yousaf will be Scotland’s next first minister.

Extricating Scotland from the cesspit of Westminster must be the top priority of the new leader. Scotland must be a country where everyone can live in dignity, where foodbanks are a shameful relic of the past, and where the elderly and disabled can feed themselves and heat their homes. Alister Jack has called on the new SNP leader to “make devolution work” – which is pretty rich coming from the man who broke it.

The National: Scottish Secretary Alister Jack during a visit to Kilmarnocks 163-year-old Palace Theatre to hear more about the town's plans to restore the building and create a new cultural quarter. Picture date: Thursday January 19, 2023. PA Photo. East Ayrshire

But Yousaf’s task is not to bow to the demands of a Conservative governor-general, it's to unite the independence movement and to chart a path to that better Scotland which can only be attained with independence. He will have to demonstrate that he is not the “continuity candidate” but that he is his own man, one who will chart his own course.

His task to get the party behind him will be made easier by the fact that he counted on the backing of most elected SNP politicians who had expressed a view, and he will be able to lead a majority government as he was the candidate who was most likely to secure the support of the Scottish Greens at Holyrood.

Yousaf will continue to position the SNP as a progressive centre-left party with social justice at the heart of its pitch for an independent nation. That will be critical in ensuring that the party appeals to those younger voters whose generation overwhelmingly supports independence.

His election proves that being Scottish is not about the colour of your skin, your religion, or your family background.

It is about where we are all going together as a country.

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.

To receive our full newsletter including this analysis straight to your email inbox, click HERE and click the "+" sign-up symbol for the REAL Scottish Politics