SCOTLAND is agog at the prospect of this weekend's Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen.

That's agog in the same sense as watching some very drunk men navigate an icy pavement. You know someone's going to get badly hurt and deeply embarrassed. But since one of the drunk men is well known locally as a nasty bully, you're kind of hoping that the hurt is pretty bad.

The conference venue is reportedly giving heavy abandoned shopping mall vibes, an empty expanse of nothingness where only resentment and bitterness echo off the bare walls, which coincidentally is the perfect metaphor for the Conservative Party in Scotland.

It's safe to say that the Tories are not expecting a packed hall at their very truncated conference, which will be over and done within 28 hours instead of being a three-day event, such as we saw at the recent SNP conference.

The Tories are presumably hoping that if they trot through the proceedings as quickly as possible, people won't notice that they're a party bereft of ideas, vision, and indeed basic humanity.

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Due to low ticket sales the Tories have been forced to share the venue with a George Michael tribute act. Perhaps we can look forward to Murdo Fraser singing Careless Whisper, the title of which is a pretty good summary of his Twitter account.

Speakers are expected to rail against 'divisive nationalism' while wrapping themselves in a British flag and demonising migrants, benefits claimants, and the European Union. Self-awareness was never one of the strong suits of the Tory party.

But then when you are single-mindedly focused on enriching the wealthy as you trash public services, self-awareness is a handicap that the Tories have long since evolved away from.

All that ails Scotland will be laid squarely at the door of the Scottish Government, ignoring the actions of the Conservative government in Westminster which has squeezed the Scottish budget for years and whose austerity policies have brought public services to the verge of collapse even as they give tax cuts to the rich.

The National:

There will be no great policy announcements at this conference, those are all well above the pay grade of the speakers whose careers entail brow beating Scots into accepting whatever insane fascist ideas their London masters come up with this week as they attempt to fend off the electoral threat posed to them in England by the rabidly unpleasant far-right British nationalist Reform Party.

The Tories in Scotland are currently facing truly dire polling numbers and we could be looking at the delicious (for the rest of us) prospect of a near Conservative wipe out in Scotland.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross reacted to the news of the latest poll by telling the BBC's Good Morning Scotland it wasn’t what he was hearing on the doorsteps. And this would be true when he chaps on the doors of his mammy and his auntie and they tell him he's doing a really great job.

Even so, we can expect this festival of British nationalist entitlement to receive widespread publicity in the Scottish media as it enables the Scottish Tories to indulge themselves in the delusion that they are relevant and important and not merely a bunch of predominantly elderly nostalgic British nationalists who are doomed to well-deserved electoral oblivion.

The unfortunate return of George Galloway

Dundee's leading cat impersonator and political opportunist, the lugubriously bevoweled ultra unionist George Galloway - who hates nationalism unless it's British (in which case it doesn't count) - has carpet bagged his way back into the House of Commons on the back of Labour disarray in the Rochdale by-election and widespread public dissatisfaction with Keir Starmer's stance on the horrors unfolding in Gaza and his refusal to make a clear call for a ceasefire or to unequivocally condemn the genocidal actions of the Israeli armed forces being carried out in brutal retribution for the criminal attacks and hostage taking perpetrated by Hamas on October 7.

Over 30,000 Palestinians have now died since Israel launched its assault on the territory, a grim total which will only rise even further as famine takes hold in Gaza.

Azhar Ali, the Labour candidate in the by-election in Rochdale, called forward following the death from cancer of the sitting Labour MP Tony Lloyd, was suspended by the party when allegations of antisemitism came to light when the campaign was already well underway.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak hints at 'Union tax cut' during Scottish visit

This left the Labour Party without a candidate in a seat which they ought to have held comfortably, thus opening the door for Galloway to make a pitch to the constituency's large Muslim population.

Galloway won with 12,335 votes and achieved a historic swing of 41% against Labour.

However, despite Galloway's grandiloquent claims that his victory represents "a shifting of the tectonic plates" away from Labour, his victory was very much a product of a unique set of local circumstances which will not be replicated more widely at the next General Election.

The National:

Galloway has pulled off spectacular by-election victories before, as he did in Bradford West in 2012.

He also won a seat in Bethnal Green and Bow in the 2005 Westminster General Election, capitalising on opposition to the Iraq War in a constituency, like Rochdale and Bradford West, with a large Muslim population.

It is highly likely that the seat will revert to Labour at the next General Election.

Rishi Sunak’s flying visit to Scotland

Meanwhile, Scotland has been (dis)graced with a visit from Rishi Sunak who has helicoptered in in order to tell us that he will lead the fight against climate change.

The Prime Minister is here to address the gaggle of remaining faithful at the Scottish Tory conference where he is expected to say that only the Tories will protect and promote the North Sea oil industry.

Sunak was in Aberdeen on Friday where he refused to answer questions about whether the Chancellor is going to raise taxes on the industry when he unveils the budget next week saying that he doesn't want to pre-empt the Chancellor's announcement.

Sunak has previously been quite happy to pre-empt the Chancellor's announcement when he thinks it's to his political advantage, so his silence now probably means bad news.

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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