2007 - 2022

Grooming the Colonel

Colonel Davidson is getting some high-powered backing as the political establishment look aghast as their normally ‘strong and stable’ leaders set fire to the house.

Interesting bylines on this Colonel Davidson puff piece (‘Ruth Davidson says she would consider standing to be an MP in future‘)  written by the joint political editors of the Guardian Anushka Asthana and Heather Stewart with the standfirst “Scottish Conservative leader seen by some Tories as party’s great centrist hope hints at possible switch to Commons in 2021”.

It’s good of them to run it and it no doubt coincides with her disastrous recent Survation / Sunday Post polling. One thing in particular stood out from this – the flagging fortunes of the Ruth Davidson’s Tory project in Scotland despite the enthusiastic backing of the media she is, undoubtedly, as one commentator put it:

“Being dragged down by toxicity of May and the Westminster government.”

The polling put Labour up two points, the moribund and meaningless Liberals static on 7% and the Tories down two points. On that polling the Conservatives would lose two seats back down to 29.

In an interview with the Spectator after being asked if she would rule out coming to Westminster, the MSP “admitted”:

“I haven’t ruled it out. If devolution is going to work, then actually there has to be the ability to move between chambers and parliaments.”


What does that mean?

Devolution is now dependent on moving between parliaments? In what possible sense?

Asked about the (likely) result of the Tories coming third in Scotland behind the SNP and Labour she replied, as if answering  a completely different question: “I’ve been leader of the party now for six years. My two predecessors last six and a half years.”

By 2021 she would have been in post longer than them so “then we can start other conversations”.

It was a moment of pure narcissism and an interesting insight to how her mind works: “Having failed here it’s time to move south to the big parliament where I can shine by not being quite so toxic as the pure-bred Tories.”

It’s also interesting that – as in business – in politics you get rewarded for failure.

The enthusiastic Guardian piece continues gushing:

“After seeing a revival in her party’s fortunes north of the border, she has made a growing number of interventions in UK-wide politics in recent months including … saying publicly of the sexual harassment scandal that “some pretty big shovels” would be needed to clear the stables”.

If that’s not Prime Ministerial material I don’t know what is.

The issue isn’t so much the self-serious worthy narcissism that surrounds the Colonel, the endless emptiness and facile boosterism of a politician surrounded by admirers but with so little to say. The endless desire for recognition, the need to be given gravitas, the furrowed brow, the false grievance goes on.

All politicians have their shelf-life. ‘Sunny Jim’ Callaghan looked blase in the face of crisis, Thatcher’s downfall was the Poll Tax and (improbably) being savaged by Geoffrey Howe, Major became associated with sleaze and Cash for Questions. Blair sank under the weight of his own ego.

We had hoped that her cosplay fiasco would have been the end for an over-hyped politician whose remarkable success has been based on being marginally more interesting than Annabelle Goldie.

It appears not.

The whole ‘will she won’t she’ debate is a hoot. Of course she will – as soon as she can. She’s probably sleeping in the parachute they’ll use to lower gently into some safe-haven right now, to arrive a benighted martyr, the One True King in the North etc etc.

The problem for the narrators of this blockbuster is not that Ruth Davidson is a formidable (if utterly vacuous) politician but that the Tory Party has been captured by their own far-right who are about to destroy the economy. In such a context the grooming of the Colonel is a sideshow for journalists bored of the reality of British Disaster Capitalism.


Comments (27)

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  1. Astragael says:

    Am I alone in always having thought of her as Colon. Ruth?

  2. NodToBob says:

    Hate seeing articles like this knocking the colonel. Sure, she’s narcissistic, shallow, policy free, and probably a bit of a bully too; she’s a Tory after all. But we haven’t laid a glove on her all year and a I think we need to concentrate more on that.

  3. Graham King says:

    Please! ‘Honorary Colonel’, only.
    Let’s not contribute to any false grandiose ideas!

  4. Scotophile says:

    The only positive thing I can see Ruth Davidson doing for Scottish politics is going south.

    1. Richard Wickenden (ex Tory from the mid-ninetys) says:

      Possibly taking a safe seat from Theresa, Boris, Rees-Mogg.

    2. Richard Wickenden (ex Tory from the mid-ninetys) says:

      Possibly taking a safe seat from Theresa, Boris, Rees-Mogg.

  5. EleanorD says:

    “On that polling the Conservatives would lose two seats back down to 29.” Pardon? She doesn’t have 31 seats – she has 13. So if she loses two it takes her down to 11, surely. I have read this fallacy that she has 31 seats two or three times after the last couple of days.

    1. Astragael says:

      Is it not currently 13 seats at Westminster and 31 seats at Holyrood?

  6. w.b.robertson says:


  7. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    The ‘grooming’ has been going on for a couple of years, particularly in the Guardian, Observer, New Statesman, Prospect and the website Left Foot Forward.
    The coverage has been wholly admiring and uncritical.
    Clearly, the no-interviews approach, is planned and designed to avoid being asked any awkward questions. The few ‘interviews’ are actually ex cathedra announcements to camera. She issues press releases which the media duly transmit. As often as not what she says is presented first, with the FM’s statement following, implying the Colonel is calling the shots.
    At the GE the Tories tried to keep the media and the public away from Mrs May, but, when even the fairly docile press pack saw her buckle under a fairly innocuous question, their feral lust overwhelmed them and she crumbled. I suspect that as Mrs May is seen as damaged goods she will be persisted with for as long as she can, while the Colonel’s image is honed to the extent where she can be seen as a ‘shoo-in’.

  8. Alba Woman says:

    She is being set up by her pals in London….they know that she can be manipulated and true to her army interest,she follows orders. She has followed the orders of Tory strategists based on the undermining of Scottish society. The main strategy was to use and develop links with the orange order and other extreme right wing activists. These were initiated in the Indy ref1campaign and she worked to bring them into mainstream politics. Her choice, the Conservative Party over the folk of Scotland

    I hope she leaves Scotland and goes to her fate of being a punch bag like Teresa May. Women and children in Scotland would no longer have to bear a woman who thinks for a second that the Rape Clause is acceptable……Au Revoir Ruth

    1. Calum McIntosh says:

      “She is being set up by her pals in London”

      I think so too!

      Boris Johnson sees her as both a foe and useful idiot, he has all the relationships in London, there is only one winner in that race for the prize.

      The colonel is suffering from “Bonnie Prince Charlie-itus”, only difference is, at least Charlie won Scotland before marching south!

      All the colonel has acheived with the backing of the press, bbc and labour in Scotland, is to come a distant second!

  9. Thomas Potter says:

    Don’t hold back Mike, won’t you?.
    Totally annihilating summary of what Ruth Davidson is really all about.

  10. Willie says:

    With the puppet Prime Minister totally and utterly emasculated and humbled on the international stage, this little runt of a Tory is most certainly getting above herself if she thinks a move to Westminster could get her promoted to General.

    She’s not a real colonel and she’s no chance of becoming a General. Private Disaster more like, just like her hapless chum Mrs May.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Scotland’s Captain Mainwaring will perhaps be given the safe Tory seat of Walmington-on-Sea?

  11. Moscow says:

    Good on her…She’s done well!

  12. Tom Hubbard says:

    You see young lads, back from the war zones, with artificial limbs, and who get the run-around from the likes of the DWP and ATOS. Davidson – let’s dispense with the cosy ‘Ruth’ – prances about in her ‘Colonel’ duds and has never risked herself at a front line. She’s phoney, yes; vulgar, yes; shallow, yes; but she’s much, much worse than that: obscene.

    1. Calum McIntosh says:

      War dead provide the ideal backdrop for n’er do well uk politicians to bask in the dead’s refelcted glory. Who can challenge or point out the absurdity of Davidson trying to gather popularity on the back of someone else’s bravery?

      Conversely, those coming back from wars they should never have been sent to with life changing injuries or mental illness are shunned and end up on the streets destitute.

      Stange how some unworthy people can exploit a system to their advantage? But hey, that’s what being a tory is all about!

      1. Willie says:

        When I read all these pieces about Davidson being a balanced politician with a future, I can’t but help think of the image of her, legs akimbo, astride the gun barrel of a tank.

        Maybe someone should give her a toy tank and point her in the direction of the EU negotiations that have been a bloodbath for the hapless May and her beleaguered band of Brexiteers.

        And with BoJo on a zip slide over head our Victory in Europe would be assured.

        Levity aside, how on earth could anyone have voted for this lot.

  13. Calum McIntosh says:

    Standing up for Scotland?

    Not one of the so called tory rebels who voted for scrutiny on the brexit bill were one of the colonels MPs.

    That tells us she is a party player with naked ambition for herself and will sell Scotland down the river at the drop of her hat.

    I think she is headed for a fall and humilation, she has so many faces and lacks attention to detail that she will get caught out and or one of her rivals will drop her in it.

    It also tells none of her mps have the guts to stand up for Scotland.

    Are we suprised?


    Never trust a tory!

  14. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Is that all you have left Mike, name calling?
    You might not agree with her politics but the truth is Ruth Davidson is a successful, well liked (even by opposition MSPs), young female Scottish politician. This article therefore makes you sound like a bit of a bitter bully.
    I know you wont publish this. You dont accept other peoples opinions, especially those that are contrary to yours. I know that. Thats why your loosing the argument.

    1. Richard MacKinnon says:

      Mike, well done.

  15. Monty says:

    A politician who is prone to pure narcissism, thinks they are serving a greater cause by ping-ponging between Parliaments, seemingly has the common touch but are almost wholly self-serving, admires Thatcher’s economic policies and have brought their party from the margins to the centre of Scottish politics. Is Ruth the new Alex Salmond?

    1. GS says:

      No, couldn’t stand in Alex’s boots

  16. Interpolar says:

    That‘s actually what is wrong with Scotland for as long as it is politically tied to London. Talent is eventually pulled away south. Obviously „talent“ is pushing it a bit in Ruthie‘s case, but she‘s about the best the Unionist parties have after decades of drain, which rather underlines the point.

  17. GS says:

    She doesn’t have a chance of leadership in Scotland, so being so cherished and admired by the Westminter Tories she is going to take her future down South.

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