Ruth Davidson has had a charmed stint as leader of the Scottish Conservatives. Rarely scrutinised, despite committing a series of gaffes, she was catapulted into stardom after she ‘won’ the 2016 Holyrood election [© MSM].
Davidson is the Union Queen.
The Scottish Conservative leader has been lauded by the worm-tongues of the Scottish media ever since her party dislodged Scottish Labour as main opposition to the SNP administration at Holyrood.
Her profile south of the border increased significantly when she deployed her pugnacious debating skills during the EU Referendum. There were even claims she was considering a move to a safe Tory seat in England and suggestions a senior Cabinet position awaited.
Davidson has lapped up the hype. And who can blame her given she has inherited the ‘do not question’ mantle previously enjoyed by the likes of Jim Murphy. Lately though the shine has started to come off of Queen Ruth’s tiara.
The so-called ‘Rape Clause’ was a banana skin a competent politician would have avoided. Not Ruth. The issue has ensured the buffalo-riding court jester image, normally pushed by her adoring media, has been replaced with that of a rather more scary clown. From Union Queen to Stephen King.
The ‘Rape Clause’ row coincides with damaging revelations involving a string of Tory candidates as the local elections loom. Ruth of course is using these same elections as a proxy to push her party’s opposition to a second independence referendum.
Ruth is now enduring the type of scrutiny she should always have been exposed to, but never was. In the spirit of this new found media curiosity I have prepared a few questions the Scottish Conservative leader would absolutely not want to face. Will any journalist dare to ask them?
This is a simple one. With everyone from the First Minister through women’s rights campaigners to the Scottish Labour party condemning the Rape Clause, the question for Ruth Davidson is simple.
Do you support the Rape Clause?
The Scottish Conservative campaign for the 2017 local elections has one theme at its heart – a second independence referendum. It is the number one issue on the party’s campaign literature. Voters are being asked to back Tory candidates specifically to oppose a second independence referendum.
The ploy was hatched by UK PM Theresa May who asked voters to use the local elections to send a message to Nicola Sturgeon. It was echoed by Ruth Davidson who, writing for The Sun, said:
“A vote for the Scottish Conservatives sends a strong message – No to another divisive referendum…”
That the issue of independence is being shoe-horned into the Scottish local elections by Ruth Davidson is as clear as day. Which is odd, because back in 2012 Ruth Davidson angrily claimed that any attempt to use the local elections to push the independence issue would be, “a cynical attempt to hoodwink the voters of Scotland”
In a statement issued on April 23rd 2012, Davidson said of the council elections:
“This is an election about local issues and any attempt by the SNP to hijack it as a vote for separation is nothing more than a cynical attempt to hoodwink the voters of Scotland.”
Given her party has placed the constitution front and centre of the 2017 council elections then I’d argue Ruth should be asked the following question:
If shoe-horning the constitution into local elections is a cynical attempt to hoodwink the voters of Scotland then why is your party doing it?
In 2015 Ruth Davidson questioned the probity of the SNP’s candidate selection after Michelle Thomson found herself in the headlines. The Scottish Conservative leader said:
“I think there’s a question here about the probity of the SNP’s candidate selection. I think what people need to know is, what kind of candidate vetting procedures went on in the SNP?”
Scottish Conservative candidates for the forthcoming local elections include a former chairman of UKIP in Scotland, another with alleged links to the BNP, one who called for the First Minister to be kidnapped and several who made xenophobic and/or racist comments.
One has also called for the First Minister to be sexually assaulted and another that German Chancellor Angela Merkel be hanged.
Given that Ruth Davidson attacked the SNP over its candidate vetting process, it would be fair to ask the Scottish Conservative leader the following.
Given the background and social media comments from several of your local election candidates, are you happy that your candidate vetting process is adequate? If not, how can you be certain there aren’t even more racist and violent misogynists standing as Tory candidates?
Ruth Davidson has argued that the SNP does not have a mandate to call a second independence referendum because Nicola Sturgeon’s party did not win a majority at Holyrood. It implies that Davidson would have accepted a mandate had the SNP won a majority.
However during the 2016 Holyrood campaign Davidson stated that a majority of SNP MSPs would not constitute a mandate for a second independence referendum.
Her stance is further complicated by comments she made during the 2011 Holyrood election count where she stated that a majority coalition involving the SNP, Greens and the SSP would be enough for an indyref mandate.
Ruth Davidson has had three separate and/or contradictory stances when it comes to what constitutes a mandate for a second independence referendum [or what doesn’t]. I would suggest the following questions would be appropriate:
In 2011 you stated that a cross-party Holyrood majority was sufficient to achieve a mandate for an independence referendum. Given such a cross-party majority now exists, why have you changed your mind?
If, as you said during the 2016 Holyrood campaign, a majority of SNP MSPs was not sufficient, then your current objection has nothing to do with the result of the Holyrood vote. You would have argued Nicola Sturgeon has no mandate under any circumstances, wouldn’t you?
Anyone but the SNP
Oh and finally there’s Murdo Fraser who has called on voters to choose *anyone* but the SNP in the local elections. The implication of course is that voters should in fact choose parties like … the BNP.
Simple question for Ruth:
Do you support Murdo Fraser’s call?
I don’t expect Ruth Davidson to field all, or even any, of these questions from any reporter. Which is a shame for wouldn’t it be interesting to hear her answer them?
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