Boris Johnson has amply demonstrated why he is unfit to become Prime Minister, but then so have the other contenders in the Conservative leadership race, writes Angus Robertson.
Scotland is so important to the Tory leadership candidates that the majority of them haven’t even bothered to venture north of the border. Their absence, their track record and their bankrupt Brexit policy platform underlines the fact that, frankly, none of them is fit to lead the country. Anyone who watched the first televised debates will realise that they don’t have convincing answers to the Brexit conundrum facing their party and the country.
In fairness, two of them did manage a day trip to the Capital in recent weeks to have their pictures taken and then headed south. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was clearly in foreign climes as he recorded a quick video message on Chambers Street and started wittering on about people living in Culloden. Tory media darling Rory Stewart was in town long enough to meet some journalists in Stockbridge, and then recorded a video at Edinburgh University where he talked about the need to reform social care in England.
Sajid Javid has not been in Scotland, but his biggest supporter is Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson and key financial backer is Ian Taylor, whose Vitol oil company infamously paid Serbian war criminal Arkan $1 million.
Michael Gove, whose cocaine revelations have dogged his campaign, has also not been north of the border yet. That is a shame because I’ve always enjoyed listening to the Scottish burr he rediscovers when he’s here, before forgetting it on the trip home.
Brexit hardliner Dominic Raab, who infamously said that people used food-banks because of occasional “cashflow problems”, has also not been in Edinburgh at all during the campaign. Neither has the elephant-scale buffoon in the room, Boris Johnson. Unbelievably, this pantomime-standard charlatan who wouldn’t get elected onto a community council in Scotland, is seriously ahead in the race to lead the UK Conservative Party and become Prime Minister.
For the avoidance of doubt, when I say charlatan, I’m not overlooking his other well-known qualities as a liar, bigot, peddler of racism, philanderer and serial embarrassment as London mayor and Foreign Secretary. This is the man who was sacked twice for dishonesty, firstly by his newspaper editor, and then by the leader of the Conservative Party. This is the man who described black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”, compared Muslim women to bank robbers and letterboxes, gay men as “bum boys” and much, much more that is offensive. All of which you might imagine hearing from a verbally incontinent eejit, but never from an adult fit for one of the highest offices in the land.
Johnson has a special place in his heart for Scotland and it is not a nice place. As editor of the Spectator, he published a poem describing Scottish people as “a verminous race” who should be exterminated. The poem went on to describe Scots as “tartan dwarves” who were “polluting our stock” and suggested that the country should be turned into a “ghetto” with the inhabitants submitted for “extermination”. More recently he suggested that public money would be better spent in London than Scotland, and proposed tax changes where taxpayers here would subsidise the well-off in England. No wonder Bojo hasn’t got the mojo to turn up to TV debates and has been hiding from scrutiny from journalists.
What all of these unelectables share is a contemptuous attitude towards Scottish democracy. They represent a party which secured a pathetic 12 per cent in the most recent election in Scotland, but think they are in a position to dictate how we determine our future. I look forward to the next independence referendum where we will choose a better option than Boris’s Brexit Britain.