After months of bluff and bluster, we now know that all of Ruth Davidson’s boasts and assurances about Brexit were nothing more than empty promises.
At the general election last year, the Scottish Tory leader made a commitment to the people of Scotland that her new band of 13 Tory MPs would “forcefully” argue for Scotland’s interests in Westminster – but nothing could be further from the truth.
Instead of standing up for Scotland, the Scottish Tories have repeatedly let us down, betraying the interests of their constituents by rubber-stamping Theresa May’s right-wing policies, backing deep austerity cuts and refusing to hold the UK Government to account.
Last week, they took their betrayal a step further when four Scottish Tory MPs backed a letter to the Prime Minister demanding an extreme hard Brexit that will have catastrophic consequences for jobs, the economy and the living standards of millions of people.
The UK Government’s own economic analysis shows Scotland will be worse off under every single Brexit scenario. Economic growth will be hit, jobs will be lost, incomes will be squeezed, businesses will close, public services will suffer, and ordinary people will bear the consequences.
Short of remaining in the European Union – as Scotland voted overwhelmingly to do – retaining our membership of the world’s largest single market and customs union is crucial to protecting jobs and prosperity. That is what the SNP have been arguing from day one.
It is such an obvious, reasonable, and necessary compromise that even Davidson used to agree with us – until she suddenly, inexplicably, changed her mind and started backing the Tory Government’s devastating plans to drag us out of the single market against our will.
Whatever the reasons for ditching her principles, it is increasingly clear that Davidson has lost control of her party and no longer has the authority or influence she once claimed to have. The extreme Brexiteers have taken control of the Tories at Westminster and in Scotland.
May is in office but not in power, and it now seems the same is true for Davidson, whose own MPs are openly defying and contradicting her on the single biggest issue facing the country.
Amnesty warn Brexit will ‘dramatically reduce’ human rights in Scotland. And if we can’t rely on Davidson to wield any influence with the Tory Government or her own MPs, then we certainly can’t rely on Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who never had any influence in the first place.
Mundell is supposed to be Scotland’s man in London but whenever the UK Government takes a major decision, he’s not invited to the table, and whenever the UK Government makes a decision that goes against Scotland’s interests, he goes into hiding, rather than doing his job and challenging it.
We saw it over the £1billion DUP deal, when Scottish Tory MPs failed to secure a single penny for Scotland. We saw it over the UK Government’s damning Brexit analysis, which Mundell previously claimed didn’t exist.
We saw it when the UK Government failed to bring forward amendments to the Brexit Bill to protect Scottish devolution, despite all their promises.
And we saw it again this week, when Mundell wasn’t even invited to Chequers where the Tory Cabinet were busy deciding their Brexit plan for the UK – leaving Scotland with no voice at the table.
As the Scottish Tories are increasingly sidelined, they are letting us all down by failing to lift a finger to protect our national interests. Once again it falls to the SNP to stand up for Scotland.