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by Louise Wilson
29 April 2021
Sketch: Douglas Ross's dark side

Credit: Iain Green

Sketch: Douglas Ross's dark side

Willie Rennie believes Douglas Ross is a dark force in Scottish politics.

“I think there’s a darker image and a darker positioning amongst the Conservatives than there was previously,” he said.

Standing next to someone with an innocent, excitable schoolboy vibe like Rennie, it’s easy for anyone to look a bit like the bad guy. To be fair to the Scottish Lib Dem leader, Ross did look a bit like a Batman villain when standing on a tank in a recent photoshoot. He will bring down Gotham.

But Rennie said the Tories were having “quite an ugly, poisonous period” which seemed a bit insulting. Election campaigns should be focused on policy, surely, not the appearance of party leaders. Poor Ross.

Still, Rennie insisted former Conservative voters were fleeing from a “dark and negative” campaign towards the light of the Lib Dems. He said: “There is a darker edge to the Conservative campaign this time and they are repelled by that.”

He added: “Douglas himself is a bit darker than Ruth. Ruth was a bubbly, bright individual.”  That must be why the two of them have featured together throughout the campaign. Ross’s negative energy is balanced out by Davidson’s positive vibes, creating something far more strong and stable than any UK government could hope for. Or maybe it’s just because she brings a bit more levity to a politician posing on a military tank.

But Ross is merely following the path of his Tory forefathers like Michael Howard, who famously had something of the night about him.

In an interview on Good Morning Scotland, Anas Sarwar even revealed the Tories “feed off” the SNP. Really, like vampires? Actually, come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Ross eat or drink?

He also doesn’t seem to have aged in the last few years and his shapeshifting powers have made him a master of disguise. A sensible-appearing politician in a suit by day to launch a manifesto. A T-shirt and hoodie combo by night for the National Union of Students hustings. And wait, didn’t he once reveal to Holyrood that he had disguised himself as a Lib Dem in his youth? This constant shapeshifting must be confusing and could easily explain why Boris Johnson struggles to remember the name of his Scottish colleague. But then again…

However, it might also explain why Ross is not a fan of Gypsy/Traveller communities. His experience with the Romani people over the past several centuries has taught him to be distrustful of people with strong storytelling traditions. Their vampire folklore means they know too much – Roma people know exactly what tools to use to defeat a vampire in an election campaign. A salt circle around Holyrood may be all opponents need to prevent him taking a seat in parliament in May.

Or perhaps the darkness to which Rennie was referring was the fact Ross is a bit of a black hole when it comes to speaking about circumstances for a legitimate second independence referendum. No number of questions on the subject will reveal anything – after all, no light can escape from a black hole.

Asked repeatedly by several journalists along the campaign trail about whether an SNP majority would provide them with a mandate to pursue another vote, Ross dodged the questions.

“I’m not going to speculate on the outcome of an election that’s not been held yet,” he said.

“I don’t want another referendum,” he said.

“We’ve had a referendum in 2014. What we’re saying at this election is we can stop the SNP with their divisive plans to have it again,” he said.

There’s nothing in the universe denser than a black hole.

The No2IndyRef2 message might have been successful in 2016, but it’s wearing a bit thin now. Indeed, Ross’s press officer seemed to be urging him to wrap up in a recent Channel 4 interview, only for Ross to say: “No, no, keep going. Ignore him. I normally do as well.”

So, back to the nationalists, is there a democratic route to indyref? “They will always focus on another independence referendum, above all else, I’m saying we can stop that.”

That wasn’t the question, Douglas.

“What we have seen across Scotland over the last five years is the Scottish Conservatives being the only party that are willing to challenge the SNP, the only party willing to hold them to account, and the only party in this election that recognises the threat from nationalists.”

That still doesn’t answer the question, Douglas.

“I’ll be clear, you know, what I’ve said is we stopped a second independence referendum in the last parliament, because we stopped an SNP majority.”

You couldn’t be being less clear Douglas. In fact, it seems the only time he can be clear is when standing in front a mirror, searching for a reflection. And that’s just peachy…

Read the most recent article written by Louise Wilson - Graeme Dey: We should be very clear rail is devolved - it is for us to decide

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