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by Mandy Rhodes
14 February 2018
Ruth Davidson's Brexiteer headache

Ruth Davidson at Conservative conference - PA

Ruth Davidson's Brexiteer headache

Last week newspapers reported that the Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, had banned arch-Brexiteers, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove from attending her party conference in Aberdeen next month, on the grounds they are too toxic.

And while the lady herself denies they were barred, they certainly weren’t invited.

The fact is, in a country that voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU (62 per cent to 38 per cent) Scots saw through their Brexit lies and Davidson knows that this duo of snake oil salesmen would not be appreciated in the Granite City, even by their own party.

Davidson has done a good job of disassociating herself from the more poisonous elements of her party. She has deftly avoided real criticism about the more socially damaging policies emanating from Westminster, but as Theresa May’s government tears itself apart over Europe, Davidson - an ardent remainer - has a difficult balancing act to traverse. She has set herself apart from the hard-line Brexiteers. But it is a farrago.  

And with the true cost of leaving the EU now painfully revealed it would be folly for her to offer the red carpet to Brexit cheerleaders who tricked a nation with their braggadocious claims of freedom and more damagingly, remind Scots to which party she actually belongs.

With each passing day we seem to fall deeper and deeper down the Brexit rabbit hole where our new normal is a constantly moving mosaic of madness in which the only thing that is certain is the uncertainty.

On Thursday MSPs were told that they could now read the Conservative government’s Brexit economic impact analysis - papers they were originally told didn’t exist.

But with the details already leaked all over the newspapers, the invitation to view -  only by appointment, under strict supervision and within restricted times – the exercise seemed futile.

And that was before MSPs discovered a ‘clerical error’ which meant they were handed only the pages with even numbers.

However, the missing pages couldn’t help to disguise the reality that under all economic modelling, Scotland would be much the poorer following a withdrawal from Europe.

And more telling, the devastating forecasts mirrored almost exactly numbers already released by the Scottish Government some weeks earlier, and which the Tories had slammed as SNP scaremongering. So, who to believe?

Enter, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexiteer and the man most tipped to be our future prime minister, who simply dismissed the economics as civil service fiddling.

In any other time, the idea of Rees-Mogg as the next leader of our country would be dismissed as a joke but he is now the perfect analogy of the current chaotic state of politics.

A no-deal Brexiteer whose wrecking-ball approach to a withdrawal from Europe has been exposed as a sham. An anti-abortionist – even in the case of rape - and against gay marriage. A politician out of step with the modern world who says he is guided by God rather than politics.

And incredibly, he is tipped to be part of our future – as a Tory leadership ‘dream team’ along with Johnson and Gove. No wonder Davidson isn’t rolling out the welcome mat in Aberdeen.

First published in the Sunday Post on 11 January 2018

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Read the most recent article written by Mandy Rhodes - Fiona Hyslop: The feeling of unity is already palpable in the SNP.

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