by Colin Campbell
DOUGLAS Ross may well be no one’s idea of an inspirational leader or an accomplished TV performer.
The Scots’ Tory leader is either hesitant and stilted when he speaks or over eager and excitable, as he has been in these party leader debates.
Neither does his youthful appearance resonate gravitas, particularly when he tries with knitted eyebrows to appear a junior statesman.
However if Mr Ross is not quite up to the task, does that really matter?
In the election a week today Mr Ross, his demeanour and what he has to say on various issues – and I can remember very little of it – is far from being the main issue.
This election is all about Nicola Sturgeon, and the SNP’s so called “independence election”. Which Sturgeon denied earlier this week in yet another brazen deception is actually about the independence issue.
However Douglas Ross has put heart and soul into the campaign and despite negative ratings among voters across the range, has done the best he can.
The nationalists have least accorded him the tribute of making him a prime target and a hate figure, second only to UK vaccine saviour Boris Johnson.
However they really were scraping the barrel this week when they unearthed remarks Ross made several years ago about travellers and insisted he should resign because of them.
At the time this was a minor controversy, and no more. Ross said in a radio interview that one societal change he would like to see is a tougher crackdown on travellers. That came in response to problems people had been having with them in his Moray constituency.
Any controversial element in this would have passed most people by. People have been complaining about itinerant, defiant and often abusive travellers in Inverness and elsewhere in the Highlands for years. In some instances they settled in an area of town for weeks on end, turning it into a no-go cesspit and driving local resident half mad. They received thoroughly hostile treatment in the local papers and people were choking with relief when they left, leaving a thoroughly grisly scenario behind them.
To prevent them taking over areas of the Bught Park, council officials had the cleverly simple idea of blocking it off with heavy boulders. And they haven’t been back since.
That’s the reality. But the SNP don’t deal in reality, and any realities that don’t suit them don’t exist.
So they single Douglas Ross out for calling for a crackdown on travellers when so many other people were calling for exactly the same.
But in the eyes of the nationalists this falls within their ever widening sphere of discrimination. Never mind the problems travellers actually cause whenever and wherever they decide to take over a place of their choosing, under the SNP they are the victims rather than the tormented residents they impose on.
But the SNP see discrimination all around. LBQTI, BLM, the endless dispute about transgender rights and self identification, which the SNP favours and would allow men who identified as women access to female changing rooms. Hate Crimes Humza has a long list of groups which would be protected from “hate speech” – ie criticism – right down to any heedrum hodrum scepticism about the enforced bureaucratic spread of Gaelic to areas where it is never spoken.
Only one group remains free to be abused by all and sundry among SNP/nationalists. That is, Conservative voters, just ordinary people who happen to disagree with them politically and want to remain in the United Kindgom. Traitors, betrayers, fake Scots, Tory scum, anything goes when it comes to abusing these folk.
However, what goes around comes around. And if given the choice to become neighbours with an encampment of itinerant travellers or a roving encampment of nationalist zealots, I’d take the travellers every time. Problems would no doubt arise, but at least you could probably get at least some sense out of them.