REMARKABLY, the LibDem leadership race is still ongoing: approximately 15 years from when it first began. The Scottish Tories, in contrast, were admirably efficient in installing their new leader this week.

Coronations do tend to be quicker than contests but still, credit where it is due. They spared us weeks of flaccid debates and empty policy proposals and skipped straight to the good bit. Douglas Ross emerged victorious from the one-horse race and now his beleaguered party have a new leader to invigorate the membership and take the fight to the SNP.

Well, sort of. You could be forgiven for thinking that their new leader looks a lot like the old one. Ruth Davidson has temporarily unretired from front line politics. As well as becoming the stand-in for Mr Ross at FMQs, she’s also back on the telly, looking like she was actually the one who stole Jackson Carlaw’s crown.

It’s a bold move from a party that don’t have much wiggle room with the Scottish public. They’ve replaced one unrecognisable leader with a man equally unknown. Outside of the political bubble most people would struggle to name him. Or if they can, it’s not necessarily for the right reasons. “I think I recognise him from somewhere – is he that football guy who made that horrible comment about gypsy travellers?’’

Perhaps his relative anonymity is the reason Ms Davidson has been drafted in to help. They see her as a safe pair of hands and her experience of leading the party will make her a good ally for Mr Ross to have while he is at Westminster. Having said that, the prominence she been afforded this week is an odd way for a new leader to establish themselves. But then, this whole changing of the guard has been baffling.

With less than a year to go until the Holyrood elections the Scottish Tories have ruthlessly dispatched the middling, uninspiring – yet dependable – Jackson Carlaw for this chaotic leadership duo. With Mr Ross in the Commons and Ms Davidson in Holyrood (with one foot out the door on her way to the Lords) they have -for reasons only known to themselves - opted for a leadership tag team of sorts.

There must be a cunning strategy in there somewhere but it must be of a calibre far beyond the comprehension of mere mortals because I’ll be damned if I can work out what it is.

We now know a bit more about what provoked Mr Carlaw’s sudden resignation. If the dark murmurings are true, it appears that Ms Davidson’s hands were all over it. It was reported that Ms Davidson had met with Mr Ross in private a few days before Mr Carlaw came to the conclusion that he wasn’t the best man for the job. Or rather, when he was handed his jacket and firmly told told he wasn’t.

These things happen in politics. It’s a brutal business and the Tories are better than most at getting rid of leaders they are unhappy with. A new leader usually benefits from a honeymoon period where they command the airwaves and have a captive audience as they set their agenda.

The Scottish Tories will be hoping that the highlight reel from the first few days of Mr Ross’s leadership doesn’t set the tone for what’s to come.

In one of his first interviews as leader, he defended his decision to keep his second job as an assistant referee by explaining that he thinks it will be a good way to unwind from the intense pressure of being the leader of a political party.

We shouldn’t diminish what I’m sure is a very demanding and stressful role, but it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence does it? In the highly improbable event that Mr Ross ends up in Bute House he would be under immense pressure. His responsibilities would reach far beyond concerns about his MSPs drunk-tweeting or whether Ms Davidson is going to get too comfy in her new role.

He insists he can find time for both jobs but you have to wonder if that can really hold, if he is to be the kind of leader his party need right now.

Tories, both north and south are in panic mode about the polls in Scotland showing a majority support for independence. As their very own Adam Tomkins said: “For the first time in Scottish history, independence now looks like it might not be the minority pursuit that it’s always been, but the position of a majority of Scots.’’

The party have given their emphatic backing to Mr Ross as the person best placed to make the case for the crumbling Union. If he’s to become an authoritative voice in Scottish politics he’ll have to step out of Ruth Davidson’s shadow – however comforting it is to have a former leader by your side – and become somebody worth listening to.

We’ve been told we shouldn’t underestimate Mr Ross: that he is ambitious and determined when he sets his mind on something. If the break-neck speed at which he took over the party is anything to go by, there certainly seems to be some truth in that.

But the Scottish Tories need more than a simple refresh of their management team. Ahead of the Holyrood elections, they’ve got to broaden their message beyond the ‘’Say no to a second referendum’’ fag packet manifesto of recent years. If they have any hope of being taken seriously, their vision for Scotland will need to evolve into something with substance and credibility. They’ve got to do that under the stewardship of a new leader who already looks at risk of being upstaged by Ms Davidson. And while they’re at it: there’s the small matter of actually making a positive case for the Union, which they appear to have nothing new to say on.

The job-sharing set-up between Mr Ross and Ms Davidson will only reinforce the perception that the Scottish Tories are controlled by Westminster. When Holyrood returns from recess and the Sturgeon v Davidson show gets under way, Mr Ross will be hundreds of miles away, praying that his stand-in remembers to mention him by name. Worse still, the first time he faces Nicola Sturgeon in a debate will be during the Holyrood election. Which is a bit like taking one boxercise class and then getting into the ring with Muhammad Ali.

Although if this week is anything to go by, I wouldn’t be surprised if he phoned in sick and asked Ms Davidson to go in his place.

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