IT’S not just that I disagree with the Conservative Party on most issues under the sun – I’m happy with healthy political disagreement if I respect the people I’m disagreeing with – it’s the rank, two-faced, double-dealing, phoniness and hypocrisy which I can’t stand.

From big issues to small issues, there’s a fork-tongued duplicity about the Tories which just morally offends. This isn’t a party political swipe at the Conservatives, incidentally; I’m not cheerleading for any other party here. I hold them all pretty much in contempt – each has their own unappealing flaws: the pointlessness of the Scottish LibDems, the self-lacerating bunker-mentality of Richard Leonard’s Scottish Labour, and the increasingly creepy strain of social control coupled with cliquey Blairite managerialism in the SNP, not to mention the endless shady game of hokey-cokey the party plays around a second referendum. But the Tories? They’re in a league all their own.

Margaret Thatcher, from the moment she walked into the job of Prime Minister, said one thing and did the other. On the steps of Downing Street in 1979, she’d the temerity to quote St Francis of Assisi. “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony … Where there is despair, may we bring hope.” Cue urban rioting and three million on the dole.

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But there’s no need for a history lesson when it comes to Tories and their canting dishonesty, just look at events over the last few days. Boris Johnson, we now know, is ready – with a Trumpian flourish – to tear up the EU Withdrawal Agreement. Johnson would have us believe that he’s the saviour of the UK. He loves our great, big, beautiful union. It’s so great. So beautiful. But by overriding the EU Withdrawal Agreement he’ll shred customs arrangements in Northern Ireland – throwing one of the four nations of Britain under the proverbial bus … again.

The EU Withdrawal Agreement prevents the return of a hard border in Ireland. Those with half a brain in their head are sick and tired of warning that messing with the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is a clear and present threat to peace. Border posts are like crack cocaine for dissident Republican paramilitaries – who are still very much out there, itching to return to violence.

Not only is the border a threat to peace, it’s obviously a threat to Johnson’s precious Union as well. Northern Ireland voted to stay in Europe. Ulster people want peace and prosperity - not Checkpoint Charlie. Johnson is paving the way to a united Ireland. While that may please many, myself included, it’s hardly the work of a man who claims he wants to keep the blessed union together. But then, as we know, most Tory members don’t give a damn about Northern Ireland or Scotland – 59% would rather see Northern Ireland break from the UK than risk Brexit, the number hits 63% when it comes to Scotland.

Self-evidently, a no-deal Brexit will put turbo thrusters under the case for independence. Everything Johnson does basically plays to independence. With a no-deal Brexit, watch the soft No voters – particularly in well-heeled urban areas – start another round of drift towards independence. Again, that’s not much of a worry for an independence supporter like me, but it’s hardly kind to the unionists of Scotland.

Johnson is the most phoney unionist who’s ever breathed. He only gives a damn about power. With polls turning against Johnson amid pandemic, it seems he’s decided that he needs to throw the red meat of a no-deal Brexit to his base to keep him in power – no matter the risk to peace in Ireland, or the Union with Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Johnson doesn’t even care about Brexit – he was ready to support remaining in the EU if he thought he could ride that wave to power. He is – as the saying goes today – thirsty. Thirsty for nothing but the emptiness of a power he’s unfit to wield.

At the risk of moving from the sublime (sublimely stupid and dangerous and selfish that is) to the ridiculous, another story over the last few days, this time about Ruth Davidson, underscores this theme of innate Tory hypocrisy.

Apparently, Davidson complained to the BBC after being referred to as "Baroness". Of course, the only problem here is that Davidson happily accepted a peerage earlier this year and will be pulling on her ermine and silly costume to join the Lords in 2021.

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Davidson likes to pose as a woman of the people, a different kind of Tory. She’s spoken of being “hopelessly conflicted over Brexit”, and criticised Johnson’s suspension of Parliament, but one can’t help wonder if that was more to do with the fact that Johnson repels most Scots and so imperilled her Holyrood ambitions. She’s also not part of the Johnson circle in the way she was with Cameron and May. Tories tend to get the stilettos out for their party rivals as quickly as a Florentine assassin in Renaissance Italy.

Of course, there’s an easy way not to look like a total hypocrite over a peerage. Take it and shut up. Or don’t take it. It might also help the Scottish Tories if their actual leader sat in Holyrood. It shows a rather careless attitude towards Scottish governance that Davidson leads in Edinburgh, while "overall leader" Douglas Ross sits in Westminster. And given that we’re discussing hypocrisy – that’s the same Douglas Ross who said he’d vote against allowing imports of chlorinated chicken even though he failed three times to support a ban.

The Tories are even preparing to sell out the red wall of traditional Labour working class voters it won in 2019. While billionaires in Britain have seen profits soar during pandemic, the Treasury under Rishi Sunak – the new wonderboy, Conservative cheerleaders tell us – is getting ready to scrap plans to increase the minimum wage.

I’m not dissing all Tories here. There’s been Tory politicians I’ve respected over the years, despite my fundamental disagreement with their politics – Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine, Anna Soubry and Annie Wells to name a few. I know plenty of Tory voters and they’re good friends and honest folk. The problem for me is, I just can’t understand why such decent people would waste their time with such an indecent party.

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