This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

The Scottish Conservative manifesto declares on "page one, line one" – mirroring its main rival the SNP's – that a vote for the party "in key seats is a vote to move Scotland on from the SNP's divisive independence obsession and get the focus onto five areas".

The promises are "cutting your tax", "repairing the roads", "ending long NHS waits", "restoring our schools" and "making Scotland safer".

Let's list each in turn before looking at the rationale behind the Conservative strategy of focusing on Holyrood issues.

Cutting Tax

A central pledge by the party is to scrap the intermediate rate of income tax in Scotland (a power held in Holyrood).

The tax rate – which sees Scots pay 21p in the pound on earning between £26,562 and £43,662 – should be reduced by 1p, the party has said, returning it to the same rate as other parts of the UK.

Speaking at the launch of the manifesto, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the tax cut would be an "immediate priority" and claimed it would save the majority of taxpayers in Scotland £171 per year.

Making Scotland Safer

The manifesto promises to put 1000 extra police officers onto Scotland's streets and "introduce longer sentences for dangerous criminals".

Ending Long NHS waits

The Scottish Conservatives are promising to recruit 1000 extra GPs, deliver faster access to GP and hospital appointments and "eradicate" patient backlogs.

Restoring our Schools

The manifesto states: "We will improve Scotland's education system through backing teachers to teach and increasing subject choice".

Repairing the Roads

The manifesto makes a pledge to upgrade major and local roads across Scotland – including the A9, A96, A1, A90, A83, A77 and A75.

All five policies sit under Holyrood's remit despite the election being for the UK parliament.

In one sense it seems a rather strange strategy, making the campaign about devolved matters when the fight is over which party will best represent Scottish voters at Westminster where policies on, for example, defence and foreign affairs, employment law, broadcasting and immigration are determined.

But for the Conservatives in Scotland the approach could be an effective one. The SNP is the main challenger in each of the six Tory held Westminster seats across the north east and south of Scotland.

For the Tories the strongest way of attacking the SNP relate to that party's record in government since 2007.

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UnspunNeil Mackay: What happens if – or rather when – the SNP lose at the general election

Political experts and commentators may correctly point out that the main policies put forward by the Scottish Conservatives in their manifesto can't actually be delivered by Tory MPs as they are devolved but the party has seized on what they believe are their main rival's weaknesses, long NHS waiting lists, poor public services and higher taxes.

But the Conservatives argument is that by focusing on the constitution the SNP has neglected to run devolved services well.

However, outwith the five Scottish Conservative pledges there are areas of the Conservative manifesto that do come under Westminster powers, namely the constitution and energy policy.

Opposition to independence and support for the oil and gas industry are mainstays that run through the 72-page document and focused heavily in both the speeches of the Prime Minister and Douglas Ross as they addressed supporters, candidates and journalists in Edinburgh this morning.

(Image: Getty)
Mr Sunak declared that voting for the Conservatives rather than the SNP would put the issue of independence "to bed" and said only the Scottish Conservatives have the "courage to stand up to the nationalists".

He said: "A vote for the Scottish Conservatives is a vote to put this issue to bed, to move past these tired and stale arguments and to go forward united and together."

Both men were keen to stress that in their view only the Tories promised to "stand full square behind Scotland’s North Sea oil and gas industry".

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"Our North Sea industry isn’t safe with Labour" said Mr Sunak, while Mr Ross made a similar attack in his speech.

"Unlike Labour and the SNP – who would crash the economy of the North East and put 100,000 Scottish jobs at risk by opposing new investment – we are unwavering in our support for new licences and new investment to secure the industry’s future.

"We know that delivering net zero tomorrow is reliant on a strong energy sector today – in which oil and gas has an important role."

The PM and Mr Ross have both struggled in their respective campaigns north and south of the Border. Polls suggest a likely heavy if not historic defeat to Labour across the UK.

For Mr Ross, who will be standing down as Scottish Conservative leader after the election,  holding onto the party's six seats the party won in Scotland in 2019 will in comparison represent a successful result.