WE need to talk about Ruth Davidson. On Thursday evening, I stood in a biting cold wind in Glasgow's George Square among hundreds of men and women who'd turned out at short notice to protest against the Tories' "rape clause".

Time and again, with each speaker, the same name came up. Only a short time earlier, Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson had finally released a statement, in her own words, backing the Tory Government's rape clause – a ruling which means that women who need to claim child tax credits for a third child must be able to prove that the child was conceived as a result of rape.

It followed mounting social media pressure to make her position clear after she initially hid behind a statement from a spokesperson.

So there I was, among protesters furious about the Tory Government's benefit cap and its repercussions for women who have already been bearing the brunt of austerity and who now face further cruel punishment.

Cries of "shame on her" rang out from the crowd, and it occurred to me that it was the first time I'd heard that. Davidson has enjoyed an easy ride in Scottish politics thus far. She is savvy when it comes to PR, and she has managed to carve an image for the Scottish Conservatives around herself and her pally Ruth persona.

At the age of 31, I've grown up in an era in Scotland where the Tories have never been a serious proposition. In post-Thatcher times, there was acceptance in my generation that the Tories had little serious support in Scotland.

But following the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, the Tories in Scotland have made gains on the Unionist side of the vote while still managing to keep some distance between perceptions of themselves and the UK Tories. Many were slow to catch up on that shift, and while much focus remained on a collapsing Scottish Labour Party whose influence with the voters was decimated by its irrelevance on the constitutional question, the Tories managed to build themselves as the opposition to the SNP Government with little scrutiny in comparison.

At some point, however, with such a growing profile, it was bound to be tested. The rape clause has become the first big challenge to Davidson, and she has not emerged from it well, to put it lightly.

Rather, the issue has shone a light on the hollow nature of Davidson's rhetoric. An apparently strong and formidable politician, she has an astonishing track record of deference to the Westminster Tories. For example, billed as one of the strong Remain voices during the debate in 2016, and even taking part in some of the most high-profile debates on the EU referendum, Davidson has since fallen straight into the line of the hard-Brexit Theresa May Government despite Scotland's 62 per cent vote in favour of staying in the EU.

Meanwhile, the Tories north of the Border have upped the rhetoric of the "divisiveness" of the Scottish constitutional question. Davidson's tone has been increasingly aggressive: she notably snapped at First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to "sit down" during a recent debate on the issue in the Scottish Parliament and prompted a telling off from fellow unionist and leader of the plummeting Scottish Labour Party, Kezia Dugdale. Call me cynical, but one wonders whether the tone is intended to drag the debate down to a level which justifies Davidson's claims of division, and one which aims to drive a truly nationalist wedge into a debate in Scotland which has surprised much of the rest of the world in its internationalist tone.

As Scots prepared to rally against the rape clause on Thursday night, Davidson was retweeting a news article about backing a campaign to honour inspiring women in Edinburgh with a statue, further highlighting the walking contradiction that she has become.

As MP Mhairi Black said at the protest in Glasgow, gender counts for nothing if women are happy to pull the ladder up behind them, and in this sense Davidson's actions put her on a par with Tory PM Margaret Thatcher.

Achieving power as a woman is not a success for women overall unless that power is utilised to right the wrongs that they face. Make no mistake, the Tory rape clause is barbaric and perpetuates a growing modern war on women. To back it is symbolic of a fundamental view of the world, and it is a selfish one.

As I stood in the crowd, I wondered how any woman could sleep at night knowing they were complicit in the demonisation of women that exists in the roots of this inhumane Tory action. The substance of Ruth Davidson’s character has been revealed by this policy, and I fear it is only the beginning.