STRONG and stable is the mantra, dysfunctional and deluded the reality under a Tory Government that’s falling apart. Brexit policy changes day to day, the position differing depending on which Minister speaks and backbenchers only allow Theresa May to remain in office out of fear of something worse.

But, where are the Scottish Tories in all of this? The sight of the Prime Minister rolling out the red carpet and holding hands with President Trump was skin crawling, but that of the Secretary of State for Scotland awaiting his arrival at Prestwick truly pathetic – standing forlornly on the runway, giving the impression that he was something for the President to walk over or shine his shoes on, Looking as if he’d even volunteer to be a human tee on his golf course, if only asked.

Such, though, is the status and influence of the Scottish Tories. The DUP demand and get billions for Ulster, yet the Scottish Tories seek nothing for Scotland and are rewarded in kind. Claims about having won reimbursement for military personnel on higher Scottish tax rates are pitiful and will cut no ice with Scots. The vast majority of service personnel given the hierarchy of the forces will be better off being based here, never mind the fact that no compensation will be given to those sent to serve in Aldershot or Portsmouth and who’ll face a tax hike. If anything was meant to reinforce an image that they care about the officer class not the rank and file, then this is it.

The problem for Scottish garrison towns isn’t the increase in tax for senior ranks but the devastation caused by MoD cuts. The closure or reduction in size has hugely impacted on areas with no recompense being offered whatsoever. Never mind they were shamefully silent as the brave personnel they rightly laud were sent to combat zones ill protected or even buying their own equipment. One hundred years on it's still lions led by donkeys.

As the economy faces carnage from a no-deal Brexit and society is blighted by tragic early mortality rates, this is surely evidence of the Tories fiddling while Scotland burns. To have had the opportunity to seek concessions and extract benefits yet fail to do so is truly negligent. To stand idly by as a crisis looms and fail to support sensible efforts to tackle drug deaths or mitigate poverty is totally shameful.

Deluded Brexiters continue with their bellicose rhetoric ignoring the reality of increasing tensions in Northern Ireland and a deteriorating global situation, whilst trashing our common home and economic ties with Europe. It’s not the UK that faces becoming a “vassal state” but the Scottish Tories who live in “vassalage”. That they even accept the rhetoric of language from the Plantagenets in the first place shows their irrelevance to modern Scotland.

It’s all so different from the halcyon days when the Scottish Tories could supposedly do no wrong and the relationship was close. Ruth Davidson wasn’t just the conference darling but a close confidante of David Cameron. They were back from oblivion, reinvigorated by their defence of the Union in the independence referendum. Scotland was wanted in Westminster and Ruth Davidson even sat in the Cabinet.

To be fair it worked, she changed the perception of the party, her common touch and even her sexuality a breath of fresh air from a party seen as blue rinse ladies and upper-class toffs. And it paid off electorally, becoming the official opposition at Holyrood and slaying nationalist big beasts a year later. She was even called upon to assist in the Brexit referendum and to her credit filleted the odious Boris Johnson.

It wasn’t enough, however, and the Brexit vote was lost, even if won comfortably in Scotland. Scottish Tories were hung on their own petard of an inclusive Union and where England went Scotland was duty bound to follow, and they supinely formed up in line. To be fair both she and they initially argued for sensible and coherent positions about access to the single market and alignment with the customs union. Cosy chats with Mr Cameron though supplanted by aloofness from Mrs May.

But, as the Tories have melted down in Westminster, the Scottish Tories have disappeared into oblivion. Hard Brexiters have driven on with their delusions, yet there appears to be no bottom line for the Tories in Scotland, no policy volte face a step too far and no humiliating retreat something that can’t be countenanced.

Whilst a few English Tories such as Anna Soubry have bravely and eloquently spoken out, the Scots have remained cravenly silent and Ruth Davidson has been almost invisible. Of course, there’s her pregnancy but this is fundamental to the party she leads and the country whose interest she says she represents. Some comment as crisis looms could be expected, but no.

It’s not just at the top of the party but throughout it that problems have arisen and the Teflon has come off. The new intake at Westminster has been found wanting not just that they’ve left Scotland to want. Some appear clueless like the lady who found voting in the Brexit referendum too difficult, my word what a confession, and others like the “mini-me BoJo” Ross Thomson, as duplicitous as his idol.

Elsewhere in the party councillors have been shown to be racist, misogynist or bigoted. Wrapping in the red white and blue has become synonymous with them, yet they should know better in a land with Orange walks and football-related disorder; coming even from senior members like Murdo Fraser who seems to be regressing into his Federation of Conservative Students days with tweets about the “Queen’s 11”. The booing of Ian Blackford during a speech commemorating Nelson Mandela by his Westminster Tory colleagues reminded us why even Michael Forsyth was forced to act.

There are good and decent people in the Conservative Party in Scotland, as south of the Border. Scottish Unionism has contributed greatly in forging modern Scotland, even if I disagree with the philosophy. But, this modern incarnation’s appearing brutish and nasty, without the decency of old. As Scotland faces the greatest crisis of my lifetime, its time for them to develop a spine, never mind be less supine.