IT’S just too easy to laugh at Douglas Ross. Not that laughing at him is in any way unfair.

He deserves Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to be lined with folk, six deep, pointing and laughing at him every day he wends his sorry way to Holyrood where he ostensibly "leads" the Scottish Conservative Party.

Laughing at Ross is a natural reaction for any halfway sane human being. When Channel 5 next airs one of those Britain’s Best Comedy Sketches compilations, an image of Ross just staring vacantly into space should be up there alongside Del Boy falling through the bar, Basil Fawlty beating hell out of his car, and "Don’t tell him, Pike!" from Dad’s Army.

Indeed, some have seen similarities between Captain Mainwaring and Ross: a Pooterish silly jumped-up man with zero talent and confidence far above his abilities. A more fitting comparison, though, is a character from Lewis Carroll: an absurd living metaphor for political hypocrisy and how the talentless endlessly fall upwards in Toryland.

You can almost imagine Carroll putting pen to paper and writing: "'How many back-to-front and upside-down and topsy-turvy thoughts can you think today?’ the Mad Hatter asked his new playmate Douglas Ross."

For Ross can believe so many back-to-front things that when he looks in the mirror he must see the rear of his head. He’s the flip-flop king. He’s got more flip-flops than a Benidorm beach. You see; it actually is too easy to rip the proverbial out of Ross. The gags write themselves.

Here’s the problem with just laughing at Ross, though: it means you forget what a moral vacuum he is. He’s a man utterly devoid of principles. He’s shameless. And in truth, his shamelessness reveals his complete disrespect for the Scottish people. He actually thinks we’re dumb enough to buy the embarrassing nonsense he spouts in return for his enormous taxpayer-funded salary. We pay him to take us for fools – when he’s the biggest fool north of Carlisle. Lady Irony is having a field day with this one.

Throats of the poor

It’s almost redundant to recount how pitifully ridiculous Ross has behaved of late. If you missed it, you must care as little about Scottish politics as I do about football. But here’s a brief recap in case you’ve been Rip Van Winkling somewhere.

So, after Kwasi Kwarteng’s truly insane "fiscal event", a set of policies so mean and hard-hearted they’d make Scrooge blush and the Sheriff of Nottingham wince, Ross came trotting out – like an ad-man who long ago sold his soul – drooling over tax cuts for the rich, and said the Scottish Government should “match these bold plans”. In other words, Nicola Sturgeon should help Liz Truss slit the throats of the poor.

Ross listened to what his master and mistress said, then bounded after them like a good dog fetching a dirty stick, regardless of Scotland’s interests. His rah-rahing lasted precisely until Kwarteng and Truss, amid near-universal outrage, U-turned on their plan to abolish the top rate of income tax. Then, of course, Ross told us that Kwarteng had made the “right decision”. Good old, Kwasi. When Kwasi says up is down, Ross believes up is down; but when up suddenly becomes up again, and down down, why, Ross amazingly sees the world in a whole new way. For that he must get many pats on his obedient head.

Pure-blooded pedigree flip-flopper

Lizzie and Kwasi U-turn and flip-flip and – hoopla! – there he goes, sure as sunrise, Ross is U-turning and flip-flopping like a snake having a seizure. But the poor lad is only doing what comes naturally. He’s a pure-blooded pedigree flip-flopper, after all.

Ross previously said of Boris Johnson during Partygate: “I don’t think he can continue as leader.” Then, though, as Johnson’s fortunes turned momentarily more favourable due to the Ukraine War, he withdrew his letter of no-confidence. “The Government and Prime Minister need our backing, and they have mine,” he said. Later, after the Sue Gray report was published, he said: “The Prime Minister doesn’t have my unqualified support.” When asked if he’d reverse his position when the war ended, he agreed.

Eh? I mean, follow that, if you can. It’s like trying to do a quadratic equation on a rollercoaster.

Inadequacy syndrome

But Ross isn’t just weaselly and self-serving, someone following where he thinks the wind blows best and to hell with consistency or principles, he’s also one of the most cringeworthy specimens at Holyrood – and that’s saying something.

During the Queen’s Edinburgh memorial service, Ross was accused of “extraordinarily petty” behaviour. It’s almost too toe-curling to put these words on paper, but here goes: he’s said to have whinged about the seating order, complaining that the Greens' Lorna Slater was closer to Nicola Sturgeon than he was at the service. Aw, diddums didn’t get close to the big important lady. To calm baby, leaders rearranged themselves in order of party size. Ross then reportedly asked to swap his order of service – because there was a smudge on it – with Slater as she’s a republican. The adult obliged. Talk about inadequacy syndrome. Get a grip, fella.

Ross is thoroughly without the character required to sit in parliament, let alone lead a party. The thing is, though, he’s perfectly suited to the Through the Looking Glass World Tories currently inhabit. The party is in its death spiral. Everything it touches now turns to ash, and it’s tearing itself to bloody ribbons in front of the nation. It’s morally repugnant, deluded, rudderless, petty, sadistic, without empathy, and filled with gloating charlatans who think only of their careers rather than the people. Hell mend the Scottish Tories if they believe sticking with Ross serves them well.

Truss will be gone sooner rather than later, and you can bet your last penny – and it might really be your last penny if Kwasi has his way - that Ross will manage to make an utter galoot of himself over that too. But remember – don’t laugh when that happens. He’s not funny. He’s a moral vacuum … and nature abhors a vacuum.

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