There is no doubt in my mind that, over the last 4 years, the serious opposition in parliament has been provided by the Tories, and by Annabel Goldie in particular. But despite Annabel's personal popularity, probably based on the fact that she did provide (largely) sensible opposition, the Tories lost more ground in May's general election.
In my opinion, and I mentioned this to Annabel when I met her, that loss was due to the fact that the UK government was now Tory led and unpopular. David Cameron and his cabinet of millionaire Englishmen has talked much, but not shown much, respect for Scotland.
So when Murdo promised a re-branding and a distancing from London, I thought this was an excellent idea, based on the fact that we NEED a good opposition; we certainly won't get that from Labour and the Liberals have all but ceased to exisit. I'd have wished him to go further, and not allow his London MPs to take the Tory whip, but it seemed to me to be at least a step in the right direction (if you'll pardon the pun).
From what I could make out he had the bulk of younger Tories as well as 6 MSPs, MPs as high profile as Malcolm Rifkind, the party's only MEP and a raft of councillors.
But it now appears that Cameron may want Ruth Davidson, a 33 year old, who has only just become an MSP at the last election, despite there only being 3 MSPs who have come out in favour of her candidacy. A party spin doctor is alleged to have helped her with her campaign, which may or may not be against the rules, and Ruth now appears to be the bookies favourite to win.
Ruth is a Cameroonian, through and through. She has suggested that his policies regarding schools and the NHS should be rolled out in Scotland, and now she has said that if she wins she will encourage Mr Cameron to make more appearances in Scotland and to send his ministers here more often. I think that suggests that Ruth hasn't really got her finger on the pulse of the public mood.
Oh well. All I can say to that is that Mr Salmond is almost certainly backing her now. He often used to say that every time Mrs Thatcher appeared in Scotland, SNP support soared. I don't know if the same thing can be said of Cameron and his ministers, but what I can say is that I have never met a Scot that didn't dislike him intensely, so I wouldn't be surprised. Michael Moore's recent suggestion that he will get the prime Minister and the Cabinet to come to Scotland to promote the union was met by a gale of laughter from us north of the border.
I suspect that Ms Davidson, should she win, will not hold the post for long and that eventually even the arch conservative Conservative, Michael Forsyth, who managed to reduce the Tory representation in London to 0, will come round to the idea that Scotland really doesn't want the London Tories and if there is to be any centre right party, it will have to be one that has as little to do with them as possible.
Pic: Ruth Davidson and David