Ruth Davidson is the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives after its members narrowly rejected her main opponent’s plan to disband and start a new right-wing party.
The 32-year-old former BBC journalist edged out Murdo Fraser by only 566 votes in the bad-tempered contest after he argued the Tory brand was too mistrusted north of the Border for the party ever to succeed.
But Miss Davidson, who is openly gay and a kick boxer, said she will unite the deeply-divided party and attract new support from sections of Scottish society that have stopped listening to the Conservatives.
I honestly think the Scottish Tories have made a huge mistake here. I know there are a good number of people in the SNP who are centre right, but believe in Scottish independence. A new centre right party, in favour of independence and separate from the English Tory party could have had a significant vote in Scotland. Remember it's only 50 years since Scotland voted overwhelmingly Tory, helped to be fair, by the anti-Catholic and therefore anti-Labour vote of the Protestant majority. The Tory party in Scotland's full title is the 'Conservative and Unionist party' and I think that tells you all about their members. It doesn't say much for the other two candidates that they didn't do better, when a lesbian, martial arts boxer won the contest.
But, what does Ruth Davidson bring to the party? She's 32 and this is her first time as a MSP. Does she have the power base to be able to rule competently? Or is she a stopgap for someone else? As a former TV journalist, she appears to have some grasp of the issues at stake, but has she ever worked for anyone other than the BBC? I don't know, but my guess would be that, she will not be as nearly as effective as Ms Goldie, who for all her matronly appearance, was, as we in the West of Scotland, say, 'a nippy sweetie'!