DOUGLAS Ross was putting it mildly when he said Boris Johnson has an “uphill task” in Scotland.
Survey after survey and protest after protest have shown that the Tory Prime Minister is about as popular as the poll tax.
Just last week, research showed Scots are four times more likely to trust Nicola Sturgeon’s government than Johnson’s to work for their interests.
WATCH: Boris Johnson can’t explain why Scots trust Holyrood over Westminster
Ross is the man with the unenviable task of trying to pretend that Scots don’t think his boss is a clown.
He was asked at a fringe event at the virtual Conservative Party conference if the PM’s outlook “played” in Scotland.
He replied: “His approval ratings would suggest he’s got an uphill challenge to convince more and more Scots.”
Johnson does supposedly have one thing going in his favour, however.
“But he is a proud Unionist, he believes in the strength of the four nations of the United Kingdom,” Ross claimed.
Boris Johnson: I’m not to blame for surge in support for Scottish independence
Is that so?
We took a trip down memory lane to see what the Tory Prime Minister really believes about the Union.
In 2001, Johnson told “free-riding” Scots exactly what he thinks about their newly established legislative powers.
He wrote in the Telegraph: “Devolution is causing all the strains that its opponents predicted, and in allowing the Scots to make their own laws, while free-riding on English taxpayers, it is simply unjust. The time will come when the Scots will discover that their personal care for the elderly is too expensive, and they will come, cap in hand to Uncle Sugar in London. And when they do, I propose that we tell them to hop it…”
Eight years on, it seems Johnson was still fuming about Scots being able to have limited control over their own affairs.
“I do think it pretty monstrous that you get free care for the elderly in Scotland and no tuition fees when you still get considerable subsidies from the rest of the UK,” the then-London mayor said. His team also gave a warning of what’s to come were he ever, by some sick twist of fate, put in charge of the UK.
“I do think it pretty monstrous that you get free care for the elderly in Scotland and no tuition fees when you still get considerable subsidies from the rest of the UK”
@BorisJohnson in 2009 on Scottish funding settlement – which his team say will “not change” if he’s PM pic.twitter.com/OzSrn80kod
— Glenn Campbell (@GlennBBC) July 5, 2019
Three years later, Johnson stopped being so coy about the issue. “A pound spent in Croydon is far more of value to the country than a pound spent in Strathclyde,” the future Prime Minister stated.
In 2014, Johnson was fuming that Scotland wasn’t having its funding cut. He attacked David Cameron for making a “reckless promise” not to slash Barnett consequentials.
“I’m very keen on a Barnett formula which does justice to Barnet with one T [Barnet in north London],” Johnson said. “We can’t just go on with a system that even Joel Barnett himself thinks is outdated.”
For a top Unionist, Boris Johnson doesn’t seem to be very fond of the Union. Douglas Ross may want to consider that next time he’s asked about his boss.