HERE are some recent headlines in the Scottish press: Marine Le Pen won the French presidential election with a stunning 34 per cent of the popular vote; Rangers won the Scottish League by coming third behind Celtic; A wee ginger dug who writes a column for The Nation had an amazing jackpot lottery win when he managed to get one winning number in a line; Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives won last week’s Scottish local elections.

It’s bad enough when our partisan media rewrites the past. We’ve got used to self-serving counter-factual interpretations of history from the Unionist parties – like when we’re told that Scotland should suck up Brexit because we knew in 2014 when the country voted against independence that Britain was likely to have a referendum on leaving the EU and to vote to leave.

This rewriting of history conveniently overlooks what really happened, such as the remarks of Ruth Davidson herself who assured the country in a debate during the independence referendum campaign that it was vanishingly unlikely that her party would be returned with a majority in 2015’s General Election. And even if it was, no one expected that England and Wales would vote to leave the EU. But it’s now an established alternative fact of the Unionist establishment that Scotland’s electorate were, uniquely amongst the peoples of the world, blessed with the ability to foretell the future.

Which does beg the question of why I’ve still failed to win the lottery jackpot. If what the Unionists asserted was true, then Scotland wouldn’t need the Barnett Formula or the oil, we could fund all our public services with our massive gambling wins and would have a booming export trade in tarot card readings. The mystic dug is currently predicting that Theresa May will end up more unpopular in Scotland than Margaret Thatcher.

Content with their ability to rewrite recent history, and convinced as they are that the Scottish public has a memory span that makes a goldfish seem like one of those prodigies who can recite Pi to one million places, the Scottish Unionists and their media fanboys and girls have embarked on a radical new step. Now they’re trying to rewrite the present and tell us that something different is happening even when we can see reality unfolding before our very eyes, and so we’re told that the Conservatives were the real winners of an election in which they came a very distant second.

We were told that the SNP had lost seven seats and the only winners were the Tories, who made massive gains. The loss of seven seats was touted by the BBC, who mumbled over the small print that the SNP had only lost seven seats in this year’s council election compared to the results of an entirely imaginary notional election that only ever took place on a spreadsheet in a BBC office. This is how, in Scottish Unionist arithmetic, the number of seats that the SNP won in this election 431, is really a smaller number than the number of seats that they won in the previous council elections, which was 425. So the Tories really won the election because 431 is seven less than 425 and a humungous number less than the 276 that the Conservatives won.

What really happened was that the SNP won. In the actual, real election that took place and not the one that only happened in the imagination of someone at Pacific Quay, the SNP won six more seats compared to last time. They really made some modest gains compared to their performance in the previous council elections, nothing dramatic to be sure, but gains nevertheless. Thursday’s vote was in fact the SNP’s best performance ever in a Scottish local authority election. Achieving your best result ever is a pretty peculiar definition of a blow for Nicola Sturgeon.

The Tories did do well. No one is disputing that. What’s being disputed is how they made their gains. The Conservatives and their media supporters would have us believe that the Tory advances were made at the expense of the SNP and that the doughty Ruth with her propensity for cheeky photo ops has reversed the nationalist tide.

This narrative conveniently overlooks the collapse of the Labour Party. The Tory gains came almost entirely at the expense of Scotland’s other main Unionist party.

The Tories have taken over from Labour as the second largest party in Scottish local government, but whereas in 2012’s election Labour ended up marginally behind the SNP, the Tories are still miles behind them.

What happened in the council elections was that the Unionist vote realigned itself. There was a new arrangement of deckchairs around the Unionist bandstand, but there are still no more chairs than there were before. The Conservatives fought a campaign on one issue and on one issue only, saying no to a second referendum, but despite that they only ended up with a paltry 22.5 per cent of the seats in a rigorously proportional election. For all the crowing in the Unionist press, Scotland said no to the Tories.

Scotland has another chance to say no to the Tories in June’s General Election. June is May’s Me, Myself, I election. She’s made it all about herself. This is an election in which we are called upon to give Theresa May a blank cheque to interpret Brexit however she pleases, and to interpret the devolution settlement in any way she likes. Theresa May and her little Scottish helper want Scotland to say no to a second referendum, but refuse to tell us what we’d be saying yes to, other than putting all our faith and trust in a Prime Minister who doesn’t trust the people enough to tell us what her plans are.

Barring something catastrophic, the SNP is likely to end up as by far and away the largest party in June’s election, but it’s likely that due to the realignment of the Unionist vote the Tories may very well make some gains. You don’t need the ability to foretell the future to know that the Scottish Unionist media will be telling us on June 9 that the Conservatives are the real winners of the election in Scotland. But what will really have happened is that Labour will have been replaced as the bastion of the Union by the Tories, and that makes independence more likely, not less likely.