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Which Scottish party leader do you think has the best taste in music? – Peter, Glasgow

I can’t speak with any authority on anyone’s taste in music. However, I would be willing to hazard a guess at each leader’s leanings. After all, you can read a lot from the language used by politicians: every sentence spoken is a hint at their secret desire to be in a band.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson strikes me as the kind of person who claims to have a good taste in music, but gets defensive and changes the subject when questioned about it. I’m guessing that her CD collection contains albums by Limp Bizkit, Creed and every annoying novelty single released since 1995. I have it on good authority that Willie Rennie has tickets to see Napalm Death at the Classic Grand this coming Saturday. The Scottish Liberal Democrat’s goofy demeanour is said to mask a predilection for guttural death metal screams, down-tuned guitars and brutal blast beats. You might not think it to look at him, but Willie Rennie is quite possibly the original crust punk metalhead from hell.

Although some Scottish Greens may associate with the vegetarian goregrind of Cattle Decapitation and the like, I would guess that Patrick Harvie is of gentler taste, preferring the temperate songmanship of Nick Drake and Townes Van Zandt. Although rumours persist that Harvie is in fact Michael Stipe of REM, he has strenuously denied this.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale’s taste in music is tougher to predict. At a push, I’d wager that Kezia enjoys intellectually tinged rock ’n’ roll, such as that of Television, Patti Smith and The Fall, while absolutely hating The Proclaimers for their support of Scottish independence.

Nicola Sturgeon, as we all know, is forever one leather jacket away from transforming into Suzi Quatro – and her taste in music is likely to be every bit as cheesy. Think Bay City Rollers, Showaddywaddy, Right Said Fred and you probably get half the picture. A night at the jukebox with Sturgeon would never be dull.

Based on my predictions, I reckon that every party leader has a decent taste in music with the possible exception of Ruth Davidson. You might think that this is another example of anti-Tory bias – and you might be right – but I really don’t think Tories are capable of having good taste in anything.


If anything, it’s the Tories who are making a cult of things

Are Scots really being “bullied” and “hectored” into supporting the SNP? – Hector, Edinburgh

Ruth Davidson’s recent allegation that Scottish citizens are being hassled into supporting the SNP is the latest in an ever-growing line of bizarre statements from the Scottish Conservative leader. Not content with supporting the Westminster Tories in defending the rape clause and removing benefits from the disabled, ruthless Ruth is now attempting to perpetuate the myth that a cult-like status surrounds the SNP.

While it is certainly the case that the SNP support is sometimes reminiscent of a Partick Thistle home crowd (albeit with larger numbers), any likening to a cult should be greeted only with derision and laughter. After all, it does suit Ruth’s agenda to belittle the SNP and their enduring popularity. What Ruth perhaps doesn’t realise is that she’s insulting a sizeable percentage of the electorate when making these statements.

I am not a member of the SNP or any other party. However, I’d be inclined to suggest that the SNP’s tendency to use hopeful rhetoric and peaceful campaigning is less akin to cultish behaviour than the fearful language and populist pomposity often utilised by the Tories. Cults thrive on the propagation of fear. While I would never be so foolish as to accuse the Tories of being a cult, I do think that Ruth should’ve given more thought to the meanings of the words she used before commenting publicly. Perhaps no-one is ever really free in life, but it is my belief that Scottish citizens have the freedom to vote in Scottish and UK elections without being absorbed into cults. This might not be true of those already signed up to Orange Lodges, but if anything these groups and individuals are on Ruth’s side, not that of the SNP.

Furthermore, the Tories have recently had to suspend a councillor for telling a schoolgirl to “fuck off”, another was caught running an offensive Twitter account, and even more have been rumbled for posting bigoted remarks online. The Conservatives are certainly not in a position to lecture anyone on bullying – from their policies to their people they are far worse than anything the SNP has to offer. Much of the Tories’ bad behaviour is seemingly forgiven purely in the name of “patriotism”. If you ask me, that sounds exactly like the sort of twisted mentality Davidson is accusing others of having. Without a doubt, Ruth should think twice before repeating accusations of tribalism.

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