OH dear. Theresa May’s speech to the Tory Party conference was so bad I almost felt sorry for her – the surest sign she is not long for this political world.

Prime ministers can weather all sorts of storms, but surviving a torrent of pity is rare, especially in the Tory Party. Not even the sight of Thatcher in tears deterred the grey men when they reckoned the Iron Lady had become a liability. In the dog-eats-dog world of the Tory Party, a wounded leader quickly becomes toast. So the only thing stopping May from being toppled right now by Tory grandees is an even greater fear of leadership by Boris or of (whisper it) Jeremy Corbyn.

READ MORE: Theresa May’s 'nightmare' speech prompts Tory panic and silence from Europe

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What went so wrong with her speech? Well, there was no disciplining Boris, no real mention of Brexit and not the slightest concession that Tory austerity is responsible for much of the misery in Britain today. True, there was a moment of bold social comment when comedian Simon Brodkin ran up to the podium and handed the startled PM a P45. True, there was unscripted mirth when the “F” in the slogan behind her fell off – one Twitter wag commented; “even the “F” has had enough of this shitshow and decided to uck off.”

Oh yes. And there was coughing.

A persistent, nervous cough all but brought May’s speech to a standstill. Indeed, the longest, warmest applause from the Tory faithful, who’d queued for 90 minutes to hear her, was not for their leader’s big announcements – an extra £2 billion for social housing went completely unnoticed, and news of a cap on energy prices and tuition fees in England were too heavily trailed beforehand to prompt more than polite applause.

READ MORE: Theresa May's speech was so appallingly bad she could be gone in days

No, the longest, heartiest applause for Theresa May took place during her uncontrollable bursts of coughing, which were probably set off by nerves and certainly exacerbated by the unexpected arrival of her mock P45. After a while, it was impossible to hear what she was saying as her voice broke, croaked and cracked. She tried to clear her throat between every other sentence but thanks to an audio engineer who left her microphone faded up throughout each coughing attack, and the absence of a hot drink or precautionary throat lozenge (I never approach a podium without a pack of Strepsils) the coughing just didn’t get any better.

But actually, the PM was lucky she had a sympathy-inducing health problem to distract from a completely lacklustre speech that was going down like a dead balloon, even before her first splutter.

Demonstrating she learned nothing from her General Election humiliation, May’s make-or-break leader’s speech started with the same wooden sloganising that inspired a thousand unflattering cartoon sketches of her speaking style just four short months back.

Working her way through a toe-curling series of confused, semi-autobiographical stories, it became clear that “strong and stable” had merely been replaced with the equally wooden “that’s what I’m in this for” and “it’s the right thing to do”.

It seemed strange that May didn’t realise her uninspiring, non-spontaneous delivery was what helped her lose. In an awkward mea culpa moment, she admitted the last campaign was “too scripted” and apologised. But, having identified the problem, she seemed unable to stop repeating it.

A wooden style and constant coughing were, however, the least of the Prime Minister’s problems in what had been trailed as a final opportunity for her to stamp her authority on a divided cabinet and demoralised party.

The incoherence, double standards and policy vacuum at the heart of her speech were undoubtedly more important.

For the majority of Scots who heard Jeremy Corbyn last week and look forward to an equally strong speech by Nicola Sturgeon next week, for folk who live on this planet and not Theresa’s “British Dream”, her address was a collection of empty and almost offensively dishonest assertions.

Listening to a Tory Prime Minister praising Britain’s free healthcare is difficult.

Listening to her claim to be in politics so victims like the Grenfell Tower survivors can have a strong independent voice, is very difficult.

Listening to her jubilant announcement of a new mental health review was almost too much. Does it ever occur to the well-heeled Prime Minister that much of the stress, family tension, despair and hopelessness in British society is generated by her own government’s cruel, judgmental and unfit for purpose benefits and taxation system? Strangely though, it was the section on housing that almost made me switch the radio off. It might seem like good news to have an extra £2 billion spent on social housing in England – but the trouble is, it will probably only help the relatively well-off, once again not the very poorest people.

Why? Well, the Tories’ housing record is absolutely abominable.

The number of new government-funded houses built for social rent in England each year has plummeted by a whopping 97 per cent since the Conservatives took office in 2010.

Over the same period the total number of genuinely affordable homes built with government money has more than halved.

Ironically, 120,000 social homes were lost between 2012 and 2016 alone, with many converted into “affordable” homes which are marketed at higher rents for families who would normally expect to be able to buy – if there had not been a financial collapse, negative equity and a chronic housing shortage which has pushed up prices.

So, instead of providing socially rented homes for vulnerable families at around 50 per cent of market value, Theresa May’s Government has prioritised so-called “affordable” homes whose rents are up to 80 per cent of market value. Needless to say, these rents are not genuinely affordable for people on low and middle incomes.

The result is calamitous.

According to the Chartered Institute of Housing nearly 250,000 social homes will be lost by 2020.

And although the right to buy legislation, which removed hundreds of thousands of affordable homes, has been axed in Scotland, it lives on south of the Border, where social housing stock sales will actually accelerate thanks to the Housing and Planning Act, passed by Theresa May’s Government last year.

That legislation extends the Right to Buy, which previously applied only to council-owned properties, to homes owned by housing associations, meaning a further 800,000 properties will now be eligible to be sold off.

And the Prime Minister has the nerve to suggest she is presiding over some kind of housing revolution?

Finally, of course, amid all the coughing, Theresa May declared herself to be a proud Unionist, happy that the last election “left the case for a second independence referendum in Scotland denied”.

What interesting logic. Losing some seats somehow negates the SNP’s manifesto commitments – even though they remain Holyrood’s largest party – but losing a lot of seats doesn’t negate anything the Tories stand for.

Nonetheless, May’s speech and recent political developments do present Nicola Sturgeon with some immediate challenges.

In her own leader’s speech at the SNP conference on Tuesday, she must have the verve and passion of Jeremy Corbyn despite being in government, not opposition.

She must demonstrate that the vast majority of his “radical” ideas have already been enacted in Scotland or cannot be because the relevant powers remain in Westminster.

Nicola Sturgeon must be ready to respond to the likely declaration of an independent republic in Catalonia this weekend and the restiveness that creates among Scots eager to follow suit.

Theresa May might be toast but the ripples from her disastrous speech may change our political landscape completely – and quickly.

So all eyes will be on the SNP leader next week to see how she responds – because after today’s lame performance by the British Prime Minister, Scotland, and perhaps the whole of Britain, is ready to hear some real leadership.