THIS is the och-I-cannae-be-bothered General Election. It was only called in the first place in order to give a personal mandate to a woman who is all ego and no credo. Theresa May tells us that this is the most important election in her lifetime. What she really means is that this is the most important election for her career. It’s certainly not the talk of the streets. Ask your average punter what they think about next week’s election and you’ll most likely be answered with a groan and a change of subject.

For Scotland, this is the Westminster General Election which returns us to the state we endured all throughout the 1980s and much of the 90s. The Tories are going to win in the rest of the UK and there’s nothing Scotland can do to stop them. We’re back to being powerless and marginalised. No wonder people don’t want to think about it.

For a party which claims to stand for the Union, the Tories are fighting a very different campaign in Scotland from their campaign in the rest of the country. Their recent party political broadcast didn’t mention Theresa May once. It didn’t mention Brexit at all. It certainly didn’t mention their plans for social care and their dementia tax, their creeping privatisation of the NHS, or even innovative jam. Instead it just banged on about the SNP. The SNP are, in case you hadn’t noticed, very, very bad. They are apparently responsible for all social ills, up to and including the Black Death and the Mongol Hordes.

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If your sole source of information was a Scottish Tory Party broadcast you could be forgiven for thinking that Nicola Sturgeon was the Prime Minister of the UK and it was the SNP which was responsible for the yawning gulf between rich and poor. You’d think it was the SNP which had created the impoverishment of the younger generations who, for the first time in the modern era, will earn less than their parents.

Watch a Scottish Conservative political broadcast and you’ll see the Tories shamelessly blame the SNP for all the ills created by the Tories. The only commodity that’s going to be more easily attainable after Brexit destroys international trade is the brass neck. You can hardly look at Ruth Davidson perched on top of that tank without being blinded by the glare from that brass neck of hers which is so carefully burnished by an uncritical fanboy media. In a recent article she was described as “ecumenical”. Well that’s me learned a new synonym for shouty.

The Tories aren’t really Unionists, they’re cynical opportunists. You’d think that if you were really a Unionist you’d talk about the things that Britain could do as a Union: you’d want to talk about exactly how you propose to turn Brexit into a benefit for a Scotland which rejected it. If you were a real Unionist you’d want to give concrete and specific examples of how Scotland is a better place for being a part of the Union you claim to defend. But there’s none of that from the Tories.

For the Tories the Union is an article of faith, while at the same time they condemn independence supporters for being a cult. The Union must be defended and never ever questioned. From the Tories there is no more a pretence that they support the Union because it’s better for Scotland than they support the Union because Scotland is better for the Union. The Tories stand for a Union of food banks, a Union of benefits sanctions, a Union of indebtedness, a Union of isolation, a Union of xenophobia.

The Scottish Tories know that they can’t win this General Election in Scotland. And they don’t care. They know that even if they manage to secure a dozen seats as some polls predict, they’ll still be a long way behind the SNP. And they don’t care. They know that even though they’re fighting this entire campaign on the basis of saying no to another referendum and, even though they’ll come a distant second, they don’t care. The SNP already have a mandate for another independence referendum. The Scottish Parliament has already voted to go ahead with another independence referendum. But the Tories don’t care. This election isn’t about securing a mandate in Scotland, it’s about subordinating Scotland to what the rest of the UK decides. This is the election in which Westminster tells Scotland that it doesn’t care. That’s the real Scottish Tory manifesto – vote for us, don’t vote for us, we don’t care because it makes no difference anyway. You’ll still get what we decide to give you.

The cynical opportunists of the Scottish Conservatives want Scotland to give them a blank cheque to submit us to the blank cheque that Theresa May is demanding from voters in England and Wales. The Tories aren’t called the nasty party for nothing. They stand on a platform of denying Scotland a say in what sort of country it wants to be. They’re the party of let’s not think about the future because there’s nothing we can do about it anyway. They’re the party of hopelessness and despair, the party of disempowerment and disdain. They’re the party of back to the 1950s, with its legitimisation of unspoken sectarianism and prejudice. They’re the party which says let’s not be nasty to gay people or ethnic minorities so that they can be reactionary too.

The Tories thrive on disengagement. They suck the lifeblood from politics by fostering apathy and resignation. They take a hatchet to hope and they assassinate aspiration. When working-class people look on the political process and despair, the Tories have won. That’s why this election is vital and important. It really is the most important election in Theresa May’s lifetime, but not in the sense that she meant. It’s the most important election because we need to do all we can to ensure that the Conservative vote is as small as possible. We need to turn out in numbers and defeat their cynicism, their lies, their mendacious twisting of the truth. We need to turn out to vote to demonstrate that hope still lives within us, that it won’t be crushed by the robotic soundbites of Theresa May and the contempt which she and her acolytes in Scotland have for Scottish democracy.