TOMORROW Scotland along with the rest of the UK goes to the polls in a vanity election called by Theresa May purely in order to strengthen her position within the Conservative party and to give her a majority in the House of Commons which can’t be threatened by a Tory backbench revolt. Despite calling this election for her own selfish reasons, even though she’d previously stated repeatedly that she wouldn’t call an election until 2020, despite making this election all about giving her a personal mandate and turning it into the closest thing to a presidential election that the UK has ever seen, Theresa May has hidden away from the public and has refused to debate other party leaders.

Theresa May struggles with the basic concept of democracy, she fears dissent, she runs from questioning. She doesn’t grasp the importance of opposition and thinks that a parliament in which there are parties which don’t support her is a weakness. Theresa May doesn’t want an election, she arrogantly demands a coronation. The only person in this election campaign that Theresa May has debated with on TV is her husband on the sofa of The One Show. It’s one thing to hold set-piece events away from scrutiny when you enjoy a crushing majority in the polls. It’s quite another when the polls have narrowed to the point where some predict that you might lose your majority. It comes across as arrogant and entitled and taking the public for granted, and that shows us Theresa May’s true character. This is not a person who is fit to run a medium-sized branch of a discount supermarket, never mind a country.

This is an election she’s fought in front of a gaggle of Tory activists waving placards captured in a tight TV camera focus so that the public don’t see that no-one else is present while she repeats robotic soundbites with all the human warmth of an abandoned mattress covered in suspicious stains. Tomorrow we get to vote on whether we trust an evasive and authoritarian woman who refuses to explain herself to the people from whom she demands absolute obedience. Tomorrow we get to vote on whether we want to be led into an act of epic self-harm by a woman whose plan for Brexit consists of pretending that walking away without a deal isn’t the worst deal of all. It’s like saying that you’re not happy that an operation on your seriously ill pet cat won’t actually give it superpowers so you’re just going to let it die instead. Theresa May’s plan for Brexit was summed up by the giant image of her in a Union flag frock giving two fingers to Europe that was erected on the White Cliffs near Dover.

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Theresa May wants us to judge her on her record. She’s standing on a record of cruelty, of ripping away support from the disabled, the weak, the vulnerable. She’s standing on a record of undermining low-paid families and demanding that a woman with three children prove one was born as a result of rape in order to receive financial support for all of them. She’s standing on a record of impoverishing the poor and enriching the wealthy. She’s standing on a record of preaching strength and security while she clashes police numbers. She sucks up to Trump and sells arms to dictators while making us less safe at home.

There’s a concrete example of how Theresa May makes us less safe in these uncertain and dangerous times right here in Scotland. Police Scotland, uniquely amongst the police forces of May’s precious Union, have to pay VAT. They have to pay VAT because of a decision made by the UK Treasury, a decision which Westminster has never deigned to explain or justify. Over the three years in which they’ve been in existence Police Scotland has coughed up £76.5 million in VAT payments to a Westminster government that claims it’s the strongest and toughest on public safety and security. The money that Police Scotland has lost in unnecessary VAT payments is equivalent to the salaries of more than 1000 police officers over three years. Theresa May preaches that she’s the strongest on security, but she’s making Scotland and the UK a less safe place.

She was warned by serving police officers that her cuts to police numbers put national security at risk, but she did it anyway. Things need to change, she said, in a scathing indictment against whoever it was who was in charge of policing and anti-terrorism strategy over the past seven years, hoping that no one will notice that it was her. She cut police budgets by 18 per cent. There are more than 500 fewer specialist armed police than there were when May became Home Secretary. Police numbers in England and Wales fell by over 20,000 on May’s watch and yet now she’s trying to make out that she’s the best person to keep Britain safe. Asked about the reduction in police numbers, she refused to answer. This Tory election campaign is the epitome of the politics of stupid.

On Monday, when Theresa May made her flying visit to address a wee group of Tory fanboys and girls, she hid away with Ruth Davidson in a dark warehouse in Edinburgh in the worst remake of Cagney and Lacey ever. It’s hard to put on a decent police show when you’ve cut the budgets to the bone. Ruth introduced Theresa by shouting Make Britain Great Again, as though it hasn’t been the Tories who’ve been in charge of the UK this entire decade, making it worse. It’s a slogan she’d cheerfully ripped off from Donald Trump, a man she’d described as a “whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch”, and which was then picked up by Ukip. So we know exactly where Ruth and Theresa are going to lead us.

Theresa was asked if she’d remove the need to pay VAT from Police Scotland, an action which would at a stroke deal with the financial shortfall the force faces, a shortfall currently running at some £25 million annually. That shortfall has to be made up by cuts elsewhere in the Scottish budget. Theresa refused to answer the question. Now there’s a surprise.

The only consistency with Theresa May is the consistent way in which she dodges questions. Instead she preferred to score cheap points about the SNP. If now is not the time that we’ll get a direct answer from Theresa May, now that she’s courting our votes and our support, then we never will. That’s what’s in store for Scotland, and for everyone who opposes the Conservatives, in Theresa May’s Britain — we will be silenced, marginalised and ignored. Vote for the Tories, and you’re voting to make yourself irrelevant.