Ruth Davidson is the new leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. She beat off her rival, Murdo Fraser, by 566 votes and certainly surprised some who voted in this poll.
Ms Davidson was reported as being the favoured candidate of the Westminster Tory leadership, although she only managed to acquire the support of two MSPs - in contrast to Murdo Fraser who garnered support from seven of his parliamentary colleagues.
The only tory MP in Scotland, David Mundell, who avidly supported Ms Davidson at every opportunity, said:
The members want change? Maybe, but they'll certainly not get it with Ruth Davidson in charge. By electing Ms Davidson they know there will be no change. During her campaign she was articulate and quick witted but she offered little other than a 'fresh face' to the near demise of her party.
Is David Mundell, with his 'not a toff' remark, suggesting Annabel Goldie and previous tory leaders were toffs? Ruth Davidson may not be a toff in David Mundell's eyes but when I discovered she'd used - and presumably paid for - one of Edinburgh's elite restaurants to make her first leader's speech on Friday, I was convinced she's toffier than 90% of the Scottish population.
I've attending meetings where Murdo Fraser has been speaking and he's certainly not a toff. He may have the character of a plodding politician but he is aware that many of his grassroots supporters now vote SNP. Why? Because they want change; mainly in the form of separation from London.
Robbie Dinwoodie reports part of Ms Davidson's acceptance speech, in the Herald:
“With the radical, generational change that I represent, this is a unique opportunity for us to rebuild the party and to once again become a powerful, meaningful and relevant force in Scottish politics and in Scottish life,” said Ms Davidson.
Radical, generational change? A little too much gilding of the lilly there, but then Ms Davidson is an ex-BBC employee. Generational change is natural and certainly not radical, particularly when she intends to stick with old policies and has nothing new to offer.
The only hope for the Scottish tories was Murdo Fraser's intention of creating a new party. Many would say he was foolish to expose his thinking during the campaign and if he'd stuck with the 'party line' he would have been a shoo-in. However, he disagrees and insists 'the principle was everything'. Will Murdo Fraser be encouraged to break away and establish his own right of centre party? He really has nothing to lose because SCUP will continue slowly dying and he would have time to establish his party before the next Holyrood elections. I don't know the man well enough to suggest that he would have the courage to do so, but I do know that many tories in this area, who now vote SNP, would be anxious to support him.
The tories missed a trick not electing Murdo Fraser. Not only was he the hope of Scottish centre-right voters but he was the only candidate who would have brought back SNP-voting tories to the fold, so the SNP will be very content with the result. His ideas were radical but seemingly too radical for over half of the two-thirds of members who voted. With fully half of the tory Holyrood group backing him he may surprise the Scottish political scene yet.
(The photograph is from the Herald. It's rather too evangelical for my tastes).