By Tim Montgomerie
In America, if you want to stand for office you have to stand in a state in which you have deep roots. People born in California run in California. The same is largely true in Australia. I'd be interested in readers' observations about the tradition in other countries.
There are big exceptions to this rule. Hillary Clinton's successful bid to become a Senator for New York was the most recent and most high profile example of "carpet-bagging".
I was thinking about this as I reflected on the relentless decline of the Scottish Tories. For four general elections in a row Scotland has returned one or no Tory MP. The party received just 13.9% of the vote in last week's Holyrood elections.
How different would things have been if Liam Fox (now representing a seat in Somerset), Michael Gove (Surrey), Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Kensington after losing twice in Edinburgh) and other Scottish Tories had had to find their seats north of the border? The Scottish Party would have been a completely different beast.
I don't propose regional restrictions on the candidates' list but if we are looking for explanations of why Scotland is in the grip of the SNP, northern England is increasingly Labour territory and southern England is so Conservative I think we should consider the huge, decades-long transfer of our best talents into our most winnable territories.