Brian Monteith is a former Conservative MSP whose new book, The Bully State: The End of Tolerance was recently published by The Free Society and is available to buy via Amazon.
Recently I had a book published, my second in fact. Now there’s nothing especially remarkable about this except for the different reaction the two books have elicited from readers. Both books are political. The first looks at how our overweening government takes too much of our hard-earned money while the second considers how politicians have given up on the nanny state and have created a more malevolent and malicious bully state instead.
The first book by definition, being limited to Scottish political economy and declaring the moral case for lower taxes there, spoke to a relatively small market. It would be fair to say that its reach beyond natural conservatives and liberals of the old Joe Grimond school was fairly limited. While its arguments are still relevant to today’s economic and constitutional questions most people that liked it were already in the same camp as me.
Not so with my latest offering The Bully State: The End of Tolerance. It is provoking an entirely different reaction. I am receiving some very nice compliments from people who are not, and in many cases have never been, Conservative supporters. It is the mothers and spouses of friends, the politically uninterested, the work acquaintances that don’t care to talk politics who are sending texts saying they are my number one fan (how scary and embarrassing at the same time), or how can they order a dozen copies for Christmas presents (go to Amazon!) or that I would make a better First Minister than the present incumbent (flattering, but Scotland’s more likely to qualify for a World Cup!).
I don’t reveal any of this to hype myself up. I now work in Trinidad and have no political ambitions other than to continue arguing for the open society I believe in. I raise the point that non-conservatives are agreeing with what I’ve written simply to illustrate what I think is a gaping void in the Conservative strategy for the next general election, the silence on what will be done about the overbearing politically correct bully state.