Leslie Clark is a final year History student at the University of Aberdeen and was President of the University of Aberdeen Conservative and Unionist Association. Leslie seeks to solve the West Lothian Question recently examined by Ken Clarke’s Democracy Task Force, the problems of the Scottish Tories and the unfairness of the Barnett Formula by advocating Scottish independence.
Margaret Thatcher once remarked that “Conservatives are and always have been, British Nationalists.” Although the Iron Lady did many great things, in this instance, I wish to challenge her. The Scottish Conservatives have paid a high political price for the rigid Unionism espoused over the past few decades. Opposing devolution and the imposition of the Poll Tax are two cases in point. The view that ‘the Union is not for turning’ should no longer be sacrosanct. The Scottish Conservatives should not fear an independent Scotland. Indeed, we should embrace it.
The current poll ratings for the Scottish Conservatives defy sense, especially since they are the only centre-right party in Scotland. It is perplexing not to find Cameron’s softer brand of Conservatism – in contrast to the abrasive nature of what preceded it – being more conducive to the Scottish electorate. The Cameronian revolution is in full swing in England but there is sheer indolence north of the border. This suggests that the problem lies not in ideology but image. The Conservatives still suffer from the myth that they are an anti-Scottish bunch. One way of countering this may be to become fully fledged ‘Tartan Tories’.