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Scottish Tories stuck at 1997 levels of support

The very good news from the YouGov/Telegraph poll of Scotland is that support for independence is declining.  57% now oppose breaking up the UK and just 29% support doing so.

The much less good news is that the Scottish Tories remain stuck at 1997 levels of support (hat tip to Peter Hoskin for pointing that out). That's despite good work done by Annabel Goldie and other Tory MSPs in, for example, forcing the minority SNP government to put more money into policing and drug rehabilitation.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Iain Martin is depressed about the Scottish Tories' performance:

"They’re getting absolutely nowhere, slowly. More than 12 years after they were wiped out in 1997, and 10 years since the launch of devolution (which they thought might enable them to rebuild) they are stuck down on 18%. The findings will trouble David Cameron, who has attempted to make great play of his Unionist credentials. But with a Labour government in trouble, and a fresh-faced Tory leader,  the best his Scottish wing can manage is 18%. Remember, in what will likely be a closely fought election campaign, every seat counts. For context: Thatcher secured 31% of the vote in Scotland in the 1979 election that brought her to power. Her party had 22 Scottish seats. Now it has one. On 18% it’ll be lucky to do any better than that."

Camerongoldie2 My guess is that we might pick up a handful of extra seats but it is a great shame that draft plans to give the Scottish party independence from the rest of the Conservative Party were shelved when mooted in April 2007. A separate Scottish Unionist Party (we debated various names at the time) could have developed a more distinctly Scottish identity and its own policies.  It is clear that 'the Cameron effect' - so transformational in England and Wales - has not reached north of the border.

It's now too close to a General Election to revisit the 'CDU/CSU model' but I think it's still worth reviving before the next Holyrood elections.

Tim Montgomerie


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