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Malcolm, yes we should target the Scots Nats voters: they might be voting Nat because of Labour's dominance, might be a bit romantic about Braveheart but there doesn't seem to be a firmness about their vote. Protest votes went to Nats & LDs because of Tory unpopularity (and English PMs? - Heath, Thatcher & Major afeter Macmillan & Hume)

Now we've given them a good Anglo-Scots alternative, Eton educated but a Cameron after all! D*** there go the MacDonald votes.

Jaz

Your right. Welcome to the new world of tactical voting.

Cameron and Macdonalds were almost always on the same side.The clan that is most hated in the west highlands are the Campbells.(Glencoe,the '45 etc)Looking at a certain Alastair my sympathies are with the Mcdonalds,Camerons etc.

"Welcome to the new world of tactical voting."

Tactical voting has always been overrated, people don't actually want Tory MPs in many English areas, but because of the now collapsing labour vote and just general migration to libdems we have and will get more MP's.

In Scotland, I do believe people actually want Libdems to become MP's.

I think you are confusing the Camerons with the Campbells there, Ted. To the best of my knowledge, the MacDonalds have no axe to grind with the Camerons... ;o)

Oops

I should have remembered that the Camerons only sins are those of a normal youthful experience.

"should we target the Scots Nats?" Yes.

I think Ted's approach is right:

Asked Graeme Archer earlier if a truly separate Scots Party in federation with the Conservative Party in England for UK election purposes (CDU/CSU) would be the answer in Scotland or is that defeatist?

We cannot simply write-off Scotland but the Tories have become 'the English party' and therefore simply irrelevant and unelectable. I think a new party, with a new name should be formed, that doesn't even have the name 'Conservative' in it, but allies with the CP in Westminster.

To correct possible misunderstandings:

I would love us to be a truly national party with nationwide popularity. But we aren't. It's as simple as that.

The Labour Government has changed the constitution of this country (wrongly, in my view) such that Scottish politics is an entirely different electoral battlefield. And we are basically spectators.

The good news is that you don't need Scottish MPs to form a government - especially after the boundary revisions at the next election.

All our efforts should be on England, the largest nation in the UK, where we have a real chance of destroying Liberals in the South, West & Midlands, maybe pick up a few urban seats from Labour in the North, and wipe the floor in London.

This is a real possibility. We have a leader now who has the right profile to carry it off.

Once again, Scotland is irrelevant. And I'm truly sorry about that, because I genuinely love the place.

Alan: we cannot simply cede Scotland to the socialists, if only to preserve the Union.

So, what's wrong with the Conservative Party abandoning Scotland and locals setting up a new center-right party, to be called "Scottish Party" or something, whose MPs, if any, would behave vis-a-vis the CUP in the same way that the UUP used to?

If the Scottish don't want to vote for a right-wing party then changing the name of the Scottish Tories won't do much. even if we accept we can't win in Scotland we should at least aim to get as many seats as possible.

From what I hear the result and campaign seems to have been strongly affected by purely local concerns, about things such as the proposal to quadruple tolls on the Forth Road Bridge for example. Since 1997 Scottish politics have become clearly distinct from national politics in general - if you visit, and read the local press, listen to the local radio and television you'll find that Westminster politics hardly gets a look in. I think the people with most cause for alarm are the SNP because this was a seat they should have done well in if they were seen as the main opposition to Labour.

The Conservative Party has been dying in Scotland for a very long time. In 1979, when the rest of the country swung sharply Scotland did not shift and in fact saw Labour win Cathcart. In 1992 the same pattern only more so. The historic strength of the party in Scotland was because, as well as getting middle class and rural votes, it had a strong working class vote in West Scotland for sectarian reasons. They were the 'orange' party. This stopped between 1959 and 1964 (as it also did in Liverpool). The best bet is indeed to wind it up and create a new right of centre party. The best name would be 'Progressive' which is the label Scots Tories used in Local Government elections.

I'm depressed I have to say this to a) fellow Tories & b) fellow countrymen, but ................ what result are you 'cut-Scotland-adrift/Scotland-doesn't-matter' brigade expecting at the next UK general election? A walk over English Conservative victory? Or so much more likely, something very, very, very tight? In which case, what exactly is the argument again for us not being concerned with winning 5, 6 or 20 seats in Scotland?

"I think this would be unwise, because it gives no regard to why they underperformed the swing. Some factors that come into play, that are by-and-large out of the hands of the candidate:

1. How strong is the local association? Is there any infighting? Is the membership low? Are the local members unwilling to help?

2. Did the seat outperform the average last time? Less room for improvement if so...

3. How strong is the opposition campaign? Is the sitting MP popular? Are they standing down? Is there a strong third-party candidate?" - Cllr Iain Lindley

You make some good points Iain. However, there will be many people vying for a place on the A-list – far more people than there are places. In such a situation where there is a higher demand for places than there is supply, what do you do? As you say, the reason a candidate might do badly, is because of other issues than the candidate can personally affect. However, there has to be some cut off point for candidates who perform badly, regardless of the reasons?

And also, Iain, you are usually so polite and well mannered. There was no reason to be rude in your first posting reply – you have to leave the abusive and derogative posts down to people such as myself.

On the Scottish list
- I don't want to cut Scotland adrift but with 5 out of 6 people in Scotland voting for left wing parties (or at least left of centre) I was asking Scots bloggers whether the Conservative brand in Scotland was damaged beyond recovery - is it so associated with England that a truly Scots centre-right party, with its own leadership and policies at Scotland level but in federation with the Conservative Party for Westminster elections was a solution.

Reasoning on that was that until the party has a strong base in local and Scots institutions I cannot see a recovery at UK election level. Would a Scots Progressive Party or such do better - be perceived as a Scots voice?

Key fact - with less than a handful of Scottish and Welsh MPs, the Conservatives would need to win more than 60% of the English seats to have an overall majority. That is why an electoral renaissance in those countries are vital.

"On another point, I thought that the new Lib Dem MP gave a truly appalling acceptance speech. If you ever win a close contest, it is a good idea to show a little graciousness afterwards."

Indeed, but it is not surprising since this Winnie twit has been a Lib Dem elections organiser, and nasty, spiteful and vengeful are words that can be used to describe Lib Dem election campaigns.

The Conservatives will only ever get a maximum of 6-8 seats in Scotland I think. Campaigns in the future should be targeted at those in the rural areas of Scotland like the borders, and those semi-urban parts to appeal to those who will give us a genuine thought when casting their vote. I'm sure campaigning in England on fairness re. Barnett formula etc. would go down quite well. Let the rest of Scotland sink in the socialist, leftist hellhole it is.

I agree with the view that a Con-Lab marginal in England might have seen a different result.

Would it have also been different if it had been a Lab-Con marginal in Scotland, like Dumfries and Galloway or (stretching things) Renfrewshire East? Admittedly there aren't many of those anymore in Scotland...

EU Serf is right - winning is going to take a long, hard slog.

I think we've got to face up to the fact that most Scottish people have a bit of a grudge against the English for various reasons, and since the Conservative party is regarded as the most overtly English of the political parties, most Scottish voters would rather do anything than vote Conservative.

This being the case, it wouldn't surprise me if the majority of the 2,702 people who voted Conservative in this by-election were in fact English people currently living in Dunfermline, rather than native Scots.

Unfortunately, Scotland now seems to be something of a graveyard for the Conservative party, which is quite surprising given the fact that Scotland was so pro-Tory in the 1950s.

Sorry but I care that Glasgow and much of Central Scotland is mismanaged - I'd like to see a centre-right party (preferably the Conservatives) do something to improve the lives of my fellow citizens. It cannot be done at a UK level any more but only by strong representation in Scots government.

I also believe that unless we do represent Welsh & Scots seats the English Nat tendency (already present quite strongly) in this so-called unionist party will become dominant. I agree with no Scots votes for English laws but not with breaking up the UK.

The David Cameron denial of conservatism strategy does have the advantage that it can be abandoned later on at a time of his own choosing.

Voters in my opinion are unlikely to get excited by the 'conservatives are not much different to liberals/labour' approach. Brand differentiation, USP's are the ingredients for success in most brand battles. Pepsi never sold much fizz by claiming to be Coke number 2.

Originally Pepsi was sold as a cure for dyspepsia. Later on it's been soft sold as a fashion statement. The Consevative message too could be sold as a cure for our broken society - if the Cameron soft sell falls on deaf ears. We still have the option.

Surely, we can win Lib Dem voters by pretdening to be Lib Dems? Can't we?

The Lib-Dems have 2 campaigning tactics:

1. they portray themselves as 'the only alternative' - it's either 'Labour can't win here' or 'Tories can't win here'

2. they pick local people and play up the personal connection to the area.

It's a strategy that demonstrably works very well and the result is that 'safe seats' can suddenly become very unsafe. The votes tell it all: Labour and Conservative imposed candidates: their votes declined.

We need a better selection process where decisions are made by a panel which truly represents the electoral demography. They should have a choice of excellent CCO candidates but also local ones.

We have got to make winning our first priority and assess every policy and strategic change against whether it helps us to win or whether it is just image-building.

Excellent comment, Griffin!


You shouldn't write anywhere off. Look how the Canadian Conservatives came back in Quebec, which was even worse territory for them than Scotland is for us.

I agree with Sean Fear, Giffin Lorimer and, er, as it happens, Selsdon. (short intermission while smelling salts and reviving glass of whisky are rushed to the keyboard)

We simply can't write off Scotland as an unwinnable "socialist hell-hole" or whatever the phrase was from a few posts back. I seem to remember people saying once that there were too many trade unionists for a Tory Govmt to ever get away with trade union reform. Recovery in Scotland is essential to recovery throughout the UK - our collapse north of the border should have been seen as a harbinger of what came later.

I'd be reluctant to categorise Scotch/Scottish/North British politics using the perspective of southern England. For instance, Nigel Smith the chairman of Scotland Forward (the Yes Campaign in the referendum) is hardly a foaming-mouthed Maoist, as his later chairmanship of the anti-euro campaign indicates. There must be a reason why the land of such giants as Adam Smith and our own dear Selsdon has stopped voting Tory. What is it?

Once a political party starts writing-off whole swathes of voters, they start returning the favour.

There was an attempt at building an alternative centre-right party around 2003 called the People's Alliance (site here but currently under..ahem..construction). I think they were looking to capitalise on the turmoil of the IDS period but ultimately seemed to come to nothing.

Incidentally, I can heartily recommend Carol Craig's Scots Crisis of Confidence to answer some of the questions above about why the Tory party ceases to make waves in Scotland.

If we are to abandon those parts of the country where a majority across a nation or region vote for the left, where does the logic cease to apply? If we do it by country, then we certainly shouldn't waste our time on Scotland or Wales, we should perhaps only concentrate on England. For that matter, we only have 1 seat in the North East, so we should retreat to Yorkshire, although we only have 9 seats there, so perhaps a little further? North-west anyone? Oh no, only 9 seats there. Further down? West Midlands only 16. Ah, further south, at last, back to heartland territory. That'll do nicely. This strategy is brilliant, we can focus our resources on the seats we will win anyway and pile up more votes, it'll save money on the battle bus fuel bills and we certainly won't need a helicopter. We don't have to worry about all those troublesome bits of the UK that disagree with our analysis (such as it is) and we can concentrate on building a really effective opposition. Actually, come to think of it, we only have 21 seats in London, should we evacuate from there as well?

"There was an attempt at building an alternative centre-right party around 2003 called the People's Alliance (site here but currently under..ahem..construction). I think they were looking to capitalise on the turmoil of the IDS period but ultimately seemed to come to nothing."

I think you'll find that the Scottish People's Alliance actually metamorphosed into the New Party.

"Indeed, but it is not surprising since this Winnie twit has been a Lib Dem elections organiser, and nasty, spiteful and vengeful are words that can be used to describe Lib Dem election campaigns."

Downright deceitful is another description that can be used.

Witness the duplicity regarding the Forth Bridge road toll - the Liberal Demoprat campaign in Dunfermline and Other Bit played the anti-toll card quite strongly. And yet which party is it that holds the Transport portfolio in the Scottish Executive? (Hint: it's not Labour, Conservative, SNP, SSP or Green.)

Thanks DVA for reminding me that the People's Alliance live on - a web link here for anyone who is interested.

Interesting to note the coalition fall-out of Dunfermline that was played out in the Sunday papers this weekend.

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