« Cameron: Increase in US troops in Iraq "might be right approach" | Main | Fingerprint Events wins Party Conferences contract »


Brian's right but it says a lot about the state of the Party in Scotland that sensible establishment figures like Archie Stirling would give it a try. When will the Scottish Party accept the Cameron agenda and begin to promote him in Scotland? He is the first potentially popular leader since the early 90s and the Scottish Party seems determined to pretend he does not exist. The Party looks and feels the same as it did when IDS was Leader. A new Scottish Party Chairman is a must for a start. Its obvious poor Peter Duncan is out of his depth.

It is clear that the Scottish Conservatives are in a real mess. The number of unhelpful press stories they have generated over the last couple of years has been outstanding. What has also been outstanding is their total silence on the defence of the Union. In Scotland the Conservatives used to refer to themselves as the Unionists now they won't lift a finger to defend it.

While Brian Monteith may be right, his comments smack of arrogance and the Scottish Tories are certainly in no position to be arrogant.

There just seems to be no energy and no drive in the Scottish Tories. They look and sound dead. If their Membership was rapidly growing they would have told everyone.

Their Leader appears to have achieved her aim of getting the title and to be content to sit back and let events happen. Where is she?

Forming a new party will inevitably split the centre right vote and is very bad news.

There is no doubt that the Scottish Tories are completely rudderless under its present leadership which appears to have no vision or drive at all. This is remarkable given the great improvements (and success) that is happening in England.

One solution is to get rid of Annabel Goldie, however who would replace her? Would any of the other existing MSPs really make much of a difference. Certainly none of them fit the winning "Cameron model".

Like Brian Monteith I would agree that a new party will probably fail, just as the Scottish People's Alliance did in 2003. Admittedly they were a bit more barmy than Archie Stirling would appear to be!

The only real option is for root and branch change within the Scottish Tories. The chances of that happening are slim with the mega-conservative forces within the Scottish Tories. The chances of anything happening before the elections are negligible. So, once again we are facing electoral disaster when with the way the wind is blowing we should be seeing many more Tory MSPs.

This is the consequence of successive Conservative governments pursuing geographically divisive policies for the sake of European integration, which may possibly have been of net economic benefit to those parts of the country closest to the continent (and less dependent on traditional industries based on mineral deposits) but which has certainly been economically damaging elsewhere. No wonder left wing views hold sway in Scotland (and Wales, and large swathes of northern England) when the right has made itself unelectable, and now the United Kingdom itself is at risk through the serious economic and political imbalances which were allowed to develop. Maybe that was always part of the plan.

Denis, are you trying to pretend that Margaret Thatcher closed the mines and introduced the poll tax in Scotland because the EU told her to?

I'd be very suprised if Stirling is successful but he does seem a good chap and I would that Goldie and the rest of the Scottish leadership team will talk to him to work out areas of common interest.We have after all very little to lose!

The level of ignorance amongst some (presumably) southern-based contributors of Scottish politics is staggering. The 'Cameron effect' has not reached Scotland, but that is not a unique phenomenon - the fact is that wherever you are in the UK the further you go from London the less impact DC has had. There is frankly little to suggest that an enforced 'Cameron-isation' of the Scottish Tories would have a beneficial impact. Scotland is a socially conservative (note small 'c') society - bleating on about how good civil partnerships are is unlikely to win more Conservative votes, indeed quite the opposite as once Tory voters look elsewhere to alternatives on the Right such as this new party (although I would tend to agree with Brian Monteith that it is likely doomed before it starts) or even the SNP.

The Scottish Tory Party desperately needs to modernise, but not as a carbon-copy of what Cameron has done in London. It needs to tackle the key issue of Scottish identity which holds it back. That means Richard @ 09.41 NOT going back to banging on about the Union, which just turns people off, but developing a new distinct and pro-Scottish identity. That means embracing fiscal autonomy for Scotland and breaking away from the UK Party to be like the CSU in Bavaria and being seen to be a real Scottish Party putting Scottish interests first.

Cameron isn't helping this at all. Look at fishing - we had a distinct and very popoular policy to pull out of the CFP, and Cameron tore it up on taking office, leaving us open to ridicule at the hands of the SNP. Cameron - like so many English Tories - clearly doesn't understand Scotland. Sadly, he is more part of the problem than the solution. The future has to lie in the hands of the Scottish Tories themselves. But I fear that we will have to wait until after May before the revolution comes.

Adam, I haven't mentioned the poll tax, or one or two other cases where Scotland was used as an experimental test bed. On the other hand, on the economic side I haven't restricted it to coal because there was a set of industries, all originally based on mineral deposits and predominantly located in the north and west of the island, all of which were more or less wiped out while the south east corner was relatively unaffected. Just on coal, I don't know whether the EEC (as it then was) "told" Margaret Thatcher to shut down mines, any more than I know whether the EU "told" the present government to take its business away from post offices and cut back the network so that it would be more like the German system of post offices. Not being present at the numerous private meetings which take place between ministers, and especially officials, I can't say that I know these things unless they are publicly documented. It is known that even if the UK government wanted to slow the decline of these industries so that alternatives could be built up, it had already been agreed that it would only do so within the constraints of EEC/EC/EU rules. As I recall one such rule was that any change to subsidies for the coal industry could only be in a downwards direction, which meant that the UK government could not introduce subsidies because previously there were no subsidies, while the German government could continue to subsidise German coal mines at a high level and force more efficient British mines to close.

Boy Blue,

"Cameron doesn't understand Scotland", join the club. He doesn't understand England, Conservatism, the UK or the EU and the list goes on. You are not alone.

I wonder who told Mrs T, to import coal from Poland, then not in the EU (subsidised) and open cast coal from Australia, I don't think they were in the EU.

"The Scottish Tory Party ... needs to tackle the key issue of Scottish identity which holds it back. That means ... NOT going back to banging on about the Union, which just turns people off, but developing a new distinct and pro-Scottish identity. That means ... being seen to be a real Scottish Party putting Scottish interests first"

Believe it or not, Boy Blue, some of us southern-based contributors agree with you wholeheartedly.

Can't you give it a rest Derek Buxton?You make the same point again and again every time you post. It was rubbish the first time it's become very monotonous now.

Yet another party that appears to have been started by unhappy tories. These are people that should be natural conservative voters, yet the party in Scotland has let them, and frankly everyone else down. With appalling leadership, a Scottish Conservative Central Office that is run by a small clique of incompetents, a Shadow Scottish Secretary that is the object of derision by rank and file members, and a lack of talent in Holyrood, there is no wonder that people feel strongly enough to put their money and efforts into a rival party.

The Scottish Conservatives are absolutely doomed. We have no policies, a brutally weak leader who has no clue and a group of MSPs that range from old and past it to completely useless. It is embarrassing that Goldie is four months away from an election and the party has three policies and the word is she is imposable to get hold of to discuss policies. What an absolute embarrassment she is. The sooner she leaves the better as far as I, and many other members and supporters, are concerned.

The unfortunate thing is that there is no obvious replacement for her. McLetchie is by far the best leader the party could even hope for but is unwilling to touch the leadership position again. That leaves Murdo Fraser who is a fine politician but is lacking enough to be a good leader I feel but he is the best of a bad bunch.

DC could do with getting rid of Peter Duncan as well, how can a failed politician be put in charge of running an election?

As it stands I see very little point in voting Conservative in the Holyrood Election as no matter what rubbish we hear from Goldie about how the party can have an influence, there is very little chance that post May the party will have any say at all.

A few fawning sycophants aside, Cameron's dubious charm has yet to impress anybody beyond the M25.

There are some first-rate Tories in Scotland, Murdo Fraser being the obvious case in point. Unfortunately the party has suffered years of infighting led by a leftist clique which included a neumber of actual members of the far-left TRG. Remember the ludicrous thimble vendor who was one of the chief trouble-makers? I think he defected to the LibDems or SNP after causing enormous trouble.

The party has lost its mass memberhip and is really just another minor party. Luckily for the Scots Tories UKIP and BNP don't play north of the border or they would face even greater humiliation.

The first step towards any form of recovery is to shout loud and proud for unionism. I would also suggest that the Scots Tories look to the DUP for inspirAtion. Aformal link, ifpossible, would be a fantastic step.

It is because I know quite a lot about the "mood music" of the Scottish Party that I have never believed poster "Scotty's" ridiculous claim to be part of a thriving Cameron-inspired association somewhere in Ayrshire.

Ayrshire SW1 most likely.

Blue Boy

A new Scottish identity and fiscal autonomy yes I agree but but burning gays at the stake
probabaly wont help. A modern Scottish identity means Cameron like civilsed values as well as pride in our Scottish identity.
Banging on about fish and gays will turn as many people off as banging on about the union none stop. And that is the worry about
Murdo Fraser I am afraid.

A modern Scottish identity means Cameron like civilsed values as well as pride in our Scottish identity.

So what's the difference between Cameron-like civilsed (sic) values and Blair-like throoughly uncivilised values. Both appear to me to be the values of the bordello.

Brian Soutter of Stagecoach proved the truth about Scots attitudes to the North British equivalent of section whatever-it-was that a few nutters got so steamed up about.

Seems its you, Cardhouse and Blair who are out on a limb on that one. As for fish perhaps you should go to Peterhead (where my family came from originally) and tell them it doesn't matter.

I would put a lot more trust in the excellent and thoroughly sound Murdo Fraser than I would in some idiot who names himself after an Irish Nazi who ended his life dangling from the gallows.

The economic consensus from 1945 to 1975 was broken only when The Conservative and Unionist Party decided to follow it's instincts and offer the free market to the electorate in 1979.
Regarding the far more serious matter of the consensus on legislative devolution, it must be broken.
Legislative devolution must be repealed and Equal Representation of all 646 constituencies introduced.

"It is because I know quite a lot about the "mood music" of the Scottish Party that I have never believed poster "Scotty's" ridiculous claim to be part of a thriving Cameron-inspired association somewhere in Ayrshire.

Ayrshire SW1 most likely."

I will break my New Years resolution to answer this yet again, unprovoked attack on poster who had not even entered the debate on this thread.
I think your claim to know "about the "mood music" of the Scottish Party" is confined to a like minded clique of individuals who share your views.
You have no more idea about what is going in the mind of the Scottish voter than I suspect you do about the majority of Scottish conservative members!
You are so wild of the mark as to where there might be a few energised, well organised local Scottish conservative associations it is laughable.
And while you are posting attacks aimed purely at anyone who supports the leader of the Conservative party, when not aiming poisoned verbal darts at him personally I will be out delivering leaflets for my conservative candidates in the Scottish elections.
Peterhead eh, well the warm, laid back sense of humour of the people I have met from that area certainly don't seem to resemble your posts.

I agree that the left wing fighting led by Arthur Bell, now a Lib Dem, has caused a large number of problems for the Tories but currently the main problem surely lies in the fact that the party is further to the right than the national party, no?

Luckily for the Scots Tories UKIP and BNP don't play north of the border or they would face even greater humiliation.
They do, but they don't get much support in Scotland, UKIP possibly could though make a breakthrough among Unionists in Scotland, there is a small Scottish Unionist Party as well whose policies are very similar to those of the Ulster Unionist Party, in a vacuum either the SUP or UKIP could make a breakthrough - the SNP need a good kicking, maybe literally.

UKIP does manage to get some quite respectable votes in parts of the Scottish Lowlands, the Scottish Unionist Party has saved it's deposit in areas where the Orange Order have a number of members. The Highlands are very much dominated by the Liberal Democrats and the SNP. I imagine the Scottish Democrats will go the same way as The New Party did, rich businessman attempts to found new party not really based on any particular strand of opinion inside Scotland or trying to do something that is already being represented.

david @ 13:02 - true, and from Colombia as well. I should have said:

"This is the consequence of successive Conservative governments pursuing geographically divisive policies PARTLY for the sake of European integration ..."

Far from "banging on" about the Union, it seems to me that the Scottish Conservatives fight shy of mentioning it, even though the clear ground swell of support for Stirling shows it is a definite vote winner. Opinion polls indicate a clear majority of Scots oppose independence: why are the Scottish Conservatives not building on this?

I have long believed that the remaining niche in Scottish politics is for a right wing (socially rather than economically) nationalist party and that this is the niche for the Scottish Tories - Tartan Dukes and presbyterian crofters. It won't win Glasgow but it will get us back Perth and the lowlands.

editor - any plans for how to cover the scottish parliament elections?

I hear DC is getting all of his shadow cabinet up to Scotland at the end of January, I don't imagine it will have much effect to be honest, he must be so angry at how poor the Tory group is at the Scottish Parliament

Lord Haw haw,

By referring to 'Cameron like civilsied values' you rather betray your own prejudices.

If you can leave those aside for the moment, can you explain where is the economically conservative but socially liberal constituency in Scotland that you think the Scottish Tories can attract? I make the point again that Scotland is, whether you or I like it or not, a socially conservative country - witness the Section 28 'keep the Clause' Campaign which won us the Ayr by-election in 2001, and the uproar over gay adoption. Surely the Scottish Tories should be adopting a moderately socially conservative approach to attract these voters, not an extreme socially liberal stance which apes that taken by other Parties, will give us no electoral distinction or advantage, but will simply be out of touch with the voters.

Don't forget that Annabel Goldie came out strongly FOR gay adoption. All that seems to have done is annoy some of our core support who will be attracted by the likes of Stirling's new Party.

Leave out of the equation your own socially liberal outlook and think of the wider good.

And if its not to be Murdo Fraser, then who?

Well of course Goldie has her own personal reasons for supporting gay adoption.

I think Murdo Fraser is the best available. In an ideal world David McLetchie would come back and rescue the party as without doubt he is the best MSP that the group has but I doubt he would become leader again.

Look at the group of MSPs that there is. Ruling out some due to how old they are we are left with Margaret Mitchell who is frankly bonkers, Alex Johnstone who is stupid, Brownlee who is a bit young and Murdo Fraser. Everyone else in the group is too old for the position.

Murdo Fraser is really the only person that could be the next leader, the others in the group are either too old, lack experience or would be absolutely hopeless!

Murdo Fraser is really the only person that could be the next leader, the others in the group are either too old, lack experience or would be absolutely hopeless!

So much for party lists then.
Doesn't augur well for the A list does it?


The list is likely to bring in new MSPs that's for sure but surely a brand new MSP cannot straight away become leader. There is absolutely no way that Miss Goldie will remain leader after May due to how much of a terrible job she has done.

If we were A-listing the MSP candidates DC would be scrapping the barrel to position many, if any, on any a-list.


Blue Boy
My evidence for Scotland not waiting for a socially conservative alternative is there for anyone to see. New labour and Lib Dem MPS elected time and again in Tory seats. A Lesian MSP in Ed West for god sake!

As it happens I find the number of abortions and the assumption that anyone is entitled to a child quiet distastful. But this is a minority view.

A new Scottish dimension will help our recovery but adopting a socially conservative agenda will turn off equal numbers of voters. And not just in Edinburgh but in Eastwood, Aberdeen, and even Perth.

Cameron is not advocating some radical liberal agenda which is anti marriage. He is merely reflecting the views of the majority of people in England and Scotland on these matters.

Rubbish. There is no reason to believe that the silent majority of people throughout the entire nation do not share our traditional values on "social" issues.

You're falling for the BBC line, and forgetting that most of the radio and TV media are manipulated by the far-left.

Permissiveness has led to a a more brutal, crime-ridden society. We have a duty to present the alternative, particularly in Scotland where the Highlands and Islands in particular hold to an ultra-traditional view.

Edinburgh is not Scotland any more than London is England.


We need to win back seats in Edinburgh too. Why are the Highlands crammed full of Lib Dem MPs? Or is that a BBC conspiracy too?Following this approach will finish us off completely. There is no silent mayority in favour of this approach buy merely a vocal and cimmitted minority. That is no basis to build a recovery on.

"Why are the Highlands crammed full of Lib Dem MPs"

There are all sorts of reasons why people vote Lib Dem. They are often local reasons and have nothing to do with "gay rights"

These issues were never discussed by us until recently as they are totally irrelevant to our party. Conservatives do not believe in "group rights"

Do you seriously believe that the Tories were, say, 90% "socially conservative" before Cameron arrived and that they have then (nearly) all done a 180 degree turn?

You're living in a dreamworld and you'd better get used to the fact that a lot of people out there, amd most Tories, want to see the pendulum swinging back the other way


I dont doubt these issues are very important to you and some others but they are no basis on which to build a recovery. It seems you and a few others believe that adopting a socially conservative line will win back Tories who have been voting New Labour & Lib Dem in recent elections. Or possibly attract votes from non voters who have felt disenfranchised in recent elections.

I am afraid I just disagree. Yes, some people would love it and no doubt work flat out for a Tory victory. But the type of voters we need to switch back to us would on the hole be turned off.

looks like we will have to agree to disagree.

Lord Haw Haw. Why do you consider that "Tories" would switch to other parties because we are "socially conservative"

We didn't suddenly become "socially conservative" although it's not something we normally discussed. In years of campaigning I can never recall a single voter saying he wouldn't support us for that reason.

The reasons given, as I recall, were primarily sleaze, incompetence (partially justified) and "upper class snobbery" (ridiculous but inevitable).

There's not a shred of evidence to suggest that Tories switched away from us because (as I think you are suggesting) we suddenly became anti-homosexual.

Lord Haw Haw,

Just for the avoidance of doubt, I am not advocating 'adopting a socially conservative agenda'. All I am saying is that we shouldn't rush to change where we have been as Scottish Tories up till now, which has been to our occasional electoral advantage e.g. in the Ayr by-election.

I am certainly not for burning gays, but nor am I for apeing an irrelevant Cameron socially-liberal agenda.

If you can provide any evidence that a more socially liberal Scottish Tory Party would be electorally more successful, then I would be delighted to hear it and am persuadable. This isn't about what you or I believe ourselves, its about political advantage.

>>If you can provide any evidence that a more socially liberal Scottish Tory Party...<<

Note the deafening silence.

Meanwhile in Ulster all religions are united against the anti-freedom Sexual Orientations Regulations currently being forced on the part of the kingdom where Labour has least to lose.

Leading Scots Tory Lord Mackay of Clashfern writes in the Telegraph today to oppose this appalling decree.

Why have the leadersof our party so far failed to speak out against this manifestation of tyranny?

Blue Boy

I would not suggest that adopting a more liberal approach to social policy will lead to our recovery in Scotland. However, I am suggesting that taking a more a more conservative line will halt any progress. I regard Cameron's position as a sensible middle way ie supporting marriage but not discriminating against others. All my experience in life tells me that that is the view of the average voter and certainly the view of those we need to attract to us again or for the first time.

I am not sure we won the Ayr by election on section 28. True it did us no harm in a by election in which we were a clear second to Labour and victory could be achieved by getting the tory vote out in a low turnout election.

The next election will not be won just by getting the tory vote out particularly here in Scotland. We will need to cast the net wider. I believe Cameron's views will help that process and not hinder it. I agree this is about political advantage. In my mind the advatage is obvious. Thanks for a measured reply - I have enjoyed the debate with you.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker