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If the scots are so peeved at political parties appearing too English,is there any thing wrong with the English perceiving political parties as too Scottish?

I think that many of the suggestions made by The Scotsman seem very sensible. I hope that Cameron and his team listen to them and act before it is to late.

Not really, but the English should stop and think why a particular party has become disproportionately Scottish and not automatically blame the Scots.

That was replying to tlly. The Tories in England must share some of the blame for the Labour Party having become more Scottish than the English would prefer.

We have let the whole country down by not providing an opposition to this Labour Government,as was the plan from 2002 onwards.

We are now generally viewed by the people as being hand in glove with Labour, and the Lib-Dems as well.

Scottish Tories seem to lack a plan to re-build.

The Scottish Unionist Party was a far better name . Crass reorganisation in 1965 - did Heath have hand in this ? sounds like 'im .

On another note its not just the Scottish Tories who need a clearer identity . So do the English Tories . There is no English Conservative Party . Why not ?

To paraprase Mr Cameron :
"and I think there have been times where we haven't been there enough for the English people, and we need to make sure we are."

- oh to hear those words .

Never mind the scots - the english Conservatives need a clear idsentity beyond Cameron's all-things-to-all people and "I'm like Tony but nicer".

"...Annabel Goldie, Scottish Tory leader, will promise a £100m programme of drug rehabilitation as a flagship policy for the party's drive for progress in May's elections."

This will play out badly. If drugs rehab was a UK-wide flagship policy, then fair enough. But singling out Scotland for this particular flagship policy implies that our view of Scotland is that it’s full of druggies.

Dear Denis 09.57 how on earth are the tories responsible for NL becoming too scottish?.Whilst we're on that subject, how many people sitting in English seats consider themselves English? I would hazard a guess that across the main parties there will be 150 Scotsmen working for Scotland from English constituencies, then there's the Welsh and Irish.

"We are now generally viewed by the people as being hand in glove with Labour, and the Lib-Dems as well."
Rudyard, not true and just a lazy comment to describe your dissatisfaction with the current direction of the party.

Denis makes a good point about the Labour party having an identity both North and South of the border over the last 20 years.
He has pointed out that the party has not managed to evolve enough and has allowed the SNP to become the natural opposition.
HF, the lack of a plan to rebuild the whole structure of the party from the bottom up in Scotland has been the biggest problem. I had to help someone register online with the party because there was no association on the ground in their area. It does not encourage or help connect up members who would like to be involved more with the party in area's which we have little or no presence.
Yet again party infighting/positioning has been a problem, which does tend to stop the leadership from concentrating on the real job.
The positive direction in which David Cameron is taking the national party is going to be interesting, because I think that for the first time in years people up here are interested and aware of the changes happening in the party. The fact that the whole shadow cabinet is here is very encouraging and shows a commitment.
We need to up our game in the Scottish party to reflect this, although there are some well organised and motivated associations in some area's who are working hard.
As for the polls, we need to remember that previous polling has been scarce and often underestimates the conservative vote, but equally after years of neglect it is going to take a lot of work to getting the party working and growing again.

It maybe time for the Scottish/Welsh Conservatives to split from the English Conservatives. They would be come totally independent, in every way. If the English Conservatives do not have a majority in the Westminster parliament, then the Scots/Welsh Conservatives could take the Tory whip in the same way the Unlster Unionists used to.

Not necessarily, Valedictoryan, if it's a devolved matter then policy in Scotland can be different from policy in England without either insulting or flattering the Scots. There is the recurrent question of who would be paying for it in the end, which urgently needs clarification or the English will rightly object if it appears that all the most beneficial schemes are available in Scotland but not in England.

The Scottish Tories need a "McCameron" - not sure Goldie is that person.

"Not necessarily, Valedictoryan"

OK, how would English strivers feel about a party whose headline policy is to spend £1 billion (adjusted for population) on drugs users?

I'm not saying that drugs use shouldn't be tackled, but I am saying that it's daft to say it's the most significant feature of the country's needs.

It's not a question of devolution of responsibility. Whether a Scottish or English Tory arrived at this headline policy - it's hugely insensitive and out of touch. Furthermore it's a vote loser.

"There is the recurrent question of who would be paying for it in the end, which urgently needs clarification or the English will rightly object if it appears that all the most beneficial schemes are available in Scotland but not in England."
Denis, that is another myth which needs lancing. We get our funding from Westminster, and we simple direct our funding in different area's than down South. The biggest myth is the free care for the elderly, and if you follow the Scottish press at all you will know that it is not happening in some councils because the budget is not allowing it! Remember this is a Labour/Libdem coalition and the headline does not always bear close scrutiny.
Another is the availability of certain medical treatments not available down South, yet again you will find that other area's of health are not being invested in. We do not get MORE, and if one area benefits then you can bet another area is not.
We are facing big council tax increases because they are really being starved at the moment. My council is having to make millions of pounds of saving year on year. Teacher shortages is a nightmare in some area's and children are suffering because of it.

JimJam, the Camerons do not need a 'Mc' nor even a 'Mac' before their name to prove they are full blooded Scots:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Cameron

As Cameron himself said in an interview with fellow Scot, Andrew Marr, when refusing to contemplate a change to the Barnett formula:

"I’m a Cameron, there is quite a lot of Scottish blood flowing through these veins."

That is why the spineless and ineffective Shadow Cabinet are all in Scotland today. Did not one single member refuse?

Tlly, it goes back a long way. If Thatcher had hammered Labour more uniformly across the UK, then when the political pendulum swung back the senior figures in the Labour Party would have been more uniformly spread across the UK. Instead she used Commons majorities which were mainly elected in England to pursue policies which were too geographically divisive. Hence in 1997, no Tory MPs in Scotland or Wales, and precious few in the north or the south west of England or in the cities. I suppose I shouldn't really say just "Thatcher" because it started before her and culminated under Major, but "Thatcher" seems to be a commonly used shorthand for generalised Tory wickedness in those parts of the country. If Cameron wants a "United Kingdom" he'll have to adopt policies which are neither socially, nor geographically, divisive.

Valedictoryan, £1 billion for England works out as £20 per head. If spending that on genuinely rehabilitating addicts made a big difference to crime levels I'd say it was money well spent, which I would probably recover quite quickly through lower insurance and policing costs. Of course that's assuming it actually worked.

I think this visit to Scotland by the whole shadow cabinet is a good idea which must be repeated regularly over the next 2/3 years in the North of England as well. Now is the time to really start building bridges and to connect the party North and South of the UK again.
I think some miss a vital point in today's political climate, it is now Tony Blair and Gordon Brown who are not being welcomed with open arms by their Scottish and Northern English colleagues and we have to be prepared to take the lead and some flak to show we are serious about becoming more relevant in those area's again.
An attitude of "its no use we don't do well there so why bother" or "look there has not been a huge swing in our direction in the last 12 months so the project is not working" would be wrong and does not honestly reflect the size of the job.

The whole Shadow Cabinet are in Scotland today? Did they fly or take the train? How environmentally unsound.

Did Tim Yeo go as well? ;-)

The Scottish Conservatives don't need to be "less English", nor do they need to split from the UK party. They already have considerable autonomy and they've not exactly covered themselves in glory. What we need are some right-wing policies which set us out from the staid social democratic consensus, some MSPs who actually work hard to promote Conservatism and a leader who's credible. The best thing that could save our Holyrood campaign now is for David Cameron to be pushed endlessly into the spotlight and for CCHQ in London to take control away from bumbling Mundell and Peter "no seat" Duncan.

Denis Cooper at 11.24 makes a very valid point about the effects of Thatcherism, which is not limited to Scotland - it was during her very divisive years that the Tory vote hemorrhaged in several areas, including English urban as well as the provinces. The irony for Scotland being, as we all know, the fact that she pursued economic policies endorsed by Scotland's own proud economists!

But a separate Scottish party sounds a good idea. The Tories have been running to catch up with devolution for too long and it is now time they looked at the logic of what has happened and become more pro-active - creating a distinctive Scottish (and Welsh) party could do just that. One issue remains - the calibre of the potential leadership. Most able Scots head south to make their name and fortune, leaving only a rather small pool to choose from in scotland itself. That, at least, is a problem faced by Labour in even greater degree, so we might still have a hope of out-manouevring them!

Denis @ 10.57 and others.

"IF it appears that all the most beneficial schemes are available in Scotland but not in England"
If you left out the IF in your musings you would be absolutely right, all the best schemes are indeed available in Scotland but not in England. Why all this pandering to the Scots? It's an indictment on the Tory party if the only route to governance is to bribe the Scot to vote Tory, if you were to pander more to the English voter by offering an English Parliament, bingo, job done.

The question that needs to be answered is: do the Conservatives believe in the Union or not? It seems pretty inconsistent to break up a Union-wide party to advocate a Unionist cause, to say the least.

It's obvious to a blind man that the reason the Tories have lost Scotland is because Scotland, with their Parliament, no longer see themselves as part of the Union. Wake up for Englands sake.

Thanks for the email Denis!

Im not in favour of a separate Scottish Party as I do not think it will help us to present ourselves as more Scottish and is a bit superficial. I tend to think that following the formation of such a Party we would constantly be answering questions about the nature of our new relationship with the remainder of the UK Tory Party and on our support for the Union. Since we would say we would support the UKTories at Westminster our opponents could rightly say it was nothing new. Also we would have less clout within centre-right politics in the UK on things like the CFP since our lack of MP's would mean the English Tories need not pay much attention. Also since we'd be stressing our continued support for the Union I actually think setting up a separate Party would achieve the very opposite of what we intend.

In order to remedy our problems in Scotland I think we should forget the more superficial ways of being more Scottish and actually BE more Scottish. Here are 2 suggestions:

1. Sectarianism and the continuing divisions in Scottish society on religious/cultural grounds is something which is distinctively Scottish and less so in England. Thus it requires a separate Scottish Tory response which could also provide a distinctive policy. Say we argued we would do away with the discrimantory policies in employment and pupil admission - such a policy would be eye catching, would reflect something distictive in Scottish society with less relevance in England and is essentially liberal whilst being likely to appeal to those presently the subject of this discrimantion - who are quite likely to be former Tory supporters especially in West Central Scotland.

2. Explicitly pitch the Party as the Party of the Scottish periphery - the problem is the Party has no geographic base in Scotland like the SE of England is for Conservatives down south. We should argue that Labour MSPs are disproportionately from the Glasgow/Lanarkshire area and are not interested in the areas further afield to the North East and South. We did this explicitly in 1992 in the North East of Scotland saying dont let the north east be dominated by the central belt and got some great results ie winning back aberdeen south and kincardine and deesside and running very close in gordon and angus.

Think of the way the Liberals grew up as the Party of the geographical periphery in Cornwall or the way the SNP used the perception of peripheralism to further Scottish nationalism. Both of them were outside of the UK political establishment in the same way as we now are in Scotland and we should be fairly brutal in articulating this agenda.

We could do this by calluing for the redistribution of local government support grants to rural areas and by switching labours central belt pork barrell politcs to the ruaral areas ie new bypasses, flood prevention etc. etc.

There are other ways we could pursue this if there was a degree of fiscal autonomy with say petrol tax controlled by holyrood. Say the SNP and Lib Dems are in with the Greens after May. The SNP and the Lib Dems have taken all these peripheral seats where cars are essential and bemoaned our fuel duty escalator. however when in with the greens there is no way they could cut this tax. if it was at holyrood we could propose a big reduction as a way of attracting these peripheral voters.

point 1 obviously relates to denominational schools

Patrick, don't be so ridiculous. The Scottish Tories were wiped out in 1997, a year before the referendum on the Scottish Parliament, two years before the first elections to the Scottish Parliament, and four years before the thing actually started doing any work!!!

Very few people in Scotland care about this or want independence. This whole 'independence' debate, like so-called climate change, is yet another case of the media and political elite getting worked up about something which has no relevance whatsoever to the day-to-day life of ordinary people.

aristeides
when we had a separate and autonomous party in Scotland most centre right nationalist scots voted for the Unionists - many Unionists supported home rule & devolution as this wasn't seen to be breaking up the Union any more than Northern Ireland had left the Union with devolution since the 20's.

We seem to have forgotten that we were four parties in the 50's & 60's with no ill effects - with Liberal Unionists & Conservatives, Scottish Unionists and Ulster Unionists. Alec Douglas Home was never elected as a Conservative (either as Lord Dunglass or in 1963)

Its a likely result of devolution that politics becomes local - if the national parties don't recognise this then a gap is created for nationalist parties.

Meat Loaf
The Scots saw devolution coming long before it actually happened, there were mutterings and rumours from Europe regarding the "regionalisation" of the UK and the powers that were knew that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London would be the forerunners, if the vote in the North of England had gone the other way the European plan would now be in place. As for the people of Scotland not being interested in independence I beg to differ but add that I couldn't care less. If the Tories don't come up with something to level the democratic playing field pretty soon it may be the English that call the shots.

I appreciate your points, Ted.

It does not surprise me at all that four Unionist parties became one. I would question whether the same process can or should happen in reverse though while still remaining "Unionist".

Patrick, if you couldn't care less then why do you continually post on the subject, and if you don't care then how can you expect to have an informed opinion? Politicos and EU buffs might have seen regionalisation coming a long way off but the average bloke on the street didn't - I seem to recall that the People's No Campaign against regional assemblies had a nightmarish job explaning to people how this fitted in with Brussels' plan to Balkanise the country. In any case the English do "call the shots" as they have 85% of the MPs at Westminster. If there really is the demand for an English Parliament then the people will elect to Westminster MPs who represent their views, unless, of course, you're suggesting that the English are stupid.

If anyone is wondering about what the last point inthe graphic is alluding to, check out this posting from last year about the incumbency-favouring regional list system.

"...Annabel Goldie, Scottish Tory leader, will promise a £100m programme of drug rehabilitation as a flagship policy for the party's drive for progress in May's elections."

This will play out badly. If drugs rehab was a UK-wide flagship policy, then fair enough. But singling out Scotland for this particular flagship policy implies that our view of Scotland is that it’s full of druggies.

no it does not, it means ur tacckling the causes of crime

Patrick,

It seems that even now many people in Scotland still don't realise that as far as Brussels is concerned the Scottish Parliament is just an EU Regional Assembly, as are the assemblies for London, Wales and Northern Ireland. I wouldn't claim that the idea of a Scottish Parliament was dreamt up in Brussels, or that it was only set up to satisfy Brussels, but clearly the recent impetus for regionalisation has originated from Brussels. And not just in this country - eg put "regionalisation poland" into google and up come a load of references, including this:

http://www.ces.uj.edu.pl/czubinski/enlargement.rtf

"THE STATUS OF REGION IN EUROPEAN LAW
in the light of the enlargement of the European Union

Zbigniew Anthony Czubinski
Professor of International Law, Jagiellonian University

Research concerning regions and regionalism in Europe has recently become very popular. It is quite often underlined in the literature that European States are moving towards a Europe of the Regions. However, there are still insistent voices that Europe of the Regions is a phrase most commonly reserved for romantics and nationalists separatist who seek the dissolution of the states in favour of smaller regional identities. Undoubtedly, the process of integration within the European Union (EU) is coerced by the declining power of nation-states and the gradual transfer of sovereignty to a supra-national level in order to achieve a better position in global competition.
As a consequence of Europeanisation, the regions have gained a more effective level of governance. This process was also encouraged by the European Commission, which has an institutional interest to develop a new level of legitimate government that bypasses the level of member states in some areas of activity. Furthermore, it is stressed that the trend is correlated with a fundamental principle of European law, that is to say, with the principle of subsidiary . This leads to various forms of the institutionalisation of regionalism in the European Union and in the Member States as well. After the ratification of the Europe Agreements the Central and Eastern European countries received the status of associated members of the EU. These countries were puzzled as to how to tackle the problem of regionalisation within the Community. The vital question is how quickly, if at all, the applicant countries should proceed with regionalisation in order to accelerate the process of integration? The EU and Member States did not send a clear signal. The problem in question is probably the most complex for Poland which has the largest territory and population among applicant countries. Article 3 of the Polish Constitution stipulates that “... the Republic of Poland shall be a unitary state,” but article 15 para.1 adds that “... territorial system of the Republic of Poland shall ensure the decentralisation of public power”. If we point out article 90 para.1 saying “... the Republic of Poland may, by virtue of international agreements, delegate to an international organisation or international institutions the competence of organs of State authority in relations to certain matters”; the conclusion is obvious - the legal framework is well prepared to meet the challenge of integration and regionalisation as well. The school of thought that regionalisation of Poland would help to speed up the process of integration and achieve full membership in the EU seems to dominate Polish literature in question. However, it should be also pointed out, that there is a small group of authors which expressed their concern about this issue. Taking into consideration these dominant voices in the doctrine and several other aspects, the Polish Government decided to reform the administrative structure of the country. Keeping this in mind , it is worthwhile to provide an analysis of the status of a region in European, law and regional policy of Member states in order to formulate useful proposals for the applicant countries on this field. Firstly, the definition and different approaches towards regions would be described. The next issue to be tackled is the position of regions in European law, followed by analysis of state’s practice in this area. Finally, the concluding remarks in connection with the enlargement of the EU would be presented."

ETC

That was published in 2000. Meanwhile at about the same time here in the UK the Tory councillor who was Chairman of SEERA went into print in a local paper saying that "Regional Assemblies have nothing whatsoever to do with the EU".

Well said Martin Cole 11.20

The Camerons are a loyal and splendid clan. The Cameron Highlanders, drawn from the West Coast and Inner Hebrides, is the local regiment for clan Macdonald as well. The Camerons now go under the name The Highlanders, which is a battalion of the Royal Scottish Regiment, that big ugly creature created by Mike Jackson's slashing of county and clan regiments last year.

But Cameron might just as well be called John Bull or Archbishop Muzorewa for all the difference it would make to urban Scots, though. The impeccable Etonian delivery of the Queen's English is a difficult hurdle to overcome. He will be seen as English, a Londoner, and a Tory before he opens his mouth. And whereas in England he is one of three party leaders espousing soft-left consensus tax'n spendery, in Scotland he is one of FOUR.

The irony is that, were he a proper, unapologetic, heffer-type conservative, he'd probably attract more attention, and not all of it bad.

"601" and Denis Cooper, you're both missing my point so I can't be making it very well! Here's one last try...

I totally support tackling the causes of crime and more meaningful treatment for addicts. However – and this next bit is my point – by singling out Scotland with this headline policy we’re quietly characterising the Scottish as having more of a problem with drugs than the rest of us. It’s a very negative message and does nothing to reach the strivers who are our core vote.

To illustrate my point, imagine if we proposed adult literacy classes for Scotland. It would be akin to saying that Scottish adults need more help with literacy, i.e. are less literate. Drugs rehab for Scotland carries exactly the same message.

The central problem for the Scottish Conservatives is squaring the circle of wanting to be the radical right and be unionist. It is the SNP in Scotland who make all the running on tax cuts - they want to cut corporation tax by a third. Scottish Conservatives don't promise this because, as Unionists, they don't actually want the Scottish Parliament to have the power to alter corporation tax.

If we also fail to allow ourselves policies that are different from what's going on in England because they are different from what's going on in England (see the criticism here of the drugs policy) then it will hardly be surprising when our support really drops off.

The Scottish Conservatives are seen as too parochial and too - hate to say this 'protestant.' The rise of the Catholic middle class though enterprise or marriage in the 60's and 70's was ignored by the Rotary Club, Church of Scotland and Mason vanguard of MP's and party members that existed. Now these families and indeed their children vote Labour. (I know, it happened to my own family) Neither does it help that the party has been re-running the same candidates for the best part of a decade (Jackson Carlaw anyone?) and simply fails to understand that it's old voter base has moved on and they have failed to do so. The moment the part stands for Scottish interests is the moment it will win again.

Valedictorian
Devolution means that you address the issues that are devolved to yourselves. If the Scots Tories think Scotland's drug problem needs signifivant public spending and action then they should propose it irrespective of what England or anywhere else says.

Its true that polls show many Scots are unaware of what has been devolved (and indeed Ming Campbell and Gordon Brown seem equally ill informed) but the Scots Tories should be concentrating on policies for Scotland - and if they are radically different but work then the UK Party might adopt them but the Conservative Party ought to recognise itself that it's the Scots not the national party on matters of health, education etc.

O/T I wanted to check something on Unionism in Scotland and came across this on wikipedia. It's opinion but seems to me a good critique of our decline due to social changes. I'd welcome thoughts of our Scots posters in particular on the last two sections.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unionist_Party_%28Scotland%29

Actually I now see what Valedictoryan means, because from today's Scotsman:

"GEORGE Osborne, the shadow chancellor, caused fury among teachers last night after claiming Scotland is losing out on new jobs because half the nation's 14 year olds are unable to read, write or add up properly ... "The sad thing when you look at Scotland, and this is not much different to the rest of the country, is that half of all 14 year olds can't read and write and add up properly." ... His remarks incurred the wrath of Scottish education unions, who condemned them as "outrageous"."

"so actually you'll find that there's really no difference between the situation in Scotland and frankly an area of England north of the Midlands."

Annabel Goldie is of course absolutely right, although I would put the line of demarcation rather further south.

Cameron's appeal, such as it is, is to metrosexual Londoners, but in any case his personal influence on improved Tory poll ratings is marginal.

If it were not for continuing Labour sleaze and the collapse of LibDem support under the hapless Ming, the Tories would be flatlining as usual just as they were under Howard, who was in every respect a better leader than Cameron.

The Tories were previously bombed out in Scotland and the north so the news is simply that there's no change. Those who suppose that Cameron is a silver bullet are sadly deceiving themselves. The lack of improvement in these key areas simply points to the fact that the Cameron effect is a mirage.

If and when the polls turn, so much of this nonsense will vanish like a morning mist and Cameron will join IDS, Hague and Howard in the sinbin of failures.

The alternative? A real Tory with true Tory principles. That's what this country needs.

Legislative devoloution is only party policy because the "Scottish leadership" in Scottish Central Office surrendered to devolution in September 1997 under the cover of the referendum.
The membership were not asked for their approval to abandon our longstanding opposition to it.
I challenge the present "Scottish leadership" to ask the membership if they support repeal of legislative devolution.

Something else that Osborne said, quoted in the Scotsman, which is a bit daft:

"Despite his approval of a low-tax regime, Mr Osborne said a Conservative government would not cut corporation tax in Scotland for fear it would steal jobs and investment from England ... Mr Osborne said he would like to cut corporation tax for the whole of the UK but there would be no special concession to Scotland."

The problems here are:

a) The SNP have repeatedly told the Scots that once Scotland was independent they would slash corporation tax and turn Scotland into a Celtic Tiger like Ireland. Now Osborne has effectively told the Scots that if they want lower corporation tax they should vote for the SNP and independence.

b) The report uses the word "steal", which Osborne may not have used, but it suggests that he thinks jobs and investment in England take priority over jobs and investment in Scotland. I bet the Scots will love him for that.

c) There are parts of England which need lower corporation tax, and parts which do not, and there are parts of Scotland which need lower corporation tax, and parts which do not, so why not have a UK-wide policy of cutting corporation tax where it needs to be cut to bring lagging areas up to speed?

(Hint - the European Court of Justice has recently decided on a case where different tax rates were being applied in different parts of Portuguese territory, see eg:

http://www.internationaltaxreview.com/?ISS=22569&PUBID=35&Page=10&SID=653518&TYPE=20 )

When I said I couldn't care less what happens in Scotland it's because;
a. Scotland are big boys and girls and will decide for themselves the way forward.
b. I have no say whether or not that way forward is in or out of the Union, although as a citizen of the Union...
c. The devious dealings of the EU are never publicised at inception only at decision time and then it's too late, the incompetent MPs at Westminster never read the papers, they just nod them through. I'll briefly mention the EU Constitution and Angela Merkyl topically.
d. I don't care what happens in the EU either, once again I have no say.
e. I do however care very much about England hence my call for a Parliament where I will have a say through a dedicated English elected MP. Please don't mention the 529 traitorous English elected MPs presently representing Mr Blair, Mr. Cameron and a few others.

Can anyone tell me why anyone in Scotland in the coastal communities should vote Tory when the party has dumped the Fishing Policy. Cameron and the one Scottish Tory MP has sent a very clear message to those communities, don't vote for us.

Who would you suggest the voter for John Ashwoth?

Ultimately what is needed for the Scottish party is a new leader, everyone believes that Goldie is not up to it. This rubbish about the majority of the group supporting her is nonsense. She was rubbish at FMQ's today and at least one MSP is ready to launch a leadership bid. She is lazy and ultimately useless. It's time to go Goldie

ITV Debate on the EU.

ITV Teletext Debating Chamber. The first debate (teletext page 347) "Whether Britain would be better off outside the EU".

They want arguments for or against the motion. There will be a vote at the weekend.

E-mail [email protected]

Teletext 07624 819083.

Patrick, all fair and good but I'd like to pull you up on one last point. I and others have asked this question on this blog and others again and again and have never had a satisfactory reply.

If the 83% of Westminster MPs which represent English constituencies are, as you say, "traitorous", and do not represent the needs of England or English constituents, then why would MPs elected to a separate English Parliament be any different?

Roddy, agree with you about Goldie but I would stretch it further and argue the whole Edinburgh leadership is washed up and pathetic and our MSP group needs to be culled. Why are Scottish Tories not calling for tax cuts, a reduction in welfare, civil service reductions and arguing for a change in culture from one of dependency to enterprise. What's our sole policy? "Vote Blue Get Jack (McConnell)". Like that's really going to bring them out to the ballot box in May!

Certainly many Scots seem deeply dissatisfied with the people they've elected to the Scottish Parliament. One suggestion is that the best talent goes south, and once Scotland became an independent state and a global player in its own right that would no longer happen. That would be more convincing except that most of the politicians who've gone south also leave a lot to be desired, as do the English politicians elected in England.

Personally, i see no way forward for the 'scottish conservatives' unless there is a complete rebrand of the party. First, the name has to be jettisoned ( to become the 'new' progressives, christian democrats- whatever). Second- what political 'leaning' will we support in a scottish parliament, obviously we're a centre-right party but who will we 'lean' toward in a potential coalition (Labour or the SNP)? Third- our 'scottish parliamentarians' need a hefty 'kick up the arse' for allowing the present debacle to continue ( no policy, no high profile attacks on LibLabbery). Fourth- stop apologising for decades old policies! Start with 'year zero' then move forward!

hey ted thats a really interesting wikipedia article you referenced ive got a few comments id make on it.

Do any of you think that post-independence the SNP could divide in a way not unlike the old Liberals over Irish Home Rule?

Its not so much that I think the SNP have a right wing in our terms but i think there are divisions and i think the absolute key to any scottish politics post-independence is how they would divide. there are obviously labour/lefty nationalists - the chip on the shoulder wing of the party who see scottishness as invloving an acceptance of the left wing political consensus. in addition there are those who see independence as a means to an end whereby they can get a more leftist political centre of gravity by casting off the more right wing english. obviously both of these groups will reject us but without the unifier of independence they might also alienate the SNP's other wing.

Id say there are traditionalists who dont see independence as a means to an end but support it per se and were never overly keen to have nationalism defined by reference to a single political outlook. they were shafted first by Billy Wolfe and then more especially by the continuing influence of the 79 group lefties but the evolution of centre-right politics means we've not been able to capitalise on this. i think this is a mainly patriotic, rural grouping who are concentrated in the North East and Highlands. I also think they are parochial in the way that most conservative voters the world over probably are. I think the key to breaking the lefts dominance post-independence would be to bring about some kind of fusion between them and whatever remanants remain of the Tory Party.

I do worry however that for a generation after secession your position at the referendum would be a litmus test for your acceptability to the scottish electorate. assuming all our people would be robustly unionist i thinkl this fusion would be difficult to achieve.

i agree entirly with the last 2 sections on the wikipedia thread. what do you think of them ted?

i reckon the fall of the empire weakened the sense of british national identity and also lessened the economic case for the union. the stuff about the battle being between a Scottish Unionist Party and a UK Labour Party was very interesting and shows how far we are from being able to claim back that vote. It a combination of rural, parochial/nationalist/patriotic with our remaining economic liberal/old establishment vote. so basically the Lib Dem, Snp and Tory vote were all in our column at that time. only by aiming at these constituencies again can we launch a recovery.

"Fourth- stop apologising for decades old policies!"

There must come a point when there have been enough apologies, but surely the most important thing is to understand the mistakes which were made, and take care not to make similar mistakes in the future?

For example how can it help the Tories in Scotland when Osborne effectively tells the Scots that if they believe Scotland needs a lower rate of corporation tax then they should vote for the SNP and independence, because he is concerned about jobs and investment being taken away from England?

In the more over-heated parts of south east England people wouldn't necessarily object if some economic development was more evenly spread across the UK.

"GEORGE Osborne, the shadow chancellor, caused fury among teachers last night after claiming Scotland is losing out on new jobs because half the nation's 14 year olds are unable to read, write or add up properly ... "The sad thing when you look at Scotland, and this is not much different to the rest of the country, is that half of all 14 year olds can't read and write and add up properly." ... His remarks incurred the wrath of Scottish education unions, who condemned them as "outrageous"."

If only their parents dropped quarter of a million on their education like George's, at an English public school like Eton or St. Paul's none of them would have this problem.

Denis - are you making the case for regional variation of tax rates? Isn't that part of the EU's regionalisation agenda you profess to despise so much?

Nope, not euro-regional variations. For example the whole of Scotland is a European Region, but as I understand some parts of Scotland are doing fine, while other parts are not and would benefit from lower business taxes. I await confirmation or correction on that from those with greater knowledge. Similarly some parts of the South East England European Region are over-heating and it would be a mistake to make that worse by cutting business taxes, while other parts might need some stimulation. The South East England Regional Assembly itself has remarked upon the very wide variations across the Region, which in case you're not aware is a very peculiarly shaped construct with a population of over 8 million, see the map on here: http://www.southeast-ra.gov.uk/ . Just because a number of counties plus a few spare unitary authorities have been arbitrarily lumped together as a "European Region" for the convenience of Brussels that doesn't mean that they necessarily have much in common.

scottish conservative

apologies for delayed response but been overwhelmed by work. Yes I do think that we need to re-position ourselves in Scotland, at least in domestic policies, to rebuild our constituency to include the small n nationalists - those proud of their Scottishness and wanting their politicians to be Scots first within a union. Nationalism is a response to fear of identity loss. In the Empire Scots were Scots - Jardine Mathieson in China & Hong Kong, Burns nights & Caledonian clubs, Scots engineers. The identity wasn't under threat because in the parade of nationalities the Scots loomed large - part of British Imperial pride was kilted regiments, Clydeside ships.

With the contraction to just the United Kingdom then the English identity threatened that separateness. While the Scots Unionists were identifiably Scots -partly because they were the party of the Kirk, of presbyterian working classes, of the Scots traditional values of prudence, social proberty - then the big N nationalist vote (independence) was limited. Added to the declines in the place of the Kirk, Scots traditional industries and changing social ideas we made the stupid decision in 1965 to destroy our Scots identity in Scotland.

Devolution will mean that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England will need parties with both national & federal interests. There are issues to be settled like the degree to which individual nations in the UK have fiscal independence - the current position of the Exchequer deciding central distribution cannot continue. I'd like to see the process recognised and the Conservatives recognise it and get ahead of the game.

I'm tired of stupid arguements on whether the English subsidise the Scots or vice versa. Let's look at what is really UK spending and what is devolved and say that for example only VAT & Duties are federal, everything else is national. So you know when you vote for the Scots Parliament it's your income tax at risk. The SNP argument is Scotland doesn't need an English subsidy (if there is one) so lets accept that and give fiscal as well as governance devolution for devolved powers.

Yes , fiscal independence for England and Scotland will defuse an awful lot of the comment about who subsidises whom .

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