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no they were not right -the SNP are a left wing party that wants to break up the United Kingdom.
I cannot understand why we sustain them in office - having got his feet under the table Salmond is going to be very difficult to move.
A Ubionist coalition however informal in May 2007 to keep him out would have been much better for the maintenance of the UK.

Not all the Tories backed the SNP Budget. The Presiding Officer was elected as as a Tory but voted against when he used his Casting Vote. I assume that like the Speaker in the Commons he is considered as an Independent and not whipped?

Steve - Like the Speaker in the Commons, the Presiding Officer relinquishes party affiliation in that post and does not vote in divisions. Also like the Commons Speaker, he has a casting vote in the event of a tie and by convention votes for the status quo.

My 4 years of living in Scotland taught me the harsh lesson that to many Scottish people the Tories are simply an irrelevance, not on the radar. Anything that gets them in the news, makes them seem to matter, is a good thing. Even if it wasn't the best possible budget deal, the Scottish electorate needs to be reassured that the (a) the Tories are relevant, that what they do matters and (b) they can work with other political parties, in this case the SNP, which makes them appear moderate. A good decision by Annabel.

Steve the Presiding Officer had to vote with the status quo and could not back the budget due to the laws that govern how the parliament works.

Thanks for the info on the Presiding Officer. I now understand.


Annabel was, and is, right.
Any attempt to prop up the utterly discredited Labour administration after the last Holyrood elections with a so-called 'Unionist Coalition' would have been greeted with howls of derision from the electors of Scotland.
Backing the new administration on specific issues where we agreed with them is exactly the approach Annabel promised at that election - she is merely delivering on her promises.

Of course it was the right thing to do.

Annabel Goldie and the Scottish Conservatives were absolutely right. It looks like they went into negotiations with the SNP with clear objectives - help for Scottish businesses. They achieved that, and so agreed to vote for the budget.

There is no way they can have considered voting down the budget just so they could blow a proverbial raspberry at Alex Salmond. It would have been grossly irresponsible.

Goldie proved herself to be honest and trustworthy.

The Conservative Party has shown its maturity and political shrewdness in navigating this one. Unlike the greens, behaving like novices and labour....well they are trying to flex their somewhat flabby biceps. Salmond may yet itch for an election, the need for one being firmly pinned on the aggressive no compromise stance of Labour.

They were right. There is only 2 choices in Scotland a Labour or an SNP government. We Tories simply cannot establish a working relationship with the arrogant Scottish Labour party. They (Labour) are also secure in the knowledge of being backed up by the slithering, pointless Liberal Democrats. At least with an SNP minority government there will be no movement on devolution and the Tories can get significant concessions for our agenda. So choice get nothing (Labour/LD govt.) or get something (SNP).

Everyone I've talked to down the pub tonight either blames Labour for political posturing or cast a plague on all the political houses. No one mentions LDs because they everyone realises they are irrelevant toss pots.

P.S. The Presiding Officer DOES NOT HAVE to vote for the status quo. It is however the convention for a Presiding Officer in maintaining the integrity and respect of the office to vote with the status quo. Can you imagine that lick spittle Martin doing the same were it a Labour budget?

Absolutely. The Scottish Tories understand how to operate in a parliament with a minority government and have been given concessions due to their shrewdness. As a result we Tories are getting some of our agenda implemented in Scotland. We cannot ignore the SNP and treat them as pariahs - they are a democratic party who have the right to form a government. We understood that from day one and have built a working relationship with more stick than carrot I may add.

If it the scottish tories had the best deal they could get, then of course they were right to support it.

As an englishman, my impression was that there were not tories in scotland - I guess this has been misreported...

An election in scotland would be very interesting - if labour went down the pan, it could trigger the demise of Brown...

So the tories were probably right, but if it doesn't pass, then from a purely selfish point of view I will enjoy watching the outcome.

Goldie is clearly the best leader the Scottish Tories have had post devolution and the first to have the chance and understand how to make the situation the party is in there work to its advantage.

1. She has succeeded in getting a good regeneration package in the budget;

2. the party has looked mature in an arena not famous for good grace and putting country before party; and

3. she has not fallen into the trap of having the nats on one sure and all the unionists on the other, which ultimately is what Salmond wants.

Well done Annabel, good strategy well executed.

The "concessions" the Tories got were already SNP policies (as was the case last year as well). It suits both parties to play footsie. The integrity-free LibDems are already slithering towards supporting the budget and Labour will now follow suit as they have just discovered that their games yesterday have increased support for the SNP.
The big losers are the silly Greens whose two votes against a budget (in which they had extracted some concessions) caused the tie.
They overplayed their hand and now the SNP probably will not need their votes.
It should be pointed out that the SNP is not a particularly left wing party. It describes itself as social democratic and I bet small English businesses wish they had a government that was cancelling their commercial rates as the SNP is doing to help business in Scotland.

I cannot really add much more to the excellent comments already posted on the thread.

"Well done Annabel, good strategy well executed."

Annabel Goldie has deployed an excellent political strategy since before the 2007 elections. She stuck to her guns despite a lot of criticism from some, including Conhom. Just look at the way that the Libdems are now desperately back tracking on their earlier stance - how can't emphasis enough just how cack handed and politically inept they have been over this budget.

As for the Labour party, well, they are showing yet again why they lost the Scottish elections with their negative political strategy.

Onwards and upwards for the Scottish Tories right now. If you think that we have a mountain to climb at the next GE, then its a taller one in Scotland. But, the Tories have fought back hard since Cameron and Goldie came to the leadership, and I think they have recovered more ground in the last few years than we managed in Labour's first 10 years at Westminster, as well as the 8 coalition with Labour and the Libdems.

No of course they were not right to bail out the snp traitors. Frankly there is no good reason to carry on with the Scottish Parliament in any way at all. Unless of course we English are going to get the same kind of representation. The Latter will certainly appeal to the "jobs for the boys" culture of our PCP.

Whilst there is a Scottish Parliament, we need to play a part in it - ensuring responsible governance and not just letting the other parties flood it.

Yes, but...

Plaudits for being responsible and some help for local businessmen. But will it strip votes away from the SNP "right"?

What the SNP say is that they are a political coalition because Independence is the only thing that matters - kind of like what a strong Eurosceptic would say (with perhaps more justification in the EU case!)

Therefore the SNP claim they will probably disband post independence Then they say there can be a right wing party in Scotland. But until then the SNP is a centre left party, and indeed very pro EU, because this reflects the majority view of the membership (really?).

I don't believe this SNP disbandment for one moment by the way, their real model is the way Fianna Fail "family" has run the Republic for the last 90 years - and I see FF are still blaming "the British" for their own mess.

So I rather doubt supporting the SNP and winning some small concessions is likely to eat into the SNP "right" vote, if that is what lies behind the policy?

I suppose the alternative is for the Tories is to "go it alone" in opposition. The pitch would be to say they are the only genuine Scottish right party who will have a go at the public sector problem here. But I guess this doesn't chime with the UK positioning at present? Not sure it would be any better electorally either.

But the conumdrum is that when you look at opinion polls on the issues (e.g. EU, provision of public sector services, defence, etc., etc) there is absolutely no significant difference reported in Scottish opinion than anywhere else in the UK.

For example, just take a look at how today Scottish (and Welsh) power station and refinery workers have come straight out on strike in sympathy with their English colleagues against ECJ contracting laws. I would think plenty of them will be SNP voters.

Sorry, not really any answers. Frustrated.

Interesting post Mark. I'm frustrated as well, whilst the SNP are the Majority party in a minority government there will plenty of examples like this Budget to make me hot ande bothered. I (of course) have no room for the SNP but conclude that it is a matter for Scottish Tory's to decide, as England has no representation in the Scottish parliament at all.


Interesting posting from David McEwen Hill, that the SNP is a " social democratic" party. They are a socialist party to its core: Alex Salmond is number three on the top 100 British Socialists ( on this web site). David McEwen Hill also knows that leading SNP members like Nicola Sturgeon, Rosie Cunningham and Alex Neil, to name a few, would not be out of place in Solidarity!
That apart, of course the Scottish Conservatives were right to support the budget of the SNP who have a mandate to run the country. Annabelle Goldie is doing a very good job in the current situation.

Toryscot obviously sees with a very jaundiced eye.
The SNP describes itself as a "left-of-centre socially democratic party in the mainstream of European political alignment" and are about as close to Solidarity as the Libdems in Scotland are to integrity.
There are a great many erstwhile socialists in the SNP. There are a great many Tories also and a very large group in the middle who don't give a monkey's about these increasingly irrelevant labels. The polarisation in Scotland is not right v. left anymore. It is nationalist v. unionist and the rest will no doubt come back into feature when Scotland is independent.
I used to think that the SNP would disband under independence. I now very much doubt this. It will become the centre ground,establshed national party of government of Scotland facing smaller parties to the left and the right in an independent Scottish parliament.
Labour focked up big time yesterday and an exclusive YouGov poll in Scotland next week would be interesting.
So did Libdems but this elicits little response as nobody expects anything else from them at the moment. Given that a fairly substantial proportion of the Labour and Libdem support have no objection to Scottish independence and in fact not far off half of them support it the fault line in Scottish politics lies mainly in a demoralised Labour support.
It may come as a surprise to many contributors here to know that there is significant support for Scottish independence among traditional Tory support in Scotland and pragmatic Tories I am very sure will have taken full account of the writing on the wall.
It should also be taken into account that the Tory Party is not constitutionally a unionist party. The "unionist" which is very often added to their title here refers to the Irish situation of a century ago.
When Scotland goes independent the Tories will rapidly come to terms with the new political situation and set up their stall in the new Parliament without a backwards glance. Are they perhaps preparing the ground for all possible eventualities at the moment?
No doubt I shall now receive the usual torrent of head-banging outrage on my post which is neither abusive or opinionated but a fairly accurate account of the the state of play in Scotland at the moment.

One more point
I believe the Labour Party in Scotland is in the early stages of implosion at the moment. It wouldn't surprise me if the Tories going up didn't pass Labour going down in the polls by the end of this year.

Well depressingly I think Dave McEwan Hill's last post proves some of my points in my own post, 3 above his?

I'm not clear from his Dave's post whether he wants to join a Scottish Fianna Fail type party after independence, or go into a tiny honest opposition party like they have in the Republic?

Personally I don't want to be there. I can't and won't live in a Scotland run by Alex Salmond's Fianna Fail Alba. In my opinion all actions by the Scottish Tories should be based on the principle of finding the best way to prevent that happening.

(Sorry if some readers wonder why I go on about Fianna Fail. I'm not Irish, nor am I particularly interested in Irish politics. Its just that to understand the SNP, and what we are up against, its necessary I think to understand that the leadership of the SNP are using them as a model.)

Dave McEwan Hill is clearly a supporter of the SNP. Hence his slanted view of the state of Scottish poetics.

The SNP has done well in recent years because of the former utter hopelessness of the Scottish Tories and what Mr McEwan Hill correctly describes as the implosion of the Scottish Labour party. However, it may It may come as a surprise to many contributors here to know that, amongst SNP voters, there are a significant numbers who do NOT favour an independent Scotland; some vote for the SNP as the least worst party, others vote tactically to keep the Labour or the Conservative party out and some of the remainder have a vague feeling that the SNP must be best for Scotland even if they do not favour independence. Scotland and England will never separate because the ties History and family, such as my own Anglo-Scottish family, are too strong.

Annabel Goldie is doing a good job and I trust her endeavours will soon be rewarded by a revival of Conservative support north of the Border.

I obviously got under Mr McEwan Hill's skin, and his long explanation of the activities of the Libdems and labour in Holyrood in recend days is well documented in the press, nothing added there. The fact is the SNP IS left wing, Alex salmond took them that way by purging those of centre right persuasion like Gordon Wilson and others; even Winnie Ewing was shunted to the side, and he brought to the fore Alex Neil and his like who were TOO left even for the labour party, from where they came; that is why that are getting support in Scotland. People see them as the natural replacement for the useless Labour party to continue to support big government; to continue the state handout to those who WILL NOT work for a living. Where is the SNP policy to control public spending; the third largest in the developed world after Cuba and Iran. In power the SNP would continue with the socialist policy of big govt; high spending of other people's money: that's what socialists do!. He may be right about indepenence in the future, time will tell, but it will a sad day for scotland if this socialist lot were to be in power. I've lived in Scotland longer that Mr McEwan Hill, I can asure you of that; I've seen the destruction socialist wreck, and jobs destroyed in our manufacturing indusries; I was brought up in the socialist republic of North Lanarkshire!

What David_at_Home says may have an element of truth but he must also accept there are large swathes of scottish society broadly in favour of independence who do not, for a whole host of reasons, vote snp. The 40% of labour voters in Scotland support independence figure is one I can easily beleive and i know personally quite a number of Tory voters who would vote yes when D day comes.

Were the Scottish Tories right to back the SNP budget? Anyone who says 'no' clearly hasn't been north of the border for the last two years

What David_at_Home says may have an element of truth but he must also accept there are large swathes of scottish society broadly in favour of independence who do not, for a whole host of reasons, vote snp. The oft quoted 40% of labour voters in Scotland support independence figure is one I can easily beleive and i know personally quite a number of Tory voters who would vote yes when D day comes.

Were the Scottish Tories right to back the SNP budget? Anyone who says 'no' clearly hasn't been north of the border for the last two years.

With all due respect to Toryscot he is mostly talking rubbish. Winnie Ewing was President of the SNP with Alex Salmond as leader until last year. She is now becoming frail and too old for the hurly burly of day to day politics which is why she has steppped down. (I was her election agent 40 years ago in 1969). Her son Fergus is a Minister in Alex Salmond's cabinet and her daughter Annabelle respresented SNP in Westminster, until a boundary change resulted in her narrowly losing her seat and is politcally active in the party.
Alex Neil,a colleague of the Jim Sillars who helped in the campaign for Margaret Ewing against Salmond for SNP leadership which was defeated holds no position in the SNP governmentbut is an extremely able political operator and economic spokesperson. I rather hope Alex is thinking about taking him into the leadership team as his incisive grasp of economics matters is as powerful as Salmond's.
The SNP has a front bench of huge distinction,particularly in economic policy but it is far and away the most able leadership in the Scottish Parliament
The SNP has a huge programme to cut public spending and has cut the number of ministries in the Scottish Government by three as part of this. It has also insisted on year by year efficiency savings in every Scottish local Authority with a view to shedding about 30% of the workforce in them. It has frozen the Council tax for the second year now and this year will see the programme of reducing rates on businesses rolled out to include the cancellation of all commercial rates for thousands of small Scottish businesses.
About the most important person in the Scottish cabinet is the hyperactive Enterprise Minister Jim Mather,a hugely successful businessman in his own right

I rather think the English economy would profit from an SNP government

The statement that Scotland has the third highest level of public spending in the worlds is, in fact, a lie, but much loved by the liars in chief at the Daily Mail. In actual fact the percentage of the Scottish economy that is supported by public spend is slightly lower than the all-UK figure.

I also lived for years in industrial Lanarkshire and watched Mrs Thatcher destroy what was left of Scottish industry and transfer the jobs to Teeside and South Wales. Hasn't Toryscot put two and two together yet and worked out why the Tory vote in Scotland disappeared.
Facts are chiels that winna ding.

I am not a conservative, although I am a businessman and certainly have conservative leanings. I have lived many years overseas in Europe, USA and South America. Having returned to the Uk I am in despair at the state of British politics. Labour seem to have inherited some of the less attractive morality of previous Conservative governments. The Conservatives, if judging by the content seen here, are living in a Britain I no longer recognise and they continually harp on about the EU as if it were a bad disease and they are utterly parochial in their vision. I really do not know who I would vote for. In fact, perhaps the Lib-Dems are becoming more relevant.

The Tories must also be wrestling with the delightful/awful prospect that an independent Scotland would bring. Delightful because they would probably be able to remain in power for a long time without Scottish MPs in Westminster, and awful because the Great in Great Britain would be diminished by their withdrawal.

To be frank, I am coming round to the idea that we could be better off without the Scots. We could concentrate on dealing with England. This hopefully would also concentrate the minds of our elected representatives to approach English problems with an English bias.

PS. In the event of Scottish independence I would want to see all government functions, military and English companies repatriate their jobs to England. It would be sad to see the Scots go, but I would not be making any concessions to them and certainly not facilitating what will be an almighty disentanglement. The measure of which few people are seriously exploring. Perhaps then, our politicians can get on with representing us.

My respect to the party that votes based on the issues, rather than on the party.
The Conservatives showed maturity with their decision to back the SNP, based on the budget itself, rather than the party producing it.

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