Sunday, 1 September 2019

Conservatives in Scotland need something different

There are only two issues of consequence in Scottish politics, Brexit and independence. I don’t follow what happens from day to day in the Scottish Parliament. In this, I strongly suspect, I am identical to the vast majority of Scots. Most Scots may want the Scottish Parliament but they are uninterested in what happens there, the rest of us don’t want it and are still less interested. The Scottish Parliament is like the European Parliament. We may or may not wish to Leave the EU, but none of us can name our MEP and none of us follow what happens in Brussels.

The defining issues that are going to determine how people vote in Scotland then are Brexit and independence. But what has been forgotten is that 38% of Scots voted for Brexit. At the moment these people are completely unrepresented by mainstream Scottish Parties. It’s hard to name an obvious Brexiteer in frontline Scottish politics. The SNP I suspect have some hidden Brexiteers in Holyrood. The Conservatives may have some too. But Scottish politicians put forward a more or less united front opposing Brexit.

It is not infrequent for a party to win a General Election if it wins 38% of the vote. If the Scottish Conservatives won that sort of percentage it would win far more seats in a General Election than it has at present and it would win more seats at Holyrood too. The Scottish Conservatives therefore have an opportunity to become the only mainstream Scottish Party that is both Pro UK and Pro Brexit.

If a complete Brexit doesn’t happen very soon indeed, there will be no Conservative Party. It will therefore not matter one little bit who leads it either in the UK or in Scotland. We have been given one last chance. Brexit supporters are willing to vote for Boris on the assumption that he really will get us out and get us out completely. If he fails, in any subsequent General Election, the Conservatives will go the way of the Lib Dems in 2015. That was the message of the European Election in May. You either get this or you don’t.

If the UK leaves the EU completely, are the Scottish Conservatives still going to be led by a Remainer who thinks that Brexit was a terrible mistake that will help the SNP to independence. If so, it would be far, far better if the Scottish Conservatives ceased to exist, because this stuff just helps the SNP.

The key to persuading voters is to offer them something different from the other parties. Ruth Davidson did very well in reviving the fortunes of the Scottish Conservatives, but her main failing was that she could have fit in equally well in any of the other Scottish Parties. She agreed with the SNP and the Greens about pretty much everything except independence. She held just about the same views as Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Theresa May. Like them she was mired in the centre ground mush.

But the centre offers no distinction and no real choice. It is the default of both the Scottish and the British establishments. It is the Remainer rearguard that is most of all offended that the British people by voting for Brexit rejected its advice, its rule and its nannying.

The key to defeating the SNP is to cease appeasing them. Don’t agree with them about anything. Don’t make any concessions, don’t grant them any more powers.

Some Scottish Conservatives think it is a good idea to separate the Scottish Conservatives from the UK Conservatives. Perhaps the party in Scotland will get a new name and a new branding. If you think that separation is the key and you want to appeal to separatists, then you really ought to join the SNP.

What we need instead is a Scottish Conservative Party that wants to unite Scotland still more with the UK. We have reached the ludicrous stage where nearly every product in the supermarket is called Scottish and has Scottish flags all over it. They don’t do this in France. They don’t do this anywhere else, but in Scotland. The EU thinks the solution to every problem is more Europe. If you think the solution to every problem is more Scotland, then once more you are in the wrong party.

If a complete Brexit happens, then the majority of Scottish parties will hope that it fails. The SNP, Lib Dems, Labour etc are hoping for chaos, recession and poverty so that they can tell us we told you so. The pity is that some people’s pessimism will actually be used to make the UK worse off. Some “Pro UK” Scottish Remainers would be delighted if Brexit broke up our country.

But pessimism is not a good campaign strategy and will quite soon turn out to be a vote loser. Returning to the EU will not be an option once we are out. So Scottish Conservatives have a choice. We either embrace Britain’s Brexit future and make it work or we join the pessimists and defeatists in defeat.

As I have argued for years, Brexit will give us some very good arguments to use against the SNP. The pity is that Ruth Davidson was either unaware of them or unwilling to use them. She preferred to agree with Sturgeon about everything except independence.

Brexit will give the UK a chance to fulfil the Thatcherite revolution, by turning us into a low tax, pro-business free trade hub. It will make all of us richer. Conservatism in Scotland needs to oppose independence with every means available including making it clear to the SNP that post-Brexit UK will be one nation and we will be indivisible.

The Scottish establishment is united across party lines that Scotland needs more public spending, more subsidy, more free this and free that and above all more Scotland. It has appeased Scottish nationalism and is defeatist about the UK. We need a new Conservative Party that thinks the UK should be more united not less. We need Scottish Conservatives who are genuinely Conservative. Who believe in free markets, living within our means and a small state. Brexit is about bringing sovereignty back to Britain. It can unite us and unify us and make Scottish independence impossible, but we need a Conservative leader in Scotland who believes in all these things. We need a new way of thinking post Brexit, not the same old appeasement and centre ground mush.


  1. As I've said before, if you make the issue of Scottish independence an existential one; if you make it independence or the loss of Scottish identity in its entirety; don't be surprised if Scots vote to exist.

    I really wish more Scots would read this blog. They would gain a clearer insight into the Tory mind-set and be more aware of the future their country faces under Tory rule. In Effie's view it is none at all.

    1. Of course, I've erroneously assumed the author would allow Scots a vote on whether their country and national identity would continue to exist. On re-reading the article, it is clear no such choice would be given to us. Our national identity is to be brow-beaten and ripped from us while our national institutions and legal system are to be dissolved, and replaced by their English counterparts, by Westminster diktat. All in the name of an "indivisible British nation".

      The irony is, these counter the reasons the author gives for withdrawing from the EU. We are told we must leave the EU because it threatens our national identity (British in this instance), institutions and legal autonomy. In a previous article the author rails against a (totally fictitious) Euronationalism project while here she is positively advocating a British nationalism project to extinguish Scotland's identity.

      Do British nationalist "Leavers" not see the hypocrisy in these arguments?

    2. As an aside, I had to laugh when the author complained of Saltires being plastered all over every product in Scottish supermarkets. Nothing could be further from the truth as every one of the millions of us who frequent them can testify. You are, in reality, hard put to find the odd Saltire among the mass of Union Flags that have appeared on every product imaginable over recent years. I don't know where Effie shops, but I'd love to know so I could give them some business.

    3. You're spot-on, Me Bungo. The United Kingdom was predicated on the subordination of the other nations to England. The policies pursued since 1979 by the 'Conservative' Party have been predicated on their absorption by that fascinating but unstable country. This course has brought about a growing serious demand for independence. The'Conservative' Party has long ceased to be able to appeal to a majority of people in the country. The only way it could'defeat' the SNP would be by abolishing itself and all its works.

  2. I couldn't agree more, absolutely spot on in what you say

  3. Effie is in error. What Scottish Conservatives (of whom I am not, I stress, one) is, presumably, a party which will endeavour to *conserve*. What Effie advocates is a revolutionary movement that will, animated by the sleight-of-hand economics of Professor von Hayek, and the poor-woman's-Nietzsche politics of Miss Rand, dismantle most institutions and abolish most of the economy.

    1. They are all trying to 'conserve' a past that never in fact really existed . Thats the issue, trying to roll back what they imagine are years of socialist and liberal change.

      In fact what is happening is they are being dragged into the modern world... When they want to live in Victorian times from books.

      I'm at the stage I want a rock hard brexit and I want it to be devastating for the UK. If this lot are going to be sorted they will need to be sorted via a counter revolution and wiped out politically.

    2. I greatly fear, Running, that those devastated would not for the most part be the instigators of this folly. The Brexit faction have already shed blood, and are currently dismantling parliamentary democracy. I certainly would not welcome any further successes by them.

  4. David Cameron was centre ground mush. Gapes

  5. Well, we seem to have exhausted that one.

    Effie's interventions appear to be coming thick and fast these days. Next, please!

  6. Under Scots Law, sovereignty lies with the people. Under English Law, sovereignty lies with the Crown in Parliament. Mr. Jacob Rees-Mogg's intervention on the subject of sovereignty is not entirely clear.

    If he thinks that sovereignty as presently held should prevail in active policy, then the matter is clear enough. Scotland voted to remain within the Union. Parliament is determined to restrain the present course of Mr. Boris Jognson's administration.

    However, it seems that he *may* be saying that sovereignty in English Law should be transferred from the Crown in Parliament to the people. If this is what he means, then there is no argument for denying the people their say on the recently-concocted policy of unilaterally breaking a legally binding agreement with 27 other countries.

    Some clarification would be helpful. Aldo? Effie?

  7. It would appear that Mr. Jacob Rees-Mogg's doctrine of popular sovereignty, embodied in him as the avatar of M. Rousseau's Legislator, has not yet prevailed.

  8. I heartily pray that Mr. Boris Johnson's wish to be dead in a ditch is not fulfilled. My hope as that he will live to an advanced age, in reduced circumstances, and with plenty of opportunity to reflect on the consequences of his unprincipled and selfish course of life.


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