Monday, 1 September 2008

More on Scotland

Further to his rant and musings about the state of the Scottish Conservative Party and subsequently Scottish Conservative Future, TB had a wee chat with ABB. It was interesting to hear what a former Scottish CF player thought, having experienced both the inner workings of the two organisations.

Why isn't CFS given anywhere near the amount of attention CF receives?

Well firstly Scotland is a lot smaller. It is only one 10th of the United Kingdom and relativity should always be noted in this, however that is not the bottom line. After staying in contact with numerous high ranking members of Conservative Future Scotland since departing for London last year, I am continuously told of the struggle to gain support from The Scottish Conservative Party itself. A part of me always feels that connection to Scottish politics, especially to Conservative Future Scotland and I am deeply concerned the problem is not CFS but rather The Scottish Conservative Party itself. Based on what I am continuously told by friends still up in Scotland, CFS receives no where near as much support from the central office as it should do.

CFS is arguably in a pretty poor state, what are the main problems?

The Scottish Conservative Party need to recognise who and where their next generation of voters and supporters are coming from, and start utilising that. It is my firm belief that if CFS was given more support from the central party up there, we would see more gains – much in the same way Conservative Future works down here in England. There are some incredible, ambitious and driven people in CFS who, like the rest of the Scottish Conservative Party, never want to give up fighting the constant lies of the SNP. They want to be out there campaigning, out there signing people up and out there fighting by elections. But when by-elections do come around, I am told by numerous people that they contact the Scottish Conservative Party and offer to help, but nobody ever gets back to them. The problem? Communication and teamwork. There is strength in numbers and I believe if the Scottish Conservatives were to take CFS more seriously, start listening to them rather than just relying on them to keep the university presence strong when freshers roll around each year, we might see some progress.

How do you feel the problems in CFS reflect the larger scale problems the Conservative party in
Scotland faces?

One of the things I have always admired about the Scottish Conservative Party is how they never give up. In England we’re fighting the Lib Dems and Labour. In Scotland, they’re fighting Lib Dems, Labour and the SNP. I sometimes worry that perhaps complacency is looming on the horizon here in England because we know we can have it at the next general election – we’re so close to government we can already sense it. Of course, that’s a good thing, but complacency is never a threat in the Scottish Conservative Party. It just doesn’t exist – there is nothing to be complacent about. We’re fighting for everything up there – fighting Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP. That fighting spirit is what I have always admired about the party in Scotland but I am worried that perhaps we are gradually starting to loose that spirit which has kept us alive for so long. That would be the worst thing. Nobody is denying it’s a long hard fight, but we simply cannot give up. “Give Up” should not even be a phrase used in politics – we are all here because of what we believe and that is something you should never give up on. That’s why it is so important that the Scottish Conservative Party recognise the importance of CFS. They are the young, the fresh, the new and the enthusiastic – the Scottish Conservatives need them now more than ever before. CFS could very well be the force that saves the Scottish Conservatives and leads us on to making the changes we have been fighting for in Scotland.

Surely it should just be bought under central CFUK control?

As much as I believe this to be a unionist party, I appreciate that in order to engage the Scottish electorate at the highest possible level, it is necessary to have two separate party boards; one for Westminster and one for Hollyrood. However, I am aware of a growing desire by some CFS members who have worked hard for their party, to move away from the Scottish Party and wish for CFS to come under the banner of CF, simply because they feel disillusioned with the way the party treats them. I can understand where such view points come from but am concerned such a move would create further division and cause yet more problems which ultimately help nobody and hinder the Scottish Conservative Party’s presence in Scottish Politics further. For this reason and to avoid this, I urge the Scottish Conservative Party to take CFS more seriously. CFS is the next generation and right now they are being ignored. If utilised properly, CFS could attract a whole new generation of Scottish Conservative voters. If ignored, we risk alienating a whole generation and thus creating a generational gap in the Scottish Conservative Party. The result would ultimately be the end of the Scottish Tories, something I am not willing to stand back and watch.


I have a great deal of time and respect for Murdo Fraser.

People say Scotland is lost cause and we should just let them get on with it, even if that means independence, why should party members in England care about what is going on in Scotland?

Because this is a unionist party and in a general election Scotland votes too. Traditional Scottish values of prudence, respect, personal responsibility and morality are exactly those of the Conservative Party – why shouldn’t we care about Scotland? There are still large areas of Scottish politics which fall under the control of Westminster – not Hollyrood – and for as long as that is the case we need to be there for Scotland. If we stop caring about Scotland, they might just stop caring about us come the general election.

TB is escorting ABB to the Scottish Conservatives Lunch at conference... Should get some tongues wagging...


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