Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Time for a New Leader


polling news
for the Scottish Tories.
Iain Martin
is right:
They’re getting absolutely nowhere, slowly. More than 12 years after they were wiped out in 1997, and 10 years since the launch of devolution (which they thought might enable them to rebuild) they are stuck down on 18%.

The findings will trouble David Cameron, who has attempted to make great play of his Unionist credentials. But with a Labour government in trouble, and a fresh-faced Tory leader, the best his Scottish wing can manage is 18%.

Remember, in what will likely be a closely fought election campaign, every seat counts. For context: Thatcher secured 31% of the vote in Scotland in the 1979 election that brought her to power. Her party had 22 Scottish seats. Now it has one. On 18% it’ll be lucky to do any better than that.
This poll will make for very depressing reading for a lot of extremely talented PPCs that the Party has north of the border. Although these candidates are pretty much powerless to do anything about the Holyrood grouping and the leadership of the Party in Scotland, noises need to be made. Tory MSPs need to take a long hard look at these figures and what they can do to help the image of the Party in the eyes of the Scottish voters. A refreshed an invigorated grouping in Holyrood could gain more attention and thus more traction for the Scottish Party as a whole.

While Annabel Goldie has many fine qualities she is clearly not leading the charge effectively. While many like her personally, the numbers tell a different story. Any course of action need not be brutal, merely pragmatic. There are some very talented potential successors in the Holyrood grouping who could hit the ground running.

A change at the top could be the very catalyst required to restart the fight back north of the border.


Man in a Shed

Having belonged once to the Aberdeen South association I can tell you Scots Tories are the salt of the earth.

However, ever since Brown and his Scottish cabal decided to break up the UK to create what they thought would be an internal Scots Socialist play ground ( and if you look at where the votes go in Scotland they were not far wrong), the Conservative party has been on a loser up there.

What's needed is the fiscal responsibility adding to devolution, and a separate party North of Berwick. The CDU/CSU solution.

It's also time for an English Conservative Party. David Cameron's offer to always sell out the English to save and be passionate about the Union is a busted flush, sadly.

The underlying problem is that very few English Tories understand the reality of Scottish politics. And the current Scots party doesn't want to face up to them.

Faceless Bureaucrat

@ Man in a Shed

Wise words MIAS - the 'Union' is dead and Cameron must come to terms with this fact. It can only be a matter of time before the EU tells us to stop the 'occupation' of the 6 Counties in Ireland and we will have no argument against their demand (after all, we have signed the Lisbon Treaty, so resistance is futile).

One good thing to come from an English Conservative Party would be that it could halt the march of populist protest Parties like UKIP and the BNP and possibly neutralise to some extent the rise of splinter groups like the English Defence League.

Question is, does Cameron have the balls to countenance it?...


I'm not a Tory myself, but I have a lot of respect for Annabel Goldie. Respect, which I must add, I do not have for Tavish Scott and Iain Grey.

I think I'd broadly agree with Man In A Shed when he says there is a need for separate Tory parties. It's a problem the Labour party have faced as well - the issues that Scots face are not the same as the ones down south and we don't want the same solutions as down south.

The Lib Dems get round this by having a federal party structure which allows them greater flexibility. The Greens have a completely different party and policies from the Greens down south and an agreement not to cross the border and of course, it's not an issue for the SNP.

Returning to the original post, I get the impression that Goldie reflects the opinions of Scottish Tories much better then Cameron does. I find her quite appealing as a leader, whereas Cameron's happy-clappy demeanour and Blair-esque blue-skies thinking horrifies me. I'd rather she her here then some some 'Cameron-lite' choice or a two-bit backbencher like Grey or Scott.

Ollie Garkey said...

I think Goldie is doing the best job possible considering thatcher's legacy.

If you look at Labour party supporters who've been disgusted with Labour policies, they defected to the Tories in the 70's, and felt like Thatcher bit the hand that fed her.

They felt betrayed.

Now, there is ample reason to once again be disgusted with Labour. Just look at the fisheries policy Labour allowed. But the Scottish people remember Thatcher, and it's a painful memory.

And there's a new party, well, new in the sense that it's viable: The SNP. Because John Major was right when he made his 72 hours to save the Union campaign: devolution would give the SNP and PC a route to governance. Many saw this as anti-Scottish, continuing Thatcher's perceived legacy.

Noting all this, Goldie's 18% isn't a pittance. It's remarkable.

Anonymous said...

I think that Scotland is the last refuge of the "shy tory" when it comes to polls.


You seem to be suffering from a bout of politician's logic, TB. Something needs to change, here's something that's a change, let's do it.

Goldie is probably the greatest asset the Conservatives in Scotland have, considering the Scottish public's apparent lack of engagement with Cameron. I've seen very few better Conservative politicians in recent years. If you really must have change, may I suggest it is central office and the backbenchers in the Scottish Parliament that are shaken-up.

For my part, I suspect the Tories will be in the wilderness in Scotland for a good fifteen or twenty years yet before we can even think of returning to pre-1997 levels of support. In the meantime, modest gains, developing the younger generation of the party, detoxifying the Tory name in its less-popular constituencies and, above all, remaining competent-looking and credible should be what we focus on.

PS - Faceless Bureaucrat is clearly a nutter.

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