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In Defence Of The Union 19 April 2007

Posted by David in Conservatives, Scotland, Scottish politics, SNP.
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Today David Cameron is making a speech in defence of the union. As Cameron pointed out in an article for the Telegraph, the defence of the Union must rely not just on nightmares of independence and cold mental logic, as Labour is doing as we speak in Scotland, but also on our hearts and spirits. For nearly 300 years, the United Kingdom has been a remarkable success. Britain, despite its wrongs and faults, has been on balance a force for good in the World beyond the contemplation of nations far larger. From the Common Law through to the English language, concepts of liberty to engineering wonders, this small island has a lot to be proud of.

Cameron will highlight the logical reasons – such as shared prosperity and global weight – but also the British Broadcasting Corporation, founded by a Scotsman and truly nationwide, and the National Health System, founded by a Welshman. He could add the Bank of England, founded by Scottish born banker William Paterson, Sherlock Holmes, wrote by Scottish born Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the steam engine, invented by Scottish born James Watt,the first television, created by Scottish born John Logie Baird, and the free market economist, Adam Smith.

Not to mention the thousands who have died for Britain, defending our liberty and values, and the vast majority of people who have ancestry from all over this island. We are not just three nations – Wales, Scotland and England – but one nation as well, Great Britain. As James I said, “Hath not God first united these nations, in language and religion and similitude of manners? Hath he not made us one island, compassed by one sea?”

Update: For the blog reader Dave On Fire and anyone else interested, “Niall Ferguson – Benefits Of Anglobalisation“, a short working paper. On the topic of things Scottish and British, Niall Ferguson was born in Glasgow and studied at Oxford.

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Scottish Conservatives On The Roll 16 April 2007

Posted by David in Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scotland, Scottish politics, SNP, UKIP.
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Suddenly, and unexpectantly, the Scottish Conservatives are on the roll. Their campaign so far has been nothing short of a miracle. Anabelle Goldie, who for ages seemed boring and dull, turns out to be a quad bike riding, ten pin bowling, former naughty school girl who ouzes charisma, trouncing the other party leaders in debates and interviews. The pledge not to go into coalition has proved highly popular, and the lib dem yellow paint-chart – emphasising a Lib Dem vote is a vote for Labour government – is very innovative (and true).

But the SNP are still far ahead, with Labour making the error of portraying their former Scottish deputy general secretary as an ordinary member of the public. It’s almost as if certain elements in Labour want them to lose, perhaps to derail Brown? They also continue to rely only on negative campaigning and scares of life in an independent Scotland that is inevitable if the SNP win, leaving voters feeling insulted. If they have such low opinion of Scotland’s prospects, they’re hardly the inspired optimists needed, but rather failed has beens believing in an inescapable dependency culture on a national scale.

The SNP, of course, aren’t what’s needed either. They certainly aren’t inspired or optimistic, basing their figures on magic growth, EU cash now heading East and fast depleting North Sea Oil (“It’s Scotland’s oil” they may say, but most of it’s nearer the Shetland Islands actually, time for SINP?). Their campaign is merely a glossy, GQ style sales pitch of Alex Salmond. Slogan: “It’s Time”. Time for what? As yet, we don’t know.

And bubbling under, as with all elections using proportional systems, is a plethora of small parties. There’s UKIP, the “Stop the Growth” Greens, the Scottish Socialists, and the Labour supporting Lib Dems.

So who’ll win? Who knows.

Scottish Tories Set For Divorce 4 April 2007

Posted by David in Conservatives, Scotland, Scottish politics.
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Scottish Conservatives are set to break free from London, according to Fraser Nelson at the Spectator and ConservativeHome. The Conservative Party will represent just England and Wales (possibly Northern Ireland as well) whilst the new party – possibly called the Scottish Unionist Party – will represent Scotland. This takes the party back to its pre-1965 golden age when the Scottish Unionists polled strongly, as shown in the table.

Scottish vote shares

As unionist as I am, this is the right decision. Moving to a system similar to Germany’s CDU/CSU is a big step in removing the number one problem facing Tories North of the border – namely being perceived as being in the pocket of the London party establishment. The issue of “Scottishness” should be solved by this new and fully independent party.

The two big questions, as identified by ConservativeHome, are whether Scottish members will still be able to attend party conferences, and will Scottish members be able to vote for the main Conservative leader. They believe the answer will be yes to attending conferences, but no to voting for the leadership. I believe the answer should however be yes to both, although it sadly probably won’t be.

This is because both parties – Conservative and Scots Unionist – should form one block within Parliament to share resources, work together as opposition, and of course form government. In short, permanent coalition, as before the parties formally merged. There will be differences in manifestos I imagine, and both parties will be sepperate, but working together will be vital. 

But if Scottish members are blocked from electing the overall Conservative leader, and Scottish MP’s blocked from standing, we’re swapping the “un-Scottishness” for being a permanent junior partner. The “leader” of the Conservatives in Westminster is more than just leader of the Conservative party, but leader of the opposition or Prime Minister. Therefore, if the Unionists are to be part of that opposition or government, a joint leader must be elected.

As such there should be an elected Scottish Unionist leader in Westminster, given maybe the role of [Shadow] Scottish Secretary, just as Labour elects a Deputy Leader. Then the overall Conservative & Unionist coalition leader (currently David Cameron), elected across the entire UK. There could also be elected Welsh, Northern Irish and English Secretary positions if members wished.

Separating the parties is a good idea, but a joint leader is needed. If you look at the German CDU/CSU, they jointly vote to select their candidate for Chancellor, and the same must apply to the CON/UNI set up.

Goldie Moves Towards Supporting A Minority SNP 2 April 2007

Posted by David in Conservatives, Scotland, Scottish politics, SNP.
3 comments

The Scottish Conservatives are focusing on bread and butter issues, particularly crime. This should do them well in the last 4-5 weeks of campaigning. It looks as if they are possitioning to support a minority SNP Executive…

“Finally, I want to make one thing so clear and watertight that it might be referred to as a double-glazed declaration. Our manifesto policy commitments are not for sale in any post-election horsetrading process… Other parties can cobble up deals behind closed doors. The Scottish Conservatives will enter into No Pacts and No Coalitions, we will operate on an issue-by-issue, case-by-case basis, and do what’s right for Scotland.” Annabel Goldie

If votes hinge on the Conservatives, that will give them serious power and far better press coverage. It won’t give them the credibility of being in a coalition, but then they can’t be blamed either….