Features

Everyone loves Ruth Davidson. No one will vote for her

No matter how well the Scottish Conservative leader is regarded, her party is still toxic north of the border

9 January 2016

9:00 AM

9 January 2016

9:00 AM

Minority sects are often more interesting, and more colourful, than their more popular rivals. That must explain why the Scottish Tories continue to be the subject of so much fascination. Barely a month passes without someone, somewhere, asking if this — at long last — is the moment for a Scottish Tory revival. Spoiler alert: it never is.

Logic says that at this year’s Scottish parliament elections, things should be different. It is generally agreed that Ruth Davidson, the party leader in Scotland, had a ‘good independence referendum’; generally agreed, too, that after Nicola Sturgeon, she might be the most impressive politician in Scotland. This might be reckoned a low bar to clear; it remains the case that Davidson is the first Tory in a generation who can even think of clearing it. Everyone loves Ruth; very few people will vote for her. This has consequences, not least since the Union needs a Tory revival in Scotland (and a Labour revival in England).

In theory, the votes are there for Davidson. Nearly 700,000 Scots based their ‘no’ vote in the referendum on their attachment to the Union. They might have had concerns about unanswered economic questions too, but their primary motivation was their sense of themselves as being British as well as Scottish. Most of them would have voted ‘no’ even if they believed the SNP’s promise of jam and unicorns for all. These, then, are the unionist ultras upon whom Davidson is relying in May. If they won’t vote Tory, who will?

Anecdotally, some of them will. Labour’s commitment to the Union is palpably weakening and there are some former Labour voters who are now prepared to back the last remaining unimpeachably unionist party. Nevertheless, the electoral mathematics are unforgiving: the SNP continues to poll at 50 per cent and a divided unionist opposition is likely to be routed on polling day.

The pollsters are divided on the Tories. YouGov and Ipsos MORI predict a Tory recovery (that is, they think the Conservatives might win 18 per cent of the vote in May); Survation and TNS find no evidence of this, insisting that the Tory vote amounts to no more than 12 per cent of the electorate. The pollsters cannot explain this difference and they cannot all be right.

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As recently as 1992, the Tories won 25 per cent of the vote in Scotland. That amounted to 750,000 voters. Even when, five years later, they lost their last 11 Scottish seats, they still managed to take 17.5 per cent of the vote. At no election since, whether it be for Westminster or the Scottish parliament, have they done so well. Last year the average Tory candidate won 7,358 votes.

Senior figures argue that it is misleading to focus on the awkward fact that the party’s share of the vote last year — 14.9 per cent, if you’re interested — was its worst ever performance. Many ‘natural’ Tory voters abandoned hopeless Tory candidates and supported Labour or Lib Dem candidates who were, notionally at least, better placed to stem the nationalist tide. There is some truth in this. I was one of those voters.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Tories won only 434,000 votes in Scotland last year. And that was in a Westminster election in which whatever remains of the Tory vote can be trusted to turn out and do their duty. Elections to the Scottish parliament are a different matter. The Conservatives opposed devolution in the first place and many a Tory died in the last ditch defending the unreformed Union. The party hierarchy accepted that since the Scottish parliament was not going to disappear, they’d best reconcile themselves to its existence; a hefty chunk of the Tory vote, however, has remained scunnered with Holyrood and would prefer it to disappear. In 1999 the Conservatives won 364,000 votes and 15 per cent of the vote; by 2011 so many Tories had died that the party was left with just 277,000 votes.

In theory Davidson should be able to do better than this. The problem is that her strategy’s success depends on voters altering their behaviour. Like Jeremy Corbyn, she must persuade people who do not ordinarily vote that this time they must vote.

The scale of the challenge is intimidating. If, as pollsters predict, turnout in May increases to above 60 per cent of the electorate, the Tories will need the support of approximately 500,000 Scots if they’re to win 20 per cent of the vote. In other words, nearly twice as many people will have to back the Conservatives in May as were prepared to at the last Holyrood election. I don’t suppose that’s an impossible scenario, but it still seems extremely unlikely.

The truth is that the Conservatives remain toxic in Scotland. Some 30 per cent of Scottish voters approve of the job David Cameron is doing, but barely half those voters are prepared to endorse Conservative candidates. The modernisation project has not been enough.

Moreover, in a world in which half the electorate will back the SNP, and Labour — even in its present crippled state — cannot avoid winning at least 20 per cent of the vote, it follows that once the minor parties have been accounted for, the Tories’ best possible result would see them winning approximately one in five votes.

All of this matters. The SNP are biding their time before calling another referendum. As Corbyn leads Labour into the wilderness, the Tories have a chance to govern from Westminster until 2030 even as they remain poisonous in Scotland. In those circumstances, many left-of-centre Scots might be prepared to risk a punt on independence. North and South Britain really would seem like different political cultures, no longer suited to cohabitation. That’s why Ruth Davidson and her valiant platoon of true believers remain important. But if even the twin advantages of a political realignment along constitutional lines and a widely admired leader cannot save the Scottish Tories, then one has to ask: can anything?

Alex Massie is Scotland editor of The Spectator.

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Show comments
  • douglas redmayne

    The people of Scotland won’t vote for turds so her political career is going nowhere. In any case the SNP one party state will cleanse Scotland of Tories which will be funny to watch.

    • Jonathan Burns

      Unless the turds are SNP.

    • rtj1211

      Only the people of Scotland can turn the country into a one-party State. If the SNP tries to do it before independence, the people can use Westminster to stop it. In order to do it after independence, the people must vote for it.

      So luckily for the people of Scotland, only they can create an SNP one-party state.

      If they want to vote Tory, Scottish Tory, call it what you want, they can.

      Nothing the SNP can do to stop them.

      • Sunset66

        A one party state. You mean fight and win elections against at least three other parties with a media which is 90% unionist
        Maybe these other parties could actually craft policies which are attractive to the Scottish electorate

        Keep thinking up excuses God knows you seem unable to put forward a set of policies that can win votes

  • misomiso

    Ah alex, still no mention of an independent Scottish Unionist Party?

    The reason the darling Left gives Ruth an easy time is that she poses no threat to them. If she were gaining ground off the SNP and eating into their 50% vote share you can bet that there would be calls for blood by the cyberNats.

    Cameron put the Union in jeapordy when he backed Davidson over Murdo Fraser, but then Cameron saw Fraser as a threat to staying in the EU, as he chose somebody pliant rather than somebody who could make headway.

    Very sad, but if the tory’s do badly in May then FINALLY we may have an independent party North of the Border, and our Union will be saved.

    Then will the Scotland editor write something about an indepenedent Unionist party?!!?!?! I live in hope…..

    • LG

      If you think Murdo Fraser would have made “headway” you are truly deluded.

    • MichtyMe

      An independent Scottish Unionist Party? Is that an oxymoron?
      Hope is a patriotic Right Party which embraces self reliance, determination and government with self confidence, a party loyal to the nation not the state.

  • ohforheavensake

    An astute analysis: one thing I’d add, though, is the point that political cultures in England and Scotland are already very different, & that the Tories’ weakness is a result of longstanding shifts in the the relation between the two countries. The Conservative crisis has been brewing for both our lifetimes; it’s not simply a matter of the fallout from the referendum- the Tories would still be in this much trouble if Labour, and not the SNP, were the majority party in Scotland.

    • Atlas

      The Tory crisis in Scotland was created by the sense of victimhood Scots developed during the period of industrial decline, Thatcher in particular was turned into a lightning rod for the rage that was pointed at the political class and the Tories blamed for all ills just as happened in much of Northern England. Labour benefited from this for decades but ultimately did nothing for Scotland except turn it into their own corrupt fiefdom. Ultimately all the SNP had to do was change “it’s all the Tory’s fault” into “its all the fault of the English” and through the model of devolution chosen by Labour they had the perfect vehicle. If you want an example of just how well the Scottish Parliament has worked for the SNP witness their panic when it is suggested they should get full fiscal autonomy.

      • fundamentallyflawed

        Its curious as an Englishmen to see the SNP in action.
        Pro-independence but they don’t want it (it won’t be in the next manifesto).
        Its too convenient to “blame the Tories” over every issue in Scotland than to tackle their own failings (created by their own left wing leanings) – falling education standards and increased state intervention at every level

        • Pilsnel Urquel

          Why I want independence. Accountability and responsibility. Are they not Tory principles?

        • Sunset66

          You don’t know much do you.
          They lost the referendum.

          Nicola Sturgeon just reaffirmed the goal of independence
          It’s about choosing a time when they know they can win
          Nicola Sturgeon has stated they need to see a solid majority for independence or some event which changes the current environment .
          The latest report on education is positive with some areas to be improved. Waiting times in Scotland are better than the rest of the UK now. The SNP know they must govern competently to win the trust of the Scottish people
          I suggest you research the NHS in England it’s not pretty reading . The idea that the SNP government is failing is just hogwash
          Let’s see what happens in May

      • Sunset66

        Dear god not the we all hate English people. So explain of the many who vote SNP how many hate English people. Is it 75% or 50%? And of course you can produce examples of anti English statements and speeches to back that up.
        The scots have good reason to distrust the Tory party. It couldn’t be anything to do with their policies and denegrating Scotlsnd for 2 years and their hysterical the SNP are coming lock up your daughters pitch at the last election

        Are you seriously suggesting mature educated people in Scotland vote for the snp because they hate English people.
        It’s a ludicrous argument on your part but hey most of your posts have elements of the irrational

        • Tamerlane

          All the educated Scots moved to London a long time ago.

          • Sunset66

            Wel it’s true lots left because of more opportunity

            It’s true in lots of other countries people migrate to where the power and money is .
            However you cannot deny Scotland has changed a great deal and there is more self belief than for a long time.

            It always strikes me as totally stupid for unionists to fight tooth and nail to limit powers being devolved
            Unionists running fear and smear campaigns is so counterproductive. Maybe there would be more Tory voters in Scotland if they were seen to bring powers to Scotland
            But they chose to resist and denigrate and then they wonder why scots believe they don’t have their interests at heart

          • Tamerlane

            1. I’m not a Unionist. You are most welcome to independence.
            2. So you agree with me then. All the educated Scots are in London.

          • Sunset66

            You seem unable to read despite your education.
            I said lots not all. But hey I believe there are lots of people from India living there too.

          • Tamerlane

            I must be Scottish after all.

          • Sunset66

            No , not with the quality of your posts

          • Tamerlane

            certe!

          • Sunset66

            You are far too self satisfied to be Scottish
            I believe you seek other satisfactions on your own.
            Well reading your posts it certainly seems that that would be the case

          • Tamerlane

            Too late.

          • Jambo25

            I never answer this person, Tamerlane. He is a Troll and a stalker.

          • Pilsnel Urquel

            Not me, I work at the dark star and travel home at weekends.

          • Tamerlane

            But are you educated?

          • Pilsnel Urquel

            Only during the week, at weekends I get ‘brain freeze’ and have to move back to Scotland.

          • Terry Field

            I think you mean to say ‘Are you educate’
            Plainly you are -not very.

      • Pilsnel Urquel

        You mean the ‘Full Fiscal Autonomy’ they put in their manifesto.

        • Derick Tulloch

          And formally submitted on 29 June 2015 in detail as new clause 33 to the Scotland Bill.
          http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2015-2016/0003/pro032906p.pdf

          • Pilsnel Urquel

            She thought it was ‘suggested to’ them. This is how detached some folk are from the reality of what the independence movement is about.
            Victimhood is complaining and not doing anything. Independence is about taking responsibility for ourselves, about as far from victimhood as you can get.

          • HJ777

            It wasn’t in their manifesto. Something called ‘Full Fiscal Responsibility’ (whatever that is) was.

            The amendments to the Scotland Bill were designed to be rejected. Full Fiscal Autonomy within a currency union is unfeasible as everyone surely realises by now, given the Euro example.

          • Alex

            They are the same thing and thats beside the point. They did not ‘panic’ at the suggestion, they did the suggesting.

            Perhaps you do have a case at certain Scots being subsidy junkies or whatever is implied but I find it weird when the accusation is put on pro-independents such as the SNP and not Unionists who want to stay on the teat.

          • HJ777

            Are they the same thing? Then why the unexplained change in terminology?

            They knew that Full Fiscal Autonomy within a currency union is not viable. Even Salmond has explicitly acknowledged that fact. The amendment was put forward for one reason only – so they could complain that it had been rejected.

            I did not say and have never implied that Scots, or ‘certain Scots’, are subsidy junkies. All I am saying is that the SNP is being blatantly dishonest over the issue – the idea that Scotland is somehow unfairly treated by ‘Westminster’ is purest nonsense promoted by the SNP to create a sense of injustice and resentment. Their game is transparently obvious. Scots should ask themselves why the SNP resorts to such tactics.

          • Alex

            The term was not put in a manifesto before then. The change of wording was made to wrong-foot critics. They could hardly criticise the word ‘responsibility’ could they.

            As for the rest. It was not an argument I was making. I was correcting a previous comment and was right to do so.

          • HJ777

            This explains what they meant when they switched to the term ‘Full Fiscal Responsibility’:

            http://www.scottisheconomywatch.com/brian-ashcrofts-scottish/2015/03/home-rule-fiscal-autonomy-doesnt-add-up.html

            They meant Full fiscal Autonomy whilst retaining the Barnett Formula.

          • Alex

            Where does it explain that? This seems to have been published before the term was even coined (pre-manifesto)

            FFA/FFR both require ditching Barnett altogether.. How on earth can you apply a formula to zero? All taxes would be collected in Scotland. You are talking about a wrong assumption made by SNP economists discovered by professor Ashcroft when he was analysing one economic scenario.

          • HJ777

            Oh come on.

            They invented the FFR term later to represent the thing their dishonest economic analysis had come up with.

          • Alex

            FFA and FFR are the same thing. Both words coimed by the SNP. I was following it very carefully at the time FFA was discussed right up to the moment of the manifesto. The name change was simply a political move to wrong foot Labour. It worked.

            People who support independence DONT WANT Barnett. We find it divisive and constrictive. You need to get this into your head. By all means support the Union and critique the SNP but understand Unionism is for Barnett and dependency not Scottish nationalism.

          • HJ777

            “The name change was simply a political move to wrong foot Labour”

            Wrongfoot Labour in what way? And where did they explain to the public what it was meant to mean?

            “People who support independence DONT WANT Barnett. We find it divisive and constrictive. You need to get this into your head. By all means support the Union and critique the SNP but understand Unionism is for Barnett and dependency not Scottish nationalism.”

            That’s strange, because when the SNP was claiming that with a geographical share of oil/gas revenues allocated to Scotland post-independence this would make Scotland the 14th richest country in the world, their own figures showed that they had re-allocated the oil revenue but had omitted to subtract the Barnett Formula fiscal transfers in arriving at this claim.

            So why were the SNP making a patently false claim?

            You can’t have it both ways unless you are being deliberately dishonest. You can argue for independence but then you have to accept that Scotland will be poorer, not richer, for the immediately foreseeable future due to the loss of fiscal transfers. You might be prepared to accept his, but would many Scots? Of course not, hence the lies.

          • Alex

            Is that not self evident? Labour then have to argue why reaponsibility is bad.

            The explination to the piblic was in the manifesto. Remember before then FFA was just an acronym thrown about. There was no official publication about the idea.

          • HJ777

            There was no explanation in the manifesto. It was a very thin document, to say the very least.

            I note that you don’t challenge my observations about the SNP’s dishonesty. An honest advocate of separatism should abhor their behaviour in trying to con fellow Scots on the financial reality.

            Don’t you want it on an honest agenda, rather than on a dishonest one?

          • Alex

            Yes. I am pro-independence not necessarily pro-SNP. I feel they are often dishonest with their figures and presentation. Not unlike most other political parties sadly.

            I was not challenging those arguments because I don’t disagree with them and I was sticking to the point.

          • Alex

            You are mistaking me for a rabid nationalist. I am not here to defend the SNP or their figures. I was only arguing the orginal point. Do you agree OP was talking mince about FFA? Conceed me that and I will start to believe you can think rationally.

            I am pro-indy for many reasons. I am prepared to admit there are economic risks in the short term. I think the long term benifits vastly outweigh those. I often argue that strange division in mindsets over the issue often seem to be about short-term vs long-term thinking.

            It seems you are getting flustered over ‘SNP lies’ it just tells me you are not looking at things objectivly enough. Everybody is acting dishonestly over this subject. Nationalists/Unionists, politicians, commentators, practically all of Twitter. Everybody is twisting the truth, cherry picking, ignoring contrary evidence and outright telling porkies. Welcome to politics.

            For my part I am weighing up the various sources of information as best I can, and I still think Indy is the best way forward for Scotland.

          • HJ777

            “Do you agree OP was talking mince about FFA”

            If you could translate that sentence into understandable English please, I will be happy to give you my opinion. I have no idea what you are asking.

            However, I am not really concerned with your opinion on my rationality – I don’t remember you being appointed the judge of such things. If you have an argument, let’s hear it and cut out the nonsense.

            The fact of the matter is that the SNP has been truly mendacious in many of its claims and attempts to shout down dissent. I do not recall the ‘No’ campaign being mendacious in this way – and I doubt you can provide examples. I will call mendacity by politicians wherever I see it and from whatever direction it comes.

          • Alex

            I am asking if you agree with my original point. The comment said “when it was suggested the SNP try FFA they panicked” I suggested this was a lie.

            You say you are not concerned with my opinion of your rationality that is fair enough but I do not like to debate with those I find irrational. It is too tiresome, if this conversation is to continue I would like to know your opinion. That way I can make a simple judgement.

            Secondly you say you like to point out mendacity wherever you find it. I note you did not do so with the original comment. Which is clearly a lie.

            So my point is this. Do you agree that the original point was mince (translation: nonsense). If you choose not to do so, this is a clear indication you are irrational, because it is a demonstrable lie. It will also tell me you talk a good game about “pointing out mendacity whatever direction it comes from” but really you only want to point it out when it comes from the SNP.

            So come on. Who are you?

          • HJ777

            I cannot now see the original comment so I cannot see the quotation in context.

            However, it is correct to say that FFA wasn’t suggested TO the SNP, so they could not have panicked as a result of such a suggestion.

            But it is true that they have never seriously wanted it within the union. Even Alex Salmond has acknowledged that such a thing is not practical within a currency union and they have never put forwards any economic proposals that advocate it. Indeed, as I have pointed out, their analysis assumes that the Barnett formula will remain in place. The two SNP MPs who claimed it was promised were simply lying and trying dishonestly to create an impression with the public that somehow Scotland was being short changed as a result.

            When I referred to pointing out mendacity, I was rather referring to the claims of political parties and politicians since they are asking people to vote for them. Random (often deluded) people on the internet are not.

          • Pilsnel Urquel

            Random (often deluded) people on the internet are not.
            Ok – that is fine by me. I am glad you pointed him (Atlas) out anyway in this case.

            As for FFA, it would have been a great step forward and put the Union in a far more robust place. The SNP would have been happy because it was a step towards independence, Unionists would be happy because it would have forced the SNP to put their money where there mouth was. We would have regained some semblance of accountability again in Scottish democracy.

            I agree it would not really have been possible without a period of ‘fiscal balancing’ and nobody would have bought that. I think the SNP knew they were going to have a hard time selling it. My problem with current politics is its far too much about point scoring. If the SNP and Labour and Tories were to really put their heads together they could actually have come up with something useful.

          • HJ777

            You seem to have an alter ego.

            FFA would and could not be a ‘great step forward’. It is simply unviable within a currency union as even Alex Salmond has acknowledged.

            It wouldn’t and couldn’t work – surely the example of the Euro should convince you. The Euro is a currency union without fiscal transfers – yet it still hugely constrains the fiscal autonomy of member states as, for example, Greece has discovered to its cost.

        • HJ777

          No, they invented a new (but undefined) concept of ‘Full Fiscal Responsibility’ (not autonomy) in their painfully thin manifesto.

          • Alex

            Both ‘Full Fiscal Autonomy’ and the renamed ‘Full fiscal Responsibilty’ were both coined by the SNP. The terms mean exactly the same thing. Nothing was suggested to them, it was their idea, sold to SNP voters such as myself and one of the reasons why I voted for them.

            No the idea was not well defined, it was knobbled at the first hurdle by the Tories but that is not his point is it. Point was that the SNP did not ‘panic’ when the idea was suggested. They did the suggesting.

            What can it mean huh?

  • Border Guy Scot

    Oh Dear Alex, you do get some things wrong in this article. Not everyone likes Ruth and its far less a valiant platoon, but a group of disparate characters espousing personal values that many in the electorate don`t recognise as being of worth to Scotland.

    You nearly got one thing correct in that voters abandoned the chinless wonders of the Tories and the Landed Gentry for Labour, Lib Dems and yes but you forgot the SNP who in many circles are referred to at the Ture Scottish Tories.

    Recent events tell a story, I am led to believe Ruth and Central Office are actively censoring members who disagree with their narrow opinions on subject like the “named person” etc. supporting unstable fringe groups.

    Associations and senior elected MSPs have apparently fallen out, needing mediation meetings in Northumberland Street over party finances and who controls the purse strings for campaigns.

    The SC&UP web site is a joke e.g.. Carlaw suggested that “The number of people dancing in Scotland has halved since 2007 – proof that the SNP has taken the spring from the country’s step, new figures have suggested”.

    Lamont quotes a You Gov Poll, not realising that further back in the Pages of the document stated that 71% of those polled don`t trust the SC&UP.

    It is increasingly evident that all Ruth, and her bunch are only interested is self preservation at the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary Elections, as their manifesto, as reported will be as vacuous and anodyne as usual with repeat of a great idea rejected twice already by the Scottish Electorate that we start to pay again for NHS prescriptions. When will the SC&UP realise this isn`t a vote winner.

    Scotland “Needs”, for political balance a Right of Centre Party that is trusted, that won`t come from Ruth and the gang, and for many they will vote for the SNP until one appears.

    • John P Hughes

      ‘I am led to believe Ruth and Central Office are actively censoring members who disagree with their narrow opinions on subjects like the “named person” ‘
      Is there anyone except politicians who supports ‘named person’ ?

      • Border Guy Scot

        John, I don`t know what your background is but I have many friends who work in Social Work and Education who see the common sense merits in the case and consider the stance taken by Liz Smith and the SC&UP when they deliberately refer to it as a State Guardian Scheme as both inaccurate and illogical. There have been two court of Session Decisions Supporting its introduction. If you read and believe what NO2NP says to you I feel you are barking up the wrong tree. The Court of Session in September 2015 and three Scottish High Court Judges who I presume know what the Child Protection System in Scotland entails stated :- The mere creation of a
        named person, available to assist a child or parent, no more confuses or
        diminishes the legal role, duties and responsibilities of parents in relation
        to their children than the provision of social services or education
        generally. Do I believe the judges or people who inaccurately describe the named person as a state guardian. I as a Conservative Card Holder, believe the Judges. Read the decisions for yourself, they are not though available on the , SC&UP or NO2NP website who regularly inaccurately describe the provision.

        The point I was making which is more of a concern is that Ruth and the gang(Lamont, Smith etc.) are actively censoring debate on the matter. One is for certain I wouldn`t want them to tell me what to think especially on this subject.

  • Jambo25

    The Scottish Tories have been in trouble since the early/mid 60s. They lost the old Protestant Unionist vote, in the West of Scotland with the decline of religious sectarianism. They then abandoned proper all UK Conservatism (with a big and small c) with the elevation of the despicable Heath and chums to power in the late 60s. We actually forget that the worship of the market didn’t start with Thatcher but with Heath in his ‘Selsdon Man’ period. I remember the elections of 1974 and people erupting with happiness as one Scottish Tory MP after another got canned. Thatcher merely continued and intensified the process during her tenure. At first she actually slowed the decline down but then when her policies were experienced the decline continued and the Tories collapsed in Scotland during the 90s. The real problem is that, since the 70s, there has been no UK Conservative Party in any real sense. Instead there has been a socially and economically liberal party representing the interests of London and the South East of England masquerading as the old Conservative and Unionist Party. In Scotland, The Tories cannot even don the mantle of patriotism, as virtually every other right/centre right European party can do, as they are seen as slavishly following a lead set from a clearly southern English, London based party.
    They could rectify this by showing themselves to be willing to confront the UK party in the interests of their possible constituents and Scottish fellow countrymen and women. They have, as a group, been completely unwilling to do so. When unsuitable economic policies (for Scotland) were pushed by Osborne the Scottish Tories said nothing. When Osborne came up and lectured the population, like naughty children, over the £, the Scottish Tories said nothing even though many did have reservations about the tone if not the substance of the message. During the General Election, when Lynton Crosby injected what was clearly seen up here as an anti-Scottish element into the Tory campaign, the Scottish Tories said nothing. Davidson, when questioned about it, merely smiled. Until the Scottish Tories are seen to be really Scottish they are dead in the water.
    Incidentally, this isn’t a problem for the Tories merely in Scotland. Up here its at its most extreme but the Tories are becoming a regional party in England as well. There’s still a lot of blue on the Northern English electoral map but its in very rural areas which means relatively low numbers of MPs.

    • Tamerlane

      Oh nonsense. The Tories don’t and won’t pander to the Scots sense of entitlement and injustice (and quite right too), for that the overwhelming majority of Scots bred on a diet of resentment and hatred to keep them cowed punish the Conservatives. So be it. Life is rarely fair but always just. The Tories will be knocking around Scotland long after the SNP parasites have fallen in on themselves.

    • HJ777

      Oh dear.

      And these economic polices unsuitable (uniquely) for Scotland were?

      You really do write a lot of guff.

      • Jambo25

        The tax changes in the Oil industry that Osborne made some years ago and had to change only a relatively few months later for starters.

        • HJ777

          Is that your best shot?

          Weak.

          • Jambo25

            No, simply accurate,

          • HJ777

            As, like many schoolteachers and taxi drivers, you consider yourself something of an economics expert, surely you can come up with more examples? Go on, treat us to your insight.

            At least Osborne didn’t base his economic plans on a high oil price which didn’t materialise. Even Salmond’s former adviser described the SNP’s economic plans, of which you are such a fan, as ‘wishful thinking’.

          • Jambo25

            Actually he did partly. An economic commentator on the idiot box yesterday noted that this year’s borrowing figures were likely to be higher partly as a result of the collapse of the oil price so wrong again HJ sweetie.

          • HJ777

            I agree you’re wrong again. Oil/gas revenue was only about £2bn in 2013/14 before the price crash (about 0.3% of total UK tax revenues) and lower oil prices benefit the rest of the economy (especially as a large proportion is imported) thus raising tax revenues elsewhere.

            Some economic expert you are. Where are all your other supposedly economically bad things Osborne has done which are specifically unsuitable for Scotland? Come on – you’re a retired teacher so you must know.

            Still a fan of the SNP’s “wishful thinking” economic policies are you?

          • Jambo25

            He still took OBR estimates as his base line and still has less revenue than he thought. You missed the word “partly” in my previous post?

          • HJ777

            An insignificant amount relative to overall tax revenue and balanced, of course, by the more general economic benefit (and thus tax increased revenues) of a lower oil price.

            Now where are your other examples? You seem to rank your economic expertise – as a retired teacher – highly, so surely you can do better?

            Still think the SNP’s economic promises are anything more than wishful thinking? Why is Salmond’s former adviser wrong? Please explain. I’m all ears.

  • Terry Field

    Scotland is in a hot sweat of celtic fantasy and ingrained hatred of England.
    That Sturgeon postures, does not govern effectively, that the health service there is dreadful, that the supply of fried mars bars is now rationed, makes no difference to the wodie-ones.
    Of course they will not vote for an English concept of life.
    Their loss.The place continues to age; the young leave, the shortbread factories are relocating, and haggis supplies are threatened by a shortage of stomach linings.
    Do we care?
    Of course not!
    Who goes there? Nobody in their right mind any more. The place seems full of nasty anti-English, and thus clearly racist monsters.

    • Alex

      Wow you are amazing, I imagine you are pretty sexy. Fancy going out sometime.

      • Terry Field

        I resist your blandishments with difficulty, dreaming as I do of being wode-smeared with an oily base by the agency of your knobbly knorthern knuckles.

    • IQdaRadical Thinker

      Delusional much?

      • Terry Field

        No. Clear as a bell.

    • Andrew Morton

      Thanks for giving me a laugh on a dull day.

  • Calzo

    One of the problems for Ruth is that she actually epitomises the different political cultures between Holyrood and Westminster. Political discourse in Scotland is so dominated by the centre left that Ruths Scottish Tory party have shifted to the centre such that they could be considered a reforming and modern alternative to the UK Tories who remain in thrall to the rabid right of their back bench and the Kippers. Everyone knows that ultimately however they are wedded to the toxic mother-ship of the WM party and therefore, as Alex points out, they will gain next to no traction despite having a largely likeable, reasonably sensible and moderate leader.

    • Marvin

      It seems your choice of government will be a mixture of Corbynistas, SNP, ISIS and Sharia, in opposition to a right of centre democratic mixture of people who will fail but try and get their country back from the primates.

      • Calzo

        hahahaha. stunning powers of deduction. From mild praise of a centrist leader to ISIS and some party called Sharia? Talk me through it…

        • Marvin

          SIMPLES! It is the FAR LEFT against the Right of centre. The surrender monkeys who think everyone is equal in the world until they wonder why they have been put in an orange suit, and the people who want to try and stop their country from becoming a cesspit sewage ghetto by invasion of unevolved primitive mutants like what’s occurring in Europe.

  • Alex

    With two political centres represented by Westminster and Holyrood – she will always be in the wilderness. She needs to start the pary from scratch as a right of HOLYROOD centre party commited to Union. With a new name and their own set of policies, completely autonomous but with an allegience to the UK Conservative party.

    Will it happen. Nope. Ruth has no vision to see what is needed and no courage to make it happen. Would also go against the Tories real masters. i.e the British State.

    • Calzo

      Murdo Fraser’s centre right party for Scotland. Two or three decades after indy it would have a real chance…

  • Wee Mental Davie

    I think it’s a bit optimistic thinking the Tories are sound until 2030. Toxic in Scotland and becoming toxic in the rest of the UK a little more each day also.

    I can’t believe a Prime Minister of our UK, has to resort to pleading with the EU for powers to run our own country. A massive blow to each and every one of us. Why have we gotten ourselves in such a mess ?

    Ruth is great and stands up against Nippy but no one seems to stand up for the Union and our UK identity, preferring to be vocal on PC and religious tolerances, both of which are a large part of our problems.

    I also think the Tories have ignored Labour, just like everyone ignored Scotland and the SNP. Now look at the state of things.

    UK politicians need to give their heids a shake and waken up to who and what is the priority here.

    • Sunset66

      Oh Davie you truly are mental. Don’t you realise that the Tories don’t care a damn about Scotland . They have got used to having one or two MPs at best in Scotland and still won a majority in Westminster.
      They ran a blatant anti Scotland campaign in the general election and this was worth more in votes than they could garner in Scotland
      They have downgraded Scottish MPs so it’s unlikely that there will be a pm ever again from a Scottish seat.

      The old Union Jack nationalism has been dying since ww2 . How many scots call themselves Brits first and scots second and how many English call themselves Brits first.
      The conservatives have to fight UKIP on the right they can’t be seen to try and win votes in Scotland because for years they have been saying scots are whinging scroungers

      You loyalists were sold a pup with your red white and blue nationalism . You are like the native people who sided with the empire and were left high and dry when the Brits went home . You are the past

      • Derick Tulloch

        “How many scots call themselves Brits first and scots second”
        Answer – some fraction of the 18% in the 2011 Census who self-identified as ‘Scottish and British’
        plus some fraction of the 8% who self-identified as ‘British only’ (don’t think that’s broken down between national origin)
        Compare this to the 62% who identified as ‘Scottish only’
        But that was five years ago, when support for Independence was just over 20%

        • Sunset66

          See Davie? You are an endangered species

        • HJ777

          The SSA survey contradicts your interpretation andJohn Curtice has explained why your interpretation is wrong.

          • Jambo25

            There you go again: only giving any credence to the evidence that suits you.

          • HJ777

            You really are very short of counter-arguments aren’t you, Jambo?

          • Jambo25

            No. I just read the last Census results. Much larger sample.

          • HJ777

            Read and interpreted incorrectly, as John Curtice (who, unlike you, is an expert) has pointed out. You’re not capable of understanding anything that contradicts your prejudices, are you Jambo?

            Only the regular SSAS actually asks the question and it consistently gets very similar findings. The census didn’t ask the question you claim it asked, so to say it answered it is is pure dishonesty. But then honesty isn’t your strong point is it?

            I thought you were going to treat us to your economic expertise on the subject of George Osborne’s policies being uniquely unsuitable for Scotland, Jambo? So far, you’ve come up with zilch. Come on, you’re a former teacher so you must have lots of wisdom to share on the subject.

          • Jambo25

            I’m perfectly capable of understanding that in opinion sampling size, as they say, is everyrhing. You clearly are incapable of that.

          • HJ777

            Unfortunately, you are not capable of understanding the sheer stupidity of your comment. But you are right, I am incapable of being that stupid.

            I suggest that you repeat it to a professional polling organisation and then watch them rolling about on the floor laughing. Unlike you, I actually have experience of commissioning opinion research polls and the many factors that it is necessary to get right in order to come up with accurate answers – it’s a complex business . If you think that sample size is ‘everything’ you are a complete simpleton.

            It worries me that you were every allowed near the education of children. There should be mandatory intelligence tests to filter out the dross.

          • Jambo25

            I’ve never commissioned a poll like you sweetie. I just ran a couple years ago in association with a friend who required them as evidence for his Doctoral thesis. Not mine. I was just the help.

          • HJ777

            Bag carrier to a student is about your level.

            Now, as you think that poll size is everything, how do you explain the referendum result, which agrees with the SSAS, that a very clear majority in Scotland feel (and would prefer to remain) British?

            The only thing that needs explaining is your deliberate misinterpretation of the census results. John Curtice has explained the way you got it wrong, the question is why you continue to do so. This is a question I can answer – you are so blinkered and prejudiced that you believe what you want to believe, regardless of evidence.

          • Jambo25

            They do not mean the same things. Intelligent people would realise that but you on the other hand are…….

          • HJ777

            What would you know about intelligent people, Jambo?

            But seeing as you have a nascent interest in them, let me educate you by pointing out that intelligent people can present arguments rather than simply making assertions they can’t back up with arguments or evidence.

          • Jambo25

            In your last posting though you presented 2 not necessarily connected bits of information and presumed they were somehow causally linked. There is no reason to suppose they were.

          • HJ777

            There is every reason to presume that they are, especially as the results are consistent.

            There is no reason to believe your interpretation of the census results as John Curtice, who is an acknowledged expert, and is recognised as one of the country’s leading psephologists, has said it is wrong and as your interpretation is not corroborated by any other evidence.

          • Jambo25

            Another one who has never heard the old saying that coincidence is not causality.

          • HJ777

            The aphorism is “Correlation does not imply causation” but as you are not a scientist, and don’t have any scientific understanding, I shouldn’t be surprised that you got it totally wrong.

            What it means is that correlation does not mean that one variable causes the other. However, it does not mean that they don’t have a common cause – it merely means that a common cause can’t be assumed, not that there isn’t one.

            In this case, the two results are entirely consistent, whereas your interpretation of the census is not consistent with any other data.

            John Curtice is one of the country’s leading and most respected psephologists. As you consider yourself a greater expert on polling results, please explain why he is wrong.

          • Jambo25

            I wasn’t writing about the physical sciences. Perhaps you missed that.

          • HJ777

            I didn’t miss that you got the aphorism wrong and the fact that you can’t challenge John Curtice.

            You really are an old fool.

          • Jambo25

            I just have challenged Curtice. He simply isn’t correct. The much larger sample in the 2011 Census shows that.

          • HJ777

            The sample size is irrelevant to Curtice’s argument.

            He is an expert psephologist. You are not. He has explained that the question you maintain was asked and answered in the census wasn’t. The SSAS does ask the question and provides an answer.

            Curtice knows that the design of poll questions is important. You, foolishly, think otherwise but cannot justify your view.

            “He simply isn’t correct’ does not constitute an argument. It is just you asserting that you are right regardless – i.e. what you always do. We know that you are always self-convinced.

          • Jambo25

            You’re not putting forward any justification either. You are simply praying Curtice in your support. I disagree with Curtice. The Census, with a very much larger sample (Hugely greater actually.) and once again size in this kind of thing is important.

          • HJ777

            I have explained that I agree with Curtice, and why, and that his view is supported by both the SSAS (consistently) and the referendum result.

            The census result does not support your distorted interpretation. The question you maintain was answered simply wasn’t asked.

            Curtice is a renowned expert. You are not. You believe what you want to believe.

          • Jambo25

            Fairly typical of you. You don’t like the answer so ignore it.

          • HJ777

            Completely typical of you to make false assertions and believe what you want to believe regardless of the facts.

            You are small minded bitter little man with an invented grievance. It’s pathetic in someone of your age.

      • Wee Mental Davie

        Look, you don’t get this at all. I’m an ethnic Scot – you know – one of those that the SNP wish to eliminate by dilution of our population with immigrants who have no identity. Ones who will never be Scots nor will their offspring burden, regardless. I am British. I just happen to be born in Scotland.

        I’ve lost faith in lib/lab/con and always detested the SNP. I’m not bothered by any of them. Without some serious sense, the whole of the UK will begin to resemble London over the whole country. There will be no Scotland left. It will be another multicultural zone of the EU. It will be a quasi islamic state with simply awful people. Our laws will become more and more islamic, until one day in the future, our history will be erased as if we were never here.

        This is not about Tories or Thatcher or poll tax ( which the SNP will re introduce soon under a different name of local taxes). This is about the idiotic SNP, destroying what is left of our country. They are the beginning of the destruction of our heritage and culture. It will not happen as some fear in 50 years. It will be a gradual flat spin into oblivion over a few hndred. We need to come together as as the UK and fight for our freedom from the toxic SNP and the equally toxic EU.

        No surrender !

        • Sunset66

          Sheesh . You are arguing the national party of Scotland want to dilute and then do away with Scots?
          Well that’s an unusual position .

          Well it seems no surrender loyalists have been extending their market into hating Muslims ( all of them of course ) as the hating Catholics appear to be a waning marketing opportunity.

          You do realise most people in the UK find orange loyalists some kind of mutant throwback

          • Wee Mental Davie

            Same again from yourself Sunset. You keep trying to associate me with the Orange Order. The Orange Order have nothing to do with me. They are a very well respected charitable organisation, active all over the world. They have no racial hatred in their ranks.

            Of course the SNP want to do away with Scots and everything that we hold dear. You are marxists and do nothing but divide our country. The SNP have no intention of backing Scotland. You all hold the view of a scummy ideology. This is why islam is very comfortable with the SNP. Left wing dross.

            Look at Germany. Don’t see them clapping and singing about the migrants now. Merkel has destroyed her country for ever. We remain in the EU and we are next. Open borders to the EU allow these scumbags access. We can’t stop it.

            Rather than address the decline in population via the idigenous people, they went for a quick fix importation of anyone, just like we have done. Now look at the state of our countries.

            You know, if all SNP voters had to live in Derby or Bradford etc etc, they would soon change their minds about islam. I did and I have. Waken up.

          • Sunset66

            “You are Marxists ”
            “This is how the SNP and the Tories are one and the same”

            Nothing to do with loyalists but you post ” no surrender ”
            Nothing to do with hitler but by the way sieg heil

          • Wee Mental Davie

            You’ve lost I can tell. You have to resort to Hitler.

            Just because I want my country to remain Scots and not be turned into a quasi islamic state, you compare my views to Hitler. I don’t want to kill anyone. I want sensible politics to protect our culture, heritage and religion. Scotland is for Protestants. There is no famine in Ireland anymore and plenty of space in islamic countries for muslims. What is the problem with that ?

          • JJD

            Scotland was ‘for’ Catholics, before Protestants came and booted them out. The Catholics didn’t like the Protestant influx then, you don’t like the Catholic influx now. Too bad.

          • Wee Mental Davie

            I’m only yanking Sunsets chain. I don’t dislike calf licks. Relax.

        • MichtyMe

          Hmmm, dilute with immigrants. How many has the SNP or Nicola or the Scots Government introduced into the land? Zero, Nil, Zilch, Nix, I think, to be precise. But Cameron, 600,000 last year was it not?

          • Wee Mental Davie

            Yes. This is a fine example of how the SNP and the Tories are in fact one and the same. Look at Swiney and his Conservative budget. All policies just mirror Tory policy. Of course, Labour started it all off with the vile enrichment forced on us.

        • Andrew Morton

          A kipper.

  • IQdaRadical Thinker

    You have a talent for writing comedy because that made me chuckle.

  • quotes

    she’s still my dark horse for next pm

    • Sunset66

      How can she be pm with new rules on Scottish MPs voting rights

      Actually your post is just nonsense . The Tories run an anti Scottish campaign and you think she will be their choice for pm. Laughable

      • Michael Johnston – Shetland

        The Tories ran an anti SNP campaign, there is a vast difference. SNP like to think they are Scotland , but they are not. They currently represent the views of 50% of the Scottish people, many being protest votes against Westminster generally. SNP are not proving to be very competent in Scottish Government.

        • Jambo25

          It may have started out that way but it morphed into plain anti-Scottishness and even Tory commentators like Mr Massie, here, acknowledged that. Lord Forsyth and a few other senior ex Scottish Tory politicians were less than chuffed as well. Tory activists I met in Dumfriesshire were pulling their hair out with what they saw as Tory Central Office sabotaging their General Election chances. Scottish friends (Definitely not pro SNP then but probably pro SNP now, after the General Election campaign.) living in the English Midlands definitely saw it as anti-Scottish and so did some of their English friends. Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories said nothing about it publicly.

  • davidofkent

    The Scots have done well out of the union and the Tories have always been very pro-Scotland. The trouble is that Scotland with only 5 million people but a large land area still thinks it is entitled to more than is available anywhere else in the UK. The loss of manufacturing and mining in Scotland was mirrored in wales and Northern England and was caused by worldwide competition. Scotland is clearly socialist but they will soon be given the opportunity to dip into their own pockets for the extra things they want. Had Scotland become independent last year, it would now have been bankrupt, with oil at $37/bbl and oil exploration not growing much. The Tories don’t have magic wands and nor does the SNP, as events will show.

    • Sunset66

      They did do well out of the union but times change and the days when Tories had lots of seats in Scotland has gone.
      The Tory party doesn’t even pretend to be serious about Scotland and the SNP has tapped into the belief that decisions need to be taken in Scotland because no one else gives a damn. Scotland has the same gdp per head as the rest of the UK and although all oil producing countries are toiling it would not have turned into a failed state.

      I really don’t see how the Tories are ever going to be seen as a party scots can vote for.
      Their last election campaign was about hyping up the threat from Scotland. Hardly the approach of a UK party.
      The equivalent would have been hyping up the SE about the dangers of scroungers from the NE. Oh wait they do that too.

      The empire and world wars held the union together and the Tories had a majority of seats in Scotland in 1959
      The unionists don’t have a clue how to deal with the SNP they sold out the concept of Britain for party advantage

      • Michael Johnston – Shetland

        You make some interesting points that would need careful consideration to argue against. There are some issues however where you are are off the target. The GDP is half the story, the cost of providing services in vast rural areas is expensive, hence the barnet formula. You are right that the Tories are struggling to find a way to combat SNP, although I disagree that the Tories are not serious about Scotland. The SNP are making it difficult for Tories to work in Scotland.
        The Tories hyped up the threat of SNP pulling the strings of Labour. They were electioneering, They argued against SNP policies and their promise to “Lock Tories out. The Tories were electioneering against SNP. SNP are not Scotland!

    • Derick Tulloch

      Since 1900 the population of Norway has grown 127%
      Since 1900 the population of Scotland has grown 20%
      Scotland has been a net financial contributor to the Union for every year we have records for – back to the 1890s

      • HJ777

        “Scotland has been a net financial contributor to the Union for every year we have records for – back to the 1890s”

        An assertion.

        Evidence?

      • liberalunionist

        Not true. If we ignore the £49bn cumulative deficit that Scotland’s run since 1980, we still have data for 1890-1921, 1932, 1935 and 1953. That shows that after the allocation of central government expenditure on the basis of population, Scotland ran a deficit in 1895, 1900-3, 1909-10, 1912-13, 1915-20, 1932, 1935 and 1953.

        Before you claim Wings over Scotland as a reliable source for your claims, check his data for 1912/13, 1915/16 and 1917/18. He managed to copy three years worth of data into the rows below without noticing.

        • Andrew Morton

          You are absolutely wrong in your assertion about the Wings data. In fact, if you had bothered to check the government source data you would find that these are the correct figures as supplied by the government of the day.

          It’s always a good idea to check your facts before pulling the trigger.

          • liberalunionist

            I’m sitting here looking at the government source data. To be precise, all the government source data, from ‘Copy of return showing, for the years ended 31 March 1890, 1891, and 1892, respectively, (1) the amount contributed by England, Scotland, and Ireland, respectively, to the revenue collected by imperial officers; (2) the expenditure on English, Scottish, and Irish services met out of such revenue’ (Parliamentary Papers 1893-94 [93]) to ‘Return showing, for the year ended 31st March, 1953: (1) the amount contributed by (a) England and Wales and (b) Scotland to the revenue of the United Kingdom; (2) the expenditure on (a) English and Welsh services and (b) Scottish services met out of such revenue; and (3) the balances of revenue contributed by (a) England and Wales and (b) Scotland which are available for expenditure on general services’ (Parliamentary Papers 1953-54 [Cmd. 9051]). So the question is, really: where did you get your figures from?

          • Michael Johnston – Shetland

            if you really want to understand Scotland’s current day and forecast economy have a look at http://www.scottisheconomywatch.com They conclude that The Scottish Government is in denial over the reality of the economy if Scotland gained independence. This is the view of the experts closest to the situation in Scotland.

      • Michael Johnston – Shetland

        Totally wrong! In 300 years it is only a few years mainly in the last 35 years where Scotland has been a net contributor to to the UK, due to oil. That short period of contribution is over! What is your point about the populations? Shetland currently has reasonable wealth due to oil but only has 20,000 people. Part of the wonder of Scotland is the landscape which has not been spoiled by over population, why would you want to change that. increased populations bring increased burdens on housing, jobs, benefits etc

    • MichtyMe

      If Gross Value Added, excluding oil, is used as the economic measure Scotland is the most productive part of the UK after London and SE England. Even at a low value oil and gas has value. To be independent successful and wealthy is not dependent on the oil, it is the icing on the cake.

      • Terry Field

        Gross Value Added.
        You mean making something out of nothing!!!!!
        Ha ha ha.
        You are a hoot.

      • Michael Johnston – Shetland

        Much of what you say is correct, but you overlook a very important fact, which is that it is expensive to provide services to the vast expanse of rural areas which is why we have the Barnet formula. Without the extra funding from the barnet formula Scotland’s economic’s does not add up. Furthermore there are guaranteed losses of work such as MOD related work and the probability of a significant move south for many businesses particularly in the service and financial sectors. A fact that has been established by a vast number of proficient economists. The Scottish Fraser economics stated that The Scottish Government projections, ignoring the loss of the extra funds from Barnet were “partial” at best and maybe “dishonest”. They are being generous, they are liars. Currently the South of Scotland is the second wealthiest region after SE England. Edinburgh financial sector, although damaged by the downfall of Scotland’s two largest banks is the second largest financial sector after London. No doubt this would suffer.

    • rjbh

      Wishful thinking DoK

  • david blane

    As a Scot, I’d vote Labour before I voted Tory, and I wouldn’t vote Labour in a million years.

    • Terry Field

      But we in England. revolted by your pedestrian anti-English cultural violence and downright racial hatred, you can vote for who you like – and hopefully from your own, putrid little bankrupt, fried-marsbar chomping hellhole of a state.
      Apart from that, the best of luck to you and your fishy ‘leader’.

      • Andrew Morton

        Back under the bridge with you.

        • Terry Field

          Silly silly man. Toss your caber somewhere else.

        • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

          You’re going to need a bigger bridge.

      • david blane

        I wouldn’t take it personally. Our countries have separate political cultures. In Scotland the SNP are very much the moderate mainstream, hoggers of the Cameron-Blair centre ground.

        • HJ777

          But as Salmond’s former policy adviser has pointed out, their economic policies represent nothing more than wishful thinking.

          • Michael Johnston – Shetland

            Absolutely right, but SNP supporters are in denial, they cannot come to terms with the reality.

        • Terry Field

          I only speak as I find.
          My visits there clearly expose a petty mean-minded anti-Englishness.
          Your loss.
          I do not live there; the climate is dreadful, the cities are ugly, and the food is – what shall we say – variable? For the mass proletariat, dreadful, for the small professional middle, ok, and for the feudal wealthy, excellent.
          At bottom, it is a peasant tribal place, with unhappy city dwellers who spit rage at their situation.
          I would do the same if I lived there.

          • Forbes2016

            Sadly, you are exemplifying in every what you claim Scotland to be.

            As for me? SNP supporter living in England with fabulous English-born Children, close English friends and much respect for England.

            I find the anti-English anti-Scottish rhetoric on both sides demeaning to both great nations and say far more about the individual spouting the rhetoric than it does about the nations themselves.

            The issues about union versus independence should be about national governance. We should leave the name-calling to the primary school yard.

          • Terry Field

            I do not care about your ‘fabulous’ kids, your local experience, your respect or otherwise for England.
            I exemplify no hatred, racism, nor tendency to eat fried Mars -bars. I simply observe what so many other visitors to Scotland have said. Only a week ago, some German friends returned to stay with me after a period in Scotland. Their observations?
            As soon as the local Celtoi saw that they were German, the foul anti-English rants poured forth.
            They were shocked at the bitter peevishness. When they asked why Scotland was so poor and badly run, with dreadful services, they were met with it’s the fault of the English’, or the predictable brutish aggression.
            The Scots were saved from miserable poverty by union, the lowlanders smashed the highlanders and diverted the blame to the English, and they did very well indeed out of empire; now, they dream of being Norway. But Norway is not infected with the Scottish socio-political mindset. It is conservatively run. As Margaret Thatcher would do, were she alive and properly administering the c0ck-up that is Britoland,

          • Forbes2016

            There is a lot of irony in what you say.

            1. Mentioning Scottish vitriol towards the English yet seasoning your message in anti-Scots hyperbole.

            2. Dismissing my personal experience, yet using your own personal anecdote ‘I had a friend once’ to make your point.

            This is what is so wrong about the Scots-English discussion generally: it’s anecdotal and hyperbolic, and insults both the English and Scots.

            This is aside from a lack of factual basis.

          • Thanks Tank

            You sound like an angry old man.

            I’m guessing your mother was a cold, uncaring person and your father had anger issues.

          • Terry Field

            YOU CANNOT COPE WITH RELITY AND TRY MUDSLINGING AS A DIVERSION. YOU ARE WAY OF THE MARK. I WOULD BET MONEY YOU ARE A BOG-STANDARD COMP PRODUCT, PC TO THE BOOTSTRAPS, LIGHTLY EDUCATED TO PUT IT MILDLY, POLITICALLY BIGOTED AND WET As DISHCLOTH.
            AND am not shouting, I just have too many things to do than bother with the shift key.

          • Thanks Tank

            You have lost control of yourself.

            “Lightly educated” you say.

            Look at all the errors in your comment.

            Pull yourself together man.

      • Sunset66

        You seem to be losing the plot here. You seem to be indulging in a bit of racial hatred yourself

        • Terry Field

          No.
          I see the plot clearly.
          No racial hatred.
          Just a dislike for ugly people, in an ugly situation.
          As for the diet up there, it is, if anything, even worse than I said it was.

      • Alex

        Revolted by your ‘imaginary’ racist behaviour, we are going to say some incredibly racist things, oh and by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’. Terry Field

        • Terry Field

          Silly boy. I have, if anything, understated the vituperation existing in that northern freeze-box.You have not written in English. Are you perhaps fluent in celtic and none other?

      • John

        You seem to be the one spouting the hatred my English friend.

    • Michael Johnston – Shetland

      Why?

  • Andrew Morton

    Ask yourself where the Scottish Tories’ allegiance lies and you’ll see why any revival pre independence is improbable.

    • Thanks Tank

      This is the problem for the Scottish Tories, every decision has to be made only after HQ in London have approved it.

      A party that prides itself on doing what others, far away, tell it is not one that will ever prosper.

      • Otto von Bismarck

        ‘A party that prides itself on doing what others, far away, tell it is not one that will ever prosper.’

        The SNP MPs in Westminster do exactly that…

        • Thanks Tank

          Effectively Scotland has opted out of Westminster. It is unlikely that we’ll see a more than a token Scottish MP as cabinet member again.

          They are controlled by far away Edinburgh but their electorate do not have a problem with that as they now focus on Holyrood.

          It is a problem for the Scottish Tories as it closes their outreach before it starts.

  • toasted teacakes

    In order for the centre-right in Scotland to prosper, the Union must first be dissolved: there is practically no prospect of the SNP losing power until independence is achieved, given that the 45% of Scots who are now committed to being rid of the British state have, I would suggest, little or no motivation to back anybody else.

    Such an event would also have the welcome effect of purging the House of Commons of a large bloc of almost uniformly Leftist Scottish legislators, and is therefore to be welcomed: for many of us South of the Border, even if we might wish from a purely sentimental point of view to see the Union preserved, the choice between keeping Scotland and saving England from socialism is a no-brainer.

    • Michael Johnston – Shetland

      I understand your point but 55% voted to stay with the UK so why should we give way to to the minority and destroy Scotland’s economy. Ruth is a good leader in Scotland and Tories have made up some ground. If they can achieve a reasonable results at Holyrood elections they will have something to build on.

      • toasted teacakes

        I sympathise greatly with the plight of those Scots still committed to the Union, but the fact is that, even if the SNP cannot convince the country to vote for independence straight away, such a large proportion of the Scottish population is (a) committed to that cause and, accordingly, (b) will continue to vote for the Nationalists until it is achieved, that the Union is already dead for all practical purposes.

        Scotland has elected, and will continue to elect, the vast majority of its MPs from amongst the ranks of a party that does not have the best interests of the rest of the UK in mind, and which consequently a great many of us South of the Tweed will never wish to see as part of any future UK (for which, for most domestic purposes, read English or Anglo-Welsh) Government. If Scotland is, thus, represented in Westminster primarily by a protest movement in a perpetual state of opposition, then what future is there for it as a part of the British state?

        Both the Union and the Tories were rendered permanently toxic by the actions of Scottish Labour during the long Thatcher-Major era, which successfully delegitimised the central Government in London by claiming, effectively, that the Conservatives themselves were a colonial administration by dint of the fact that they only ever held a minority of seats in Scotland. The Tories were successfully branded as anti-Scottish oppressors, and have never recovered from that point until now, and there is no reason to suppose that they ever will; and then, once Labour lost control of Scotland and subsequently found itself on the same side as the Tories in the referendum campaign, it too could be branded as the enemy by association and swept away. Consequently, Scotland is now utterly dominated by a party which is unacceptable to the English, and both the current and any future Government chosen by the rest of the UK will be presented as illegitimate North of the Border because it includes little or no representation from Scotland.

        The Scottish Tories have been more-or-less flatlining since their annihilation in 1997. I see no reason to suppose that their position will ever improve significantly.

        • rjbh

          excellent.. and yes English Tories are Anti Scottish.. its not a Political thing… more a Racist thing.

      • rjbh

        you say 55% voted to stay in the “Union”…if that vote were to be held tomorrow the figures be more likely 50/50…we were lied to by all Unionist parties… and by 90% of the Media who were backing the Unionist.. one must be prepared for the Tories, and indeed Labour and Liberals, to having fewer seats.. hopefully the Greens under a well respected Patrick Harvey will increase their numbers.

        I confess I do like Ruth she was educated at Buckhaven High.. where my wife taught.

    • Itinerant

      There is no such thing as an independent nation-sate in the EU, when will SNP supporters realise this basic contradiction?

      Leaving Westminster is one thing but wanting a “seamless transition” within the EU is not independence in any way shape or form.

    • Otto von Bismarck

      They said the same of Labour, that there was practically no prospect of them losing power and look what happened. The SNP record in government has been fairly poor and it’s starting to catch up with them, so it’s entirely possible that they’ll suffer the same kind of fate that Scottish Labour did.

      • Thanks Tank

        In electoral history changes of that magnitude only occur once in a generation.

        Just purely from Scotland’s point of view.

        Think Conservatives dominating up to the late 50s, Labour up to this decade.

        It is the structure in Scottish Labour that is now gone. Fighting the Holyrood election will challenge them, never mind getting MPs elected.

        • Otto von Bismarck

          Agreed, the SNP won’t collapse overnight, this will take a decade or more. The fallout from their rise is also still ongoing. The SNP are now the first party but we have yet to see the emergence of a credible second to challenge them. The opposition parties are divided relatively equally, and electoral logic suggests that one will eventually emerge as the main challenger. It could be Labour, it could be the Tories.

          Scottish Labour are fighting for survival; they’re aiming to come a good second in May and anything less than that will be a disaster.

          • rjbh

            Dear Otto…’a decade or more’ nearly choked on a grape..but Im delighted that there are some “Unionist” who thinks that “The Union is worth saving… good luck with that.

          • Otto von Bismarck

            ‘Nothing lasts forever. Even the longest, the most glittering reign must come to an end someday.’

          • rjbh

            such as ..the UK?

          • Otto von Bismarck

            Yes, and also North Sea oil revenues. They seem to have run out quicker than a certain former Oil economists at RBS could have imagined. No wonder they went bust…

      • toasted teacakes

        It doesn’t matter that the SNP are less than competent – actually, in a not entirely dissimilar fashion to the fact that it doesn’t matter whether or not the Tories are particularly competent in England – because the opposition they face is so ineffectual. The Nats are considered by a critical plurality of the Scottish population either to be good, or at any rate the party that is most likely to stand up for Scotland and/or the least worst of a bad bunch, and so will continue to win elections until an appealing alternative comes along.

        It is hard to think where such an alternative will come from. The Scottish Tories are cordially loathed and permanently toxic to most of the Scottish people. The Lib Dems are dead in the water. Labour still has a rump of loyal voters, but it has had its social democratic clothes stolen by the SNP and, moreover, the kind of less-well off voters that Labour really needs to win elections were disproportionately in favour of independence, and have therefore defected in disproportionate numbers to the SNP. As I have said before and will say again, unless or until Scottish Labour throws in the towel, breaks away from the central party and becomes pro-independence (and even that may not be enough to revive it,) the Nats will continue to command no less than 45% of the vote in both Westminster elections and the constituency section of the Holyrood ballot – because no other (major) party in Scotland is committed to independence, and if you are a voter who has given up on the UK and wants to leave then why would you back a Unionist party that will frustrate the one policy that you believe to be most important, and most necessary in order for Scotland to move forward and prosper?

        The SNP could order the slaughter of the first born if it wanted to – it would still romp to victory in May.

  • Maureen Fisher

    She’s a very brave woman and a very competent politician. I vote for her as next Tory leader (wishful thinking.)

    • Space 1999

      She’s miles better than Cameron. God I am fed up with the Cameron/Osborne/Johnson axis.

      Can we please have a ‘working class hero’ Tory leading the Conservatives?

      If I was Cameron, I’d appoint her as my successor, but then he’s far too arrogant and cliquey to do that sort of thing…

  • Maureen Fisher

    I’d vote for the Scots to leave – if only us English had the vote!

    • Alex

      Why ‘if only’. Should the French have the vote in our EU in/out referendum?

      • 9sqn

        The French do not have a 300 year history of shared political and fiscal union, a shared language, a shared armed forces, a shared health service, government institutions, land mass, industry, movement of population etc etc with England. Very shallow argument.

        • Alex

          Not at all. It gets right to the point of what you are saying. Who ultimatly is in control of our sovereignity.

          If the EU continues another 250 years and we have closer integration/shared institutions. Then should the French/Germans/Italians etc THEN have a say in our EU referendums after that?

          If you want a divorce, your partner is entitled to an opinion for sure but the ultimate decision lies with you. Same goes for nations.

          • 9sqn

            In fairness, I get the feeling you have misunderstood the ‘if only’ bit. The English did not have a vote on Scottish independence. I think the point is .. and I agree with it .. that we should have had a vote. The effects on England of Scotland leaving the union would have been hugely for the good I believe and we should have had a say.
            As far as the parallel with the EU is concerned, at the moment it stands at 26 countries. The effect of one nation leaving on the other 25 would be negligible in comparison. But forecasting 250 years into the future of the EU ? .. some predict it’s downfall in as many months. I predict a civil war of secession in a generation or two should we lose our sovereignty. I only wish I could be here. They don’t like it up ’em them Europeans.

          • Alex

            You do not get a say. How arrogant do you have to be, to believe that is your right to decide on another countries future. It does not matter how integrated we have become that does not entitle you to ownership. That was the point of the EU comparison.

            By all means, organise & petition for England to leave the UK. That is your right. We can move parliament to Edinburgh or Cardiff. You will have to devise a new currency for yourselves. Create new embassies around the world. Of course you will no longer be responsible for Gilbralter or The Falkland islands. You will also loose your EU membership, Nato and UN seats. You get the point.

            I also happen to believe an Independent Scotland would be good for the whole British isles. I am glad you agree but I suspect your reasons may be different. The drive for Scottish independence is about democracy, responsibility and all the good things that come from self detemination. It has nothing to do with getting one over England and I would always wish my good neighbours well.

          • carl jacobs

            Scotland isn’t an independent country. It’s part of the UK. The UK is the nation state with full and complete sovereignty over Scotland. You can call yourself an independent country, but until the gov’t of the UK recognizes your independence, you are simply practicing a form of linguistic legerdemain by doing so.

          • Alex

            Where did I say it was? On September 14th 2014 (when the original poster wished she had a vote) Sovereignty lied with ‘the people’ as they were the ones making the choice. To suggest that that would still be the case if the franchise was extended to the whole UK is a joke. No referedum would have been ratified on those terms.

            In short I am not arguing Scotland is an independent country. Never was. I am arguing that OP’s has NO right to choose the destiny of others.

          • carl jacobs

            You ask …

            Where did I say it was?

            You said …

            You do not get a say. How arrogant do you have to be, to believe that is your right to decide on another countries future.

            And this in response to 9sqn saying …

            The English did not have a vote on Scottish independence. I think the point is .. and I agree with it .. that we should have had a vote.

            England and Scotland are both part of the same country – the UK. He wasn’t suggesting that he decide “on another countries future.” He was asserting that he should have been allowed to participate in a decision about the future of his own country. The fact that “No referendum would have been ratified on those terms” is utterly irrelevant.

            Scotland is not a sovereign entity. The people of Scotland do not possess the sovereignty to decide who rules in Scotland.

          • Alex

            This sounds a little bit like the ‘argument from authority’ fallacy. I.e you are saying how ‘it is’ without justification. It is does not mean it should be.

            Sovereignity is simply where power lies. Nothing more, there is no certificate, no ‘world authority’ who defines these things.

            “Scotland is not a sovereign entity. The people of Scotland do not possess the sovereignty to decide who rules in Scotland.”

            On Sept 14th 2014. The people were. They did have that right and they made just that decision. This, I am afraid, is a point of inarguable fact.

            What you mean to say is, “They shouldn’t have had that right”. Thus disagreeing with David Cameron, Alex Salmond, Ed Milliband, John Stuart Mill, George Orwell, Thomas Jefferson and pretty much any right minded political Scientist from the last 300 years.

            Why shouldn’t we have been given the right to choose our own future? For allowing the rUK a vote would certainly have invalidated that right?

          • carl jacobs

            In one sense, my argument is is definitional. The very fact that Scotland demands sovereignty is proof that Scotland does not yet possess sovereignty. To whom does Scotland make supplication for its sovereignty? To Westminster. Why? Because Westminster is the sovereign government over Scotland. For Scotland to become sovereign, Westminster must relinquish (or be made to relinquish) sovereignty. When Scotland voted on 14 September 2014, it did so not on its own authority but at the sufferance of and by the authority of the sovereign in Westminster. Just because Scotland received such dispensation in the past it does not necessarily follow that Scotland is entitled to receive such dispensation again in the future. The sovereign can do as it wishes. That’s what it means to be sovereign.

            You are correct when you say “there is no certificate, no ‘world authority’ who defines these things.” That is why Scotland is not entitled to rule itself simply because it would prefer to do so. The world is full of people who might desire some form of sovereignty but will never get it. If Britain refuses to ever again provide Scotland with a second referendum, no entity will come along to slap Britain on the hand. No court will compel Westminster to act on behalf of Scotland’s alleged right to self-determination. Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom in perpetuity.

            Why shouldn’t we have been given the right to choose our own future?

            Your ancestor’s determined your future for you and bound you to it. Whether you like it or not, you are subjects of a sovereign power by virtue of that decision, and do not have an autonomous right to change that relationship. Scotland submerged its existence into the UK, and not just for those living at the time, but for all Scots from that time forward. Scotland is like England part of the same country – the UK. That is why sqn9 is quite correct to demand his right to vote on the fate of Scotland. That part of the UK is as much his country as it is yours.

          • Alex

            Firstly can we kill the straw man. I am aware of the current location of my national sovereignty, this was never in debate. I am not suggesting Scotland is currently a sovereign nation and have not done so at any point. Lets please tie that off now. No argument there.

            “When Scotland voted on 14 September 2014, it did so not on its own authority but at the sufferance of and by the authority of the sovereign in Westminster. ”

            Many will disagree that Westminster is the Sovereign of the UK but that is beside the point :)

            Again I agree with most of this but one point, The moment Westminster (well the UK) handed that power to be decided by a plebicite, it effectively gave away its Sovereignty to the Scottish people. On September 14th the people of Scotland handed it straight back. My point still stands ‘at that moment’ the people were sovereign. How they gained that power, whether it was given or not and by what authority, is irrelevant.

            On to the second point.

            “and do not have an autonomous right to change that relationship”

            Not sure what you mean by ‘autonomous right’ do you mean ‘automatic right’?

            I disagree. I am a democrat, at heart the Scottish independence movement is a democratic movement. I believe that all nations have the right to determine their own status. This right is not automatic but dependent on a large enough will from its citizens as was given in 2011.

            I realise that the UK is, to a lesser extent also a nation but on this occasion it was not under the UKs mandate this was a Scottish undertaking, a Scottish mandate and the participants should have been drawn only from among those who lived within the borders of that nation.

            Whilst me and 9sqn may share the UK and should both have equal say on its future. He does not have a say on Scotland any more than I would on England.

          • carl jacobs

            I am not suggesting Scotland is currently a sovereign nation and have not done so at any point.

            I believe you have said that by implication, but I will henceforth accept your statement of intent as fact. Fair enough.

            My point still stands ‘at that moment’ the people were sovereign.

            Agreed. It was a catastrophic mistake for Parliament to give Scotland that referendum for just that reason. But give it they did.

            I believe that all nations have the right to determine their own status.

            This notion is exactly what I meant by “autonomous right.” I was referring to the idea that a self-defined nation according to some self-defined criteria can demand sovereignty by right of its mere self-defined existence. Who gives that right? From where does it emerge? The idea is historical nonsense, and in Europe it is becoming dangerous. Europe is sub-dividing into little principalities at the exact moment it needs mass. Little states are vulnerable. They occur when peoples don’t feel threatened. In the process they make the overall area weak and indefensible. The whole is after all not nearly as strong as the sum of its parts.

            The UK is not a nation to a lesser extent. It is the fundamental nation below which no sovereignty exists beyond its consent. It is free to set whatever terms it may chose upon a referendum. If it wants all citizens of the UK to participate, it is free to do so. If it wants to allow each council in Scotland to decide for itself on independence, it is free to do so. There are no rules that tie the hands of the sovereign in this case. And no precedent is binding upon it.

          • Alex

            Ok I feel we may have veered somewhere else now, these are interesting points but all pretty much new.

            It was not a mistake to give Scotland a referendum. Ruthlessly witholding power against an insurgence is never a wise move never mind an ethical one. There is plenty of historical and modern examples of this. I think we will have a living example in the next couple of years, very close to our own. Spain followed your favoured approach with Catalonia. Lets just see how that pans out.

            In regards to the UK being a ‘lesser nation’. I only mean that in terms of definition. The UK is certainly a greater state but it is a poor excuse for a nation. Being the state (the fundamental entity in which no lesser sovereignty exists) does not give it any greater claim to nationhood. Sovereignity is fickle, to suggest the UK is a greater nation because that is were power lies is misdirection.

            A nation is a difficult thing to define but by most definitions Scotland and England always qualify. We have well known borders, shared history and culture, institutions and infastucture. Most important is Scotland and England exist as ideas amoungst their citizens. The fact so many of us see ourselves as Scottish or English is the most important and robust signifier of nationhood. Far fewer see ourselves as British and ‘United Kingdomish’ is not even a word.
            In defining a nation, Ernest Renan suggested the idea of indivisibility as being hugely important something where Scotland and Engand have a far stronger claim than UK.

            The UK is a poor nation by many definitions. Which is why it will always have difficulty holding on to its Sovereignty.

            Finally your point about the Balkanisation of Europe. I agree larger entites are important for peace and prosperity. I disagree that simply attempting to merge nations is the answer nor is it wise to prevent any robust claim to national sovereignty. Hogmogination of culture is just as fascististic as seperation. We just need a framework in which to allow each autonomous nation to prosper. History has shown us that the glue for that framework is something as simple as free trade and a common market. In our case that framework is the EU.

          • 9sqn

            By gaining independence, you would be directly affecting the future of England as well as Wales and NI. I would accede to your argument anywhere else in the world. But the UK is unique. As Carl Jacobs, far more eloquently than I ever could, puts it, Scotland is not a sovereign nation. Scotland chose to forgo that in the 18th century. The ramifications would be huge for Scotland as well as the Rest of GB. The RoGB is entitled to a say.

          • Alex

            Yes but once more I am not arguing that case.

            I am saying that on the day of the referendum the people had sovereignty. As for that one moment they had the power to decide their fate. Sovereignty by definition is simply where power lies. Do you disagree with that?

            Do you feel the rest of the EU should have a say on the upcoming in/out referendum. Whilst I will admit the binds are not quite on the same level as the Union. The arguments are essentially the same. We have ceded some sovereignty to Brussels, other EU nations WILL be affected by the result.

            I would be keen to know your answer and, if you disagree, your arguments why. What is different about the two situations other than time and scale.

          • 9sqn

            Arrogant. Pots and kettle methinks ! It is Scotland who have called to leave the Union, not England. It has nothing to do with ownership or determining the future of another country. Scotland is a part of the UK for which the result of a split would greatly affect England. For us not to have a say is, for me, wrong. Ironically, had England been given a say, I believe you would have got your wish.

          • Alex

            You keep saying this. Ha ha ironicly England would vote to get shot of you. I don’t believe the majority of English people think this way or are as mean-spirited as you. Everyone I know, including my wife,her family, my workmates have never given me that impression and instead tell me they would be sad if the Union broke up but understand the reasoning.

            That is beside my point. Your thinking is so ingrained (the result of a lifetime of imperialism) it proves, yet more firmly why independence is so necessary. You do not get to make choices for others, you are entitled to an opinion of course but the ultimate choice is a question for the Sovereign people of Scotland.

            There is no pots or kettles here, I would not dream of voting on an English, Welsh or NI referendum if they chose to have one. The very idea of wanting to do so seems almost hilariously arrogant to me.

          • 9sqn

            A ‘lifetime of imperialism’ ? My ‘thinking so ingrained’ ? Are you mad? You have the arrogance to suggest that as an Englishman you are able to judge me as a person. I have spent several years cohabiting between here and Glasgow, my fiancée is Scottish. I have friends there I love. But I know Scotland and it’s England-hating, England-blaming culture well. You have in all but name independence now. You have more say on England’s affairs than we do yours. I would love us to be shot of it.

          • Alex

            You have failed to answer my argument. Just a lot of ranting.
            1. Independence is not about anti-englishness.
            2. Why should you have a say on a county where you do not live.

            If you do live here that is quite a different story. New facts that would change my mind. But as it stands as a person living somewhere else, why should you have a say on another countries affairs?

          • HJ777

            “But as it stands as a person living somewhere else, why should you have a say on another countries affairs?”

            That is what happens in the EU and the SNP don’t want to leave the EU, so I’m not sure that I understand your argument.

            The concept of this is very simple. Pooled sovereignty has some advantages but that means people outside a geographical area having influence on some policies that affect that area (and vice versa).

            We might discuss the desirable extent of pooled sovereignty and the drawbacks but we all accept the pooling of sovereignty to some extent, otherwise we would keep all breaking government down into smaller and smaller geographical areas – counties, towns, villages, individual houses.

          • Alex

            “That is what happens in the EU and the SNP don’t want to leave the EU, so I’m not sure that I understand your argument.”

            You are (I believe deliberatly) misunderstanding the argument. There is a difference between

            sharing day-to-day decisions – which is done by Governments and making a decision to ceede sovereignity by entering into a Union – which must only be made by people.

            The UK joined the EEC by referendum. It was ONLY the people of the UK that made that decision not anyone in Europe. Please do not try to fudge the argument.

            “We might discuss the desirable extent of pooled sovereignty and the
            drawbacks but we all accept the pooling of sovereignty to some extent,
            otherwise we would keep all breaking government down into smaller and
            smaller geographical areas – counties, towns, villages, individual
            houses.”

            Yes I agree, I absolutly accept that people need to delegate certain rights to an administrative group in order for society to function. I also think there needs to be larger and larger such groups responsible for differents areas. I believe in the rights and responsibilities of the individual, of local councils, of Scotland and the UN and the EU. Believe it or not I even believe the UK has its uses.

            However, the best unit for a state which governs economic and fiscal policy, defence and taxation is the nation. The nation is where people direct their allegience, it is the heart of the social contract between citizen and state. Devolution absolutly perverts that, independence is the best fit.

            I happen to believe that the best unit for Government to function is the nation.

          • HJ777

            The EU isn’t just about ‘sharing day-to-day decisions’ between governments.

            There are all sorts of competences that have been ceded to the EU – and these are backed by legal force. If it was all just consensual ‘decision-sharing’ why the need for QMV? It doesn’t matter whether you are pro-or anti-EU – it is indisputably the case that EU member state governments have no choice but to abide by various EU decisions and policies – or face legal action.

            Incidentally, the SNP wanted monetary policy set in London post-independence and accepted that they wouldn’t be able to decide fiscal policy either without a constraining agreement.

          • Alex

            That is still beside the point. I am talking about a plebicite to change our current arrangements not the arrangements themselves.

            As for your incidentally. So what? I am not the SNP. I do not have to defend their strategy or actions. I am pro-independence which usually involves voting SNP as of this moment but it is not the same thing as being pro-SNP.

          • HJ777

            So you also want to leave the EU?

          • Alex

            I think that is for another discussion.

          • HJ777

            Your argument is inconsistent unless you do.

          • shona long

            Then what is the point? England is so much bigger, collectively Scotland is outnumbered. Our larger neighbour has absolute control over our sovereignty, which no people should be expected to accept.

            You are at liberty, to hold your own Indy campaign though and be the ones to leave the Union. Many people seem to have acquired a degree on antipathy towards all in Scotland. Time you all amalgamated , formed your own party & campaigned for it. Much more effective than creating, futile divisions between our two nations.

    • Thanks Tank

      England has 85% of the seats in Westminster and a massive majority of the civil service are English as well.

  • JabbaTheCat

    As long as the SNP are allowed to remain the sole distributors of UK centrally collected taxpayer money north of the border, then the majority of Scots will keep voting them back in like clockwork.

    If the situation were changed so the SNP have to levy Scotland’s revenues directly from the Scots, then given the SNP’s typical socialist inability to live within their means, in all probability the SNP would be voted out the next Holyrood general election…

  • dep

    i would like to see Ruth Davidson as leader of the Conservative Party in Westminster.

  • RB2

    My prescription to save the union: move the capital of the UK and its government and associated apparatus to Glasgow. Scots feel more enfranchised and part of the union, Salmond/Sturgeon can no longer bang on about ‘Westminster’, moves politicians’ gazes beyond SE England.

    Would also help with London property prices and overcrowded transport system.

    Agree also with suggestion that Davidson should be a potential leader of the Conservative party, although impression of most talented Scottish politicians coming to England is an issue (moving capital to Glasgow would again partially address this).

    • nae a belger

      Well if BoJo etc. are to be believed London(and the SE) are successful due entirely to their own dynamism and as such it shouldn’t matter to much if they were to lose the Capitalship.
      After all England has had it for 300+ years. Time for the other party to the Union perhaps?

    • Craig

      It would be unattainable Ruth Davidson leading the UK Tory Party or even being PM. Because without a shadow of a doubt, EVEL divides MPs into two categories – those representing English constituencies, and everyone else. Until now, no MP in the House of Commons has ever been prevented from voting on any bill. And while the Tories have handled it cleverly so that that’s technically still the case, those votes will now be subject to a veto on which only England’s MPs have a say.

      Regardless of the merits or otherwise of the move in its own right – it’s hard to dispute the injustice of when Scottish Labour MPs voted to impose tuition fees on English students, for example, knowing that their own constituents wouldn’t suffer, although EVEL solves a problem that in reality barely exists – what it unquestionably means is that no MP from a Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish seat can realistically ever again be the Prime Minister of the UK.

      Any such PM who brought forward a bill, voted on it, and then had to stand helplessly and impotently by as English MPs vetoed it would be a laughing stock and a lame duck. They would look absurd. The “optics” of the situation, as charmless pundits are fond of saying these days, would simply be untenable.

      Much the same would apply to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretaries of State for Health and Education and the Home Secretary, who oversees non-Scottish justice. In other words, most of the great UK offices of state would be de facto out of bounds to British citizens representing three of the four “nations” of the Union.

  • Suriani

    The Scottish conservative right is so dyed in the wool unionist, tied to a constitutional arrangement that is become ‘old hat’. They might readjust to the new dispensation and be an independentist democratic party of the Scottish right but have they the balls to do that? On current evidence none whatsoever. Consequently it deserves to go the way of the dodo.

  • Itinerant

    The Tories have been demonised in Scotland, ‘Tory’ has become a pejorative- the SNP play on this sentiment for all its worth and compound it with a nebulous anti-English sentiment.
    UKIP get the same treatment.
    I have heard from too many SNP supporters to list here, accusations of waycism, for any criticism of SNP policies- they’ve learned that lesson from Labour very well indeed.
    Vilification instead of rational debate- the pro-EU way.

  • Thanks Tank

    Time for the Scottish Tories to break fully from the mothership and aim to be the centre right of the Independence movement.

    It is the only way they’ll ever be a serious political force.

  • Thanks Tank

    Ruth’s problem and the Scottish Tories problem is that they will always be seen as secondary to the concerns of the South East of England.

    The Tories have little concern for the North of England, it is a hard sell to convince voters that they have any care for them in Scotland. Their focus does not lie there and that is fair enough.

    Ruth can either remain a supporting manager or she can be a leader.

    If the latter then it means a complete split with the Tories, be a sister party in Westmin, a new name and only focus on Scotland. Forget what happens in other places, like a normal party would.

    • g978

      The Tories do have concern for all areas of England. This intellectually lazy recycling of the notion that the Conservatives are the party of SE England only. If that was the case they wouldn`t have 331 seats. They have the majority of seats in Derbyshire – the geographically centre of England. They have strong positions in the East of England, East Midlands, West Midlands, South West, and some seats in the NE and NW (including Osbornes seat).

    • HJ777

      And this “little concern for the North of England” manifests itself how, exactly?

      Is it the higher public spending per head?

      I think that most politicians tend to have concern for all parts of the country regardless of how right or wrong they are about any particular policies.

  • Ben Marsden

    There’s a real problem in the Scottish psyche. It’s a really small-time mentality. It’s hard to explain without resorting to calling them stupid.

    I’ve met 16 year old Scots who decry the Tories and even Margaret Thatcher. Yes, kids who weren’t even born when she left office, are still banging on about Thatcher, the poll tax etc. It basically gets handed down in the family. Just as religion can be handed down, so does anti-Tory sentiment in Scotland where the small provincial mentality reigns.

    The Scots view the Tories as an English party. It’s very hard to change that image in a people that are stubborn and pig-headed.

    There are two things that need to happen for this trend to change. The Tories should not treat Scotland like a lost cause. keep showing interest, keep making it important. The other thing is time. It’s going to take at least another generation I suspect before the Scots remove the chip from their shoulders.

    • jdchristie

      The Tories need to find some talented candidates for Holyrood before there’s any hope of a revival. The talent is so waver thin that Ruth Davidson could be elected leader as soon as she arrived at Holyrood. The Tories badly need to find MSPs who don’t come across as smug and dim.
      To be fair to Davidson she’s probably the Scottish party leader most normal people would be happiest to have a few drinks with in the pub. Actually running the Scottish government is another matter.

      • TheRealHenBroon

        Fluffy Mundell has just blown it just when you thought he had pulled it of!

    • OldPete

      Scottish Independence will remove ‘the chip’ on Scots shoulders.
      Ruth (Panzer Commander) Davidson unfortunately heads a party that less than 15% of Scottish voters support.

      • Ben Marsden

        I think you demonstrate the small-minded Scots perfectly.

        • OldPete

          I think your attitudes only confirm that you are not willing to accept the opinions of other people not looking through your Tory eyes.
          If anyone is small minded it is people with your limited knowledge of Scotland and the SNP.

    • Thanks Tank

      It is impossible to view the Tories as anything but a South of England and rural areas.

      Even English Tories admit that.

      • Ben Marsden

        I maintain it’s the small-minded attitudes of those up north that’s the real stumbling block. Part of that will be because of geographical distance from the real seat of power – but the mentality is the real issue. Tories could offer them free Irn-Bru and tablet, they’d still vote for the SNP who’re increasingly looking like a party full of idiots, racists, anti-semites and economic illiterates.

        Imagine if they got independence with oil prices as they are. We’d be paying hand over fist to keep them afloat financially. Disaster of a party and disaster of a psyche up north.

        • http://weourselves.com/ Christian Wright

          Certainly Ben, idiocy, racism, cultural illiteracy, narcissism, and political cluelessness, do seem to be your forte. Not often one encounters such a rich spectrum of comorbid pathologies outside a clinical setting.

      • toasted teacakes

        One could just as easily turn that on its head and say (quite correctly) that the Conservative Party is popular in England (where it won 41% of the vote, not quite the Nats’ 50% but still very healthy) and it pinned the Opposition back almost entirely into the inner cities. Not only practically the whole of rural England, but virtually all of the smaller cities, the towns and suburbs throughout the Midlands as well as the South, and most of outer London as well, turned blue. Oh, and they also had their best GE in Wales since 1983.

        The notion, falsely believed by many Scots who have increasingly little interest in what takes place in the rest of the UK (and peddled by a lot of Leftists to boot,) that the Conservative Party is nothing more than a colonial project directed from the Home Counties, should be rejected. Go and look at the electoral map of England from last May if you do not believe this. Draw a horizontal line from the Wash to the Welsh border, taking in most of the Midlands as well as East Anglia and all of the South, and there is now almost nothing left of the Opposition outside of the conurbation around Birmingham, and inner London. How big do the Tories have to win NOT to be considered merely a niche grouping representing the Surrey stockbroker set? Perhaps, with what’s left of Labour now in the hands of the Corbynite lunatics, we may have a chance to test that hypothesis in 2020?

        Anyway, the Tories are a spent force North of the Tweed but have reasserted their position as the natural party of Government South of it. As with the SNP hegemony in Scotland, things might, of course, be very different if there presently existed a plausible rival for power. Except that there isn’t one.

        • HJ777

          One in six Scots votes Tory.

    • victor67

      The problem being when your funded by London Hedge funds and you serve multi-national companies as the Tory party do.
      Even half decent human beings cannot thrive in such a nest of vipers.

      Example Cameron voting the Head cutters of the House of Saud onto the UN Human rights council to keep everything sweat with BAE systems.

      • HJ777

        They are not funded by London Hedge Funds. Donations from such funds only represent a fraction of Tory party income.

        And what is supposed to be wrong with hedge funds anyway? They are interested in whose policies produce the greatest economic growth because that produces the greatest investment returns. How is that a bad thing for anyone?

        • victor67

          Perhaps the Scots have missed how those privately educated city speculators are striving tirelessly to improve their lives and not just enrich themselves and their wealthy clients.

          • HJ777

            Bakers strive tirelessly to enrich themselves – they don’t bake because of an innate desire to feed others. Nevertheless, others benefit because they get to buy the bread and the bakers pay taxes as a result.

            You should try reading Adam Smith – a great Scottish economist. It seems that few Nats have.

            You seem also to resent anyone who has had a private (i.e independent) education. If you’re representative of what state education is turning out in your neck of the woods, thank goodness for private education.

  • http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/ Peter A Bell

    I’m not sure if anybody is at all impressed by the rather imaginative tributes to Ruth Davidson with which we have been regaled of late. To my admittedly not entirely impartial ear, they ooze the breathlessly over-anxious, oleaginoulsy sycophantic tone of some party spin-quack’s efforts to rehabilitate a disgraced politician. Or, perhaps, the strenuously overenthusiastic gushing of a shopping channel presenter flogging something that is more promotion than product.

    However, Alex Massie has a job to do, and a large part of that job is talking up the British parties in Scotland – this being the vaguely positive, and very subsidiary, strand of the British establishment’s otherwise entirely, grindingly, deplorably negative anti-SNP propaganda effort. Credit where it is due. Talking up the British parties in Scotland is no easy task.

    Obviously I don’t agree with Alex Massie’s flattering assessment of Ruth Davidson. Nor am I persuaded that she is “widely admired”. That sounds like one of those concocted “truths” that get repeated in the British media until they are absorbed into the cosy consensus that mainstream journalists mistake for established fact and thence, it is hoped, into the public consciousness. My own impression of Ruth Davidson is of someone promoted somewhat beyond their abilities. She is saved from being entirely out of her depth only by the fact that opposition politics in Scotland is a very shallow noetic pool. Consisting, as it does, of little more than feeding the floor-sweepings of party politics into the “SNP BAD!” sausage-machine, it’s a role which makes few demands on the intellect. If Ruth Davidson has a talent at all it is for making it look to the casual observer like she’s waving not drowning.

    Mr Massie is, however, right to be sceptical about the much-heralded “Tory surge” being promised by Davidson. Uncharacteristically for a British nationalist commentator, he asks the pertinent question as to what might be the source of this surge. He concludes that “she must persuade people who do not ordinarily vote that this time they must vote”. Which is a bit like Kezia Dugdale dipping in the magic money pool to find the resources to fund her latest foray in search of the comedic potential of policy-making.

    If Davidson’s only hope is that those extra votes will come from where no votes ever came from before, then it is hardly worthy of being called a hope; it would more appropriately be termed a delusion.

    There is one possible source of at least some of the additional votes that Davidson will require in order that the result may be spun as the promised surge. And in order that she may be hailed a “winner” by those of her admirers with no sense of irony. I refer, of course, to the hard-line unionists among traditional Labour voters whose devotion to the British state and/or hatred of the SNP usurpers of their entitlement is sufficient to induce them to set aside whatever it is that passes for their principles and vote for the supposedly toxic Tories.

    I foresee the “Great British Hypocrisy” of the election campaign being the British parties whining about “divisive” politics and banging on about the need to set aside the constitutional question while chasing the fanatical ultra-unionist vote with a barrage of tawdry jingoism; rose-tinted nostalgia; strident militarism; union flag-waving; and royal baby dangling. I anticipate a ramping up of irresponsible attacks on Scotland’s institutions and public services. I expect the rhetoric of torrid “blood and soil” British nationalism to be markedly more explicit and extreme even than it was during the first referendum campaign.

    I see the prospect of a campaign by the British parties which harnesses all the perverted talents for deceit and vituperation that characterised Project Fear an rouses them to every greater effort in desperate defence of an established order that is threatened by a wave of democratic dissent being channelled through the SNP.

    The hope of a Tory surge in May lies in a reckless appeal to fanaticism. British Labour in Scotland will dumbly allow their anti-SNP campaign to be defined by the Tories, just as they did during the 2015 Westminster election. It will not be pretty. In the aftermath, I look forward to Alex Massie telling us that Ruth Davidson had a “good campaign”.

    • HJ777

      Waffle and pomposity does not imply intellectuality.

      Exactly the opposite, in fact.

      • shona long

        And this particular Bell, rings with plenty of that on a regular basis.

    • TheRealHenBroon

      Well said Mr Bell as ever nail head direct hit.

  • jeffersonian

    The problem isn’t Ruth, who by all accounts is an excellent Tory leader in Scotland, the problem is Scotland itself: the cradle of Adam Smith and British capitalism has been turned into a wailing and whinng state of dependency, where normal expectations regarding performance and probity in public bodies are suspended and hard left Socialists rule the roost. The country’s political life is suffused by statism, collectivism, and all the out-moded economical models which England broke free from in the 1980s (all hail the great Lady T). I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Unionist, but I am beginning to wonder whether Scotland is worth the while.

    • Border Guy Scot

      Woo someone does not like Scotland do you? From our perspective we see the 10s of Billions being spent in the South East of England to make your life better in Little Englandshire, and yes on the back not only of Scotland but the working C1s and C2s of the UK north of the Watford Gap, who you are taxing disproportionately to fund your life style and property prices.

      • Clive

        …taxing disproportionately…

        Please explain.

        The SouthEast of England has a population about 3 times that of Scotland, so it is likely to spend more on services.

    • shona long

      You think the SNP are “hard left socialists “?

  • Kyles Flodda

    Typical opinion of the metropolitan elite. They like this right-on former BBC scribe because her views are perfectly aligned with theirs – pro mass immigration,homosexual marriage, “multiculturalism” , man made climate change. She even shared a platform with militant homosexual group “stonewall” where their spokesperson called the Bishop of Glasgow a “bigot” insulting practically ever catholic in Scotland. The ordinary person will not vote for or her on the faux conservatives.

    • ohforheavensake

      People in Scotland like her. They won’t vote for her, many of them: but they like her.

    • Thanks Tank

      If the Tories ever get 2 MPs in Scotland or ever reach a 1/3 of the SNP it will be one wild week of celebrating at head office.

    • shona long

      What’s wrong with a homosexual person standing on a Stonewall platform, where the Bishops views insulted them ?

  • David Illingworth

    I “think” the tide is turning at last. It may seem that the SNP are impregnable, but Forth Road Bridge -> MP scandals -> education -> Police etc etc will cause cracks in their support sooner or later.

    On the Tory side of the equation, Gay Marriage -> National Living wage -> Increased Personal Allowances -> 2,000,000 jobs -> economic growth etc etc mean that no one should be ashamed of voting Tory.

  • http://www.kenbell.info/ Ken Bell

    You can tell a lot about a Scottish politician from the cruel nicknames that their enemies bestow on them. Needless to say, those enemies are all in their own party, so let’s give a warm round of applause to whoever created “Gnasher” Sturgeon or “Fifi” Dugdale.

    The best that anyone can come up with for Davidson is either “Ruthie” or “the tank commander,” but neither of them really carries any sense of total hatred or contempt that a good political nickname should have.

    The reason is that nobody really cares who runs the Tory party or what goes on within it. The party has a half life in Southern Scotland, in the villages where Miss Jean Brody went to retire, but it is an irrelevance for the bulk of the population.

    • ChuckieStane

      Kezia’s “Fifi” is all her own creation – her username was “Fifi La BonBon” in a previous life as a regular on The Scotsman’s message boards.

      • Jambo25

        Fifi was a very unpleasant poster.

        • TheRealHenBroon

          and an equally unpleasant leader of London Labour in Scotland

          • Jambo25

            I think she is mainly just out of her depth. She is one of a line of SLAB leaders who have been the same. While I might not be a major fan of the Scottish Tories (To say the least.) it is undeniably true that they have had a better level of leadership over the past few years. McLetchie, Goldie and Davidson have all been better than their SLAB counterparts. Their problem is the party they lead.

  • shonshu2

    They just parrot what comes from Westminster. Where’s the mention of self-sufficiency, wealth creation, job creation, stable government, reliable finances, fully paid up membership of the family of British nations and access to all the benefits that British citizenship offers. That’s not some half baked nationalist fantasy but empirical political reality that has been proven over time and tested by great upheaval.

  • Clive

    I admire Ruth Davidson. The cartoon does not do her justice, she is a lot better to look at than that. She radiates friendliness whereas the picture looks a bit surly.

    She is stuck with a toxic brand. Political branding accounts for a great many voters and the Tory brand was long since destroyed in Scotland. Mostly by neglect.

    If she revives their fortunes even in a small way she should be a candidate to succeed Cameron.

    • Shadenfreude

      “She is stuck with a toxic brand”

      I think you’ll find she’s as toxic as the brand…even IDS thinks the cuts to welfare have gone far enough, Ruth Davidson does not!

      The Tories will never be revived in Scotland.

      • Steve

        2016 election results in and your name is so relevant it hurts.

        I’m no fan of the tories but the irony IS amusing.

  • TheRealHenBroon

    The cartoon looks like Anne Widicomb after a night on the tiles.

  • jjaayyzz

    The Author of this article should resign. Serious error of judgement and incorrect facts and analysis – no place for this level of failure in modern journalism.

  • Steve

    Following the 2016 Scottish elections the author of this opinion piece I hope is reflecting on the folly of being so sure in political predictions!

    Not an easily foreseen result but still. Never say never.

  • JP

    Alex Massie last seen running down street wearing nothing but birthday suit.

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