Ruth Davidson has secured her place as one of the most interesting politicians in the Conservative party. In her speech to Tory conference this morning, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives had the crowd in the palm of her hand with strong attacks on the SNP and another independence referendum. She argued that the Tories are the only party representing unionists north of the border: ‘every cross in the Scottish Conservative box is a vote backing Britain and defending Scotland’s place in it’.
But the most interesting part was her compelling vision for the future of the party. In a similar vein to her comments at the Good Right dinner, Davidson argued that the Tories need to find a purpose so they aren’t just seen as the party of technocrats:
‘It is not enough for our party to be seen as decent technocrats. Adequate middle managers who will steward the economy without scaring the horses. With Labour galloping left, it would be the easy – and lazy – thing to do. It might secure the government for some time to come, But that’s not enough. Just as Labour need reminding that purity of thought is no substitute for power, so we must remind ourselves that power is nothing without purpose.
‘I don’t want us to be just the party of the technocrat. The grudging vote of competence. I want us to be the party of the thinkers, the dreamers, the reformers and the visionaries too. The zeal of the missionary, the courage of the pioneer, the ambition to lift our eyes to the horizon and say there’s a new Jerusalem we want to build and we will work towards it every day.’
Although the Scottish Secretary David Mundell received a standing ovation for his defence of the union, Davidson's address is one of the best of this conference. She isn’t an MP and is therefore not often mentioned as a leadership contender. Her performance will certainly put her on the radar of many in the party as someone to watch. Boris, George and Theresa will be glad that becoming a Tory MP in Scotland is not an easy task.