Alex Massie

Shocking Tory Development in Scotland

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Blimey. Here's a turn-up for the books: in a bid to avoid being thought Europe's Most Useless Political Party the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party has done something sensible. They have decided that running an election campaign with the unofficial slogan Vote for Us, We're Only Interested in Opposition is a dumb idea.

Hence, as Scotland on Sunday reports, the party is preparing (albeit and as usual tentatively) to take the bold step of declaring that they will countenance the idea of serving in government at Holyrood. Of course, the Tories would still require an invitation to the dance if they're to sit in government in Edinburgh and it may well be that Annabel Goldie is no-one's idea of a good date.

Nevertheless, overdue and minimal as this is it counts as progress for the poor Scottish Tories. The logical coalition is an SNP-Tory hook-up though this ought not to be considered likely. More probable, perhaps, is some kind of grand coalition involving the Nats, the Tories and the Lib Dems. Of course "more probable" ought not to be confused with "likely." Perhaps "more doable" is better.

A Labour minority ministry still seems the most probable outcome of an election which will, again, be a miserable auction in which Labour and the SNP battle to see which party can "protect" poor Scotland from the evil-workings of the Westminster government.

This, it must be said, makes it unlikely that the Conservatives will be in power at Holyrood any time soon. Nevertheless, ending the self-imposed part of their isolation is a useful first step (and another minor triumph for Dave: without his example at Westminster I doubt the timorous Tories up here would have considered this shift.) Now all they need are some actual ideas about what they might like to do were they - stop your tittering -  actually to end up in government.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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