Alex Massie

The Limits of Cameronism

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It stops at the Tweed. Dave was in Glasgow and East Renfreshire yesterday on the Scottish leg of his 36-Hour-Dash-To-Save-the-United-Kingdom but, while symbolically useful, it won't have done him or his party that much good north of the border. Today's Scotsman poll puts the Tories on 17% in Scotland.

More remarkably, the Scotsman finds that Brown has a +4 approval rating in Scotland while Cameron endures a -2 rating. I can't help but feel that many of my compatriots are employing a double standard here. As Cameron put it:

"Of course it is always frustrating when you are not always getting through."

"I believe in the UK and I will always fight for a Conservative recovery in Scotland. I think there are many, many people who share Conservative values: the importance of the family, importance of enterprise, passionate about Scotland and the UK, who are instinctively Conservatives."

In many ways, then, this is a phoney election up here and the real test will come at Holyrood next year. At present the SNP still lead Labour 34-31 on the constituency vote and the numbers, if repeated on election day, would most probably result in a minority Labour ministry in Edinburgh. If that happens then relations between London and Edinburgh are, I'd hazard, likely to be worse than they will be if it's a Tory-SNP affair.

Nevertheless, if Britain as a whole is nervous about change this year, Scotland is utterly resistant to it. A land of make believe and kilted unicorns in which every child receives a tartan pony. Or something.

No wonder that, over at the Caledonian Mercury, Hamish Macdonell points out that though the logic of their editorials suggests they should endorse the Conservatives neither the Scotsman nor the Herald have chosen to do so, preferring to sit on the fence for fear of alienating their readers.

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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