Annabelle Goldie and the months of back stabbing she suffered at the hands of her colleagues
Scottish public confidence in Unionist politicians never recovered from the many negative excesses it was subjected to by Thatcher and her successors over a long period of government and in the 2010 general election the Tory’s didn’t stand a hope in hell of gaining seats, indeed it was questionable they would be able to hold onto the one seat they had.
Adding to the disquiet rumours circulated throughout the period of the campaign that Cameron and his advisors had scant regard for the abilities of Annabelle Goldie and her team and moves were afoot to replace her regardless of the outcome of the election.
But Cameron had been badly advised. Annabelle Goldie was everything the Party needed at the time. She was well liked by Scot’s of all persuasions. No fun and games. No lies. No feigned concern. Nothing concealed. What you saw is what you got. She alone, of all the other opposition party leaders identified early on that the election of a minority SNP administration represented a fundamental change in the balance of power in Holyrood.
Her sound judgement establishing a working dialogue and relationship with Alex Salmond had brought benefits to Tory constituencies including the much vaunted “Townscape Heritage Initiative” regeneration scheme.
Winning over her more uncompromising senior colleagues had not always been easy, but she was invariably able to persuade them to her view. At the time of the SNP proposal to freeze the “Council tax” was rejected by the Labour Party she won the day for the SNP government by simply telling her colleagues “We cannot not support a Council tax freeze? We’d be unelectable.”.
She was also gifted with the ability to see through political waffle, avoiding tribal allegiances always intent on doing the right thing by the electorate regardless of political persuasion..
But Cameron’s plans were being progressed regardless. The Tory Party leadership in Scotland, (including Cameron’s bag carrier Mundell) were actively planning a future, (not including Annabelle) but with a number of slick Young Turks (including Ruth Davidson) in Glasgow University.
The Scottish Conservative Party was plunged into crisis after it emerged that, effectively, it had been cut loose by its parent party in London.
Since the general election, senior figures in the UK Conservative Party at Westminster no longer consulted or communicated with their Scottish colleagues.
By result, Scottish party leaders were shut out of all decision-making roles and were no longer invited to top-level strategy and policy meetings.
Indeed, the isolation of the Scottish party had reached a stage that Scottish leader Annabelle Goldie had not spoken to David Cameron since the election, while SNP First Minister Alex Salmond had held five conversations with the Prime Minister since he took office.
One party insider said the Scottish leadership had been “cast adrift” by Westminster, which had ceded political control of Scotland to its coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats.
The increasingly dysfunctional nature of the relationship between the London and Edinburgh arms of the Conservatives came to the notice of the public as the party was grappling with its most damaging publicity since Cameron came to power.
On at least two occasions, major policy decisions were taken by Conservative leaders in London in direct contradiction to Scottish Tory policy.
On both occasions the Scottish party had no idea what was going on before the decisions were taken and, therefore, had no chance to influence policy direction.
Party insiders revealed that the latest crisis within the Scottish party is as a direct result of its poor showing in the 2010 General Election in which it won only one seat.
A party insider was quoted saying: “There is no communication between the party leadership in London and the leadership in Scotland. Before the election, Annabelle Goldie used to sit in the shadow cabinet.
She doesn’t now. There is a Cabinet and she is not there. “David Mundell used to be there for shadow cabinet meetings, but he is not there now either. They have been cast adrift.”
Goldie and Mundell were replaced in the coalition cabinet by two Scottish Lib-Dem MPs, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore.
Goldie admitted she had not spoken to the Prime Minister since the 2010 election, but denied there was any “disconnect” between the Scottish and London parties, insisting that she had a “line of communication” to No 10 which she could use at any time.
She was quoted as saying: “There is not a disconnect. We retain very good communications. I am in the position where I can communicate with him in his office any time I want, obviously, I am not going to be on the phone every five minutes to the Prime Minister, he has an important job to do. The important thing is that I have a line of communication to him if I need to use it.”
A senior Scottish Tory said: “I have never seen her so up for a fight,” And she needed to be. Life was about to get much harder.
Goldie was leading a party that had taken a battering from the electorate and was virtually estranged from its parent party in London. She had to lead a demoralised group of activists and MSPs into the Scottish Parliament elections, in which her party had to make substantial progress. If not, she would be finished as leader.
So there it is. Goldie was pilloried after the Scottish Conservatives’ dismal showing in the 2010 general election. A return of one seat was nothing short of a disaster for a party that was sweeping Labour aside in England.
If the Conservatives did well at the Holyrood elections adding to the party’s 17 MSPs, Goldie would (probably) have done enough to silence her detractors.But any slippage would signal the end of her leadership.
Goldie made two telling remarks exposing her awareness of the devious plotting being orchestrated behind her back .
First. She made it clear that David Cameron had led the Tories into the 2010 General Election, not her. The implication being: “It wasn’t my fault we only got one seat, it was David Cameron’s.”
Secondly. The Tory vote in Scotland had increased in the 2010 General Election.She went on to champion the increased numbers of councillors and MSPs as evidence of progress.
But critics reminded her that the Scottish Tories had failed to win all the seats they had targeted. Had they done so the Conservatives would have an overall majority at Westminster and would not be relying on the Liberal Democrat coalition.
It was a certainty that if the Tories failed to win enough seats at Holyrood, Annabelle would carry the blame and suffer the consequences. The Scotsman
Fifi-La-Bonbon Fifi-La-Bonbon Fifi-La-Bonbon Fifi-La-Bonbon Fifi-La-Bonbon – AKA Kezia Dugdale
A follow up to the foregoing reported that “Fifi La Bonbon” had commented lampooning Annabelle Goldie’s dealings with Downing Street saying:
“I am in the position where I can communicate with him in his office any time I want, and Sandra, the telephonist, is always very good about taking my messages and always explains why he can’t pick up the phone as he has just stepped out of the room.
Also, he’s got a new baby. There’s no problem, no problem at all. Me and Sandra get on very well indeed. She’s just had the sitting room done, apparently, and their girl did well in her A levels.”
Comment: Fifi-la-Bonbon’s brutal lampooning of Annabelle Goldie at the time she needed support and understanding provides warning for the future. Fifi is clearly deranged and should not be given any encouragement in her views