Annabel 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. Rumours circulated throughout the period of the campaign that Cameron and his advisors had scant regard for the abilities of Annabel Goldie and her team and moves were afoot to replace her regardless of the outcome of the election.
But Cameron had been badly advised. Annabel 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 brought benefits to Tory constituences including the much vaunted “Townscape Heritage Initiative” regeneration scheme.
Winning over her more uncompromsing senior colleagues had not alway’s easy, but she was invariably able to persuade them to her view. At the time of the SNP proposal to freeze the “Council tax” which 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 is 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. As leader Annabel was lumbered with a Party that lost it’s way in Scotland and it is doubtful it will ever recover lost ground. She on the other hand would always be guaranteed a seat in Holyrood.
But Cameron’s plans were being progressed regardless. The Tory Party leadership in Scotland, (including Cameron’s bag carrier Mundell) were actively planning for a future, (not including Annabel) with a number of theory driven slick Young Turks (including Ruth Davidson) in Glasgow University.
The Scottish Conservative Party was plunged into a fresh crisis last night after it emerged that, effectively, it has been cut loose by its parent party in London. Since the general election, senior figures in the UK Conservative Party no longer consult or communicate with their Scottish colleagues. As a result, Scottish party leaders have been virtually shut out of all decision-making roles and they are no longer invited to top-level strategy and policy meetings. Indeed, the isolation of the Scottish party has reached such a pitch that Scottish leader Annabel Goldie has not spoken to David Cameron since the election, while SNP First Minister Alex Salmond has 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 the country to its coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats. The increasingly dysfunctional nature of the relationship between the London and Edinburgh arms of the Conservatives has come to light as the party is grappling with its most damaging publicity since Cameron came to power.
North of the border, the party appears to have become divorced from its Westminster colleagues. On at least two occasions, major policy decisions have been taken by Conservative leaders in London in direct contradiction to Scottish Tory policy. On both occasions, sources say, 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 have revealed that this latest crisis within the Scottish party is a direct result of its poor showing in this year’s general election in which it won only one seat. A party insider said: “There is no communication between the party leadership in London and the leadership in Scotland. Before the election, Annabel 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.”
As a result, there are two Scottish MPs in the Cabinet, Moore and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, but no Scottish Tories. Goldie admitted yesterday that she had not spoken to the Prime Minister since the election, but she 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. Goldie said: “There is not a disconnect. We retain very good communications.” She added: “I am in the position where I can communicate with him in his office any time I want and, 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 to communication to him if I need to use it.”
“I have never seen her so up for the fight,” one senior Scottish Tory said this week. Well, she needs to be. Goldie may think she has been through the toughest six months of her time in charge of the Scottish Conservative Party, but life is about to get even harder. Goldie is leading a party that took a battering from the electorate in May and is now virtually estranged from its parent party in London. Not only has she to lead this demoralised group of activists and MSPs into the Scottish Parliament elections, but her party also has to make substantial progress. If not, she will be finished as leader. Goldie was pilloried after the Scottish Conservatives’ dismal showing in the general election. The return of one seat was nothing short of a disaster for a party that was sweeping Labour aside in England.
If the Conservatives do well at the Holyrood elections next year and add to the party’s 17 MSPs, Goldie will (probably) have done enough to silence her detractors. But any slippage will signal the end of her leadership. Goldie made two telling remarks. She made it clear that David Cameron had led the Tories into this year’s general election, not her. The implication was: “It wasn’t my fault we only got one seat, it was David Cameron’s.” The other was to point out that the Tory vote in Scotland went up in this year’s election. She then championed the rising numbers of councillors and MSPs as evidence of progress. The point that critics have been making repeatedly is that minuscule improvements are just not good enough.
The Scottish Tories failed to win all the seats they had targeted, if they had done so the Conservatives would have an overall majority and would not be relying on the Liberal Democrat coalition. So she carries the blame for that. It is certain that should the Tories fail to win enough seats at Holyrood next year, Annabel will take the blame regardless of how determined she might be to carry on. http://www.scotsman.com/news/scots-tories-cast-adrift-by-david-cameron-1-1368826
Fifi-La-Bonbon Fifi-La-Bonbon Fifi-La-Bonbon Fifi-La-Bonbon Fifi-La-Bonbon
Miss Goldie said: “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 Annabel 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