Systematic Implantation of Britishness in the Minds Of Scots – This is How They Did It in the 1940’s





The British view of Scotland 1938-1957

The vexed issue of the relationship between nationhood and the Union pervades recent Scottish historiography, much of which has focused on the kinds of nationalism that developed in response to perceptions of the British Empire.

Throughout the twentieth century political commentators delineated the political, social, economic and cultural landscape through which Scotland’s relationship to the United Kingdom may be understood.

Their analyses contributed to defining a frame of reference through which “Scotland” would be envisioned, an imaginary largely generated from within by Scottish historians discussing “our” accommodation to or rejection of Britishness.

It may prove instructive to compare such inside stories with external notions of Scottishness, these latter ranging from racist caricature, through invented traditions, to academic accounts of Britishness itself.

The ensuing discussion argues that in the emergence of a documentary way of viewing the earlier twentieth century, there exists evidence of a popular British conception in Westminster of Scotland within the union.

This article considers the role of Picture Post, in its time the UK’s most popular photo-weekly, in visualising Scotland during a period of significant economic and social change after the 1930 depression and prior to the advent of mass television.




It explores how the magazine constructed a journalistic space through which Scotland’s encounter with modernity could be understood by the wider nation state. The research involved a contents analysis of many articles and photographs alongside readers’ letters and editorials, and assesses the combination of image, narrative and dialogue in creating perceptions of Scotland.

Picture Post sought to map ordinary lives while implicitly reforming society. Yet, in focusing upon its innovative means of capturing “a new social reality: the domain of everyday life”, via “the punchy radicalism of the photo that shows and the caption that tells”, critics neglected some of its more conservative aspects such as a rather banal imperialism.

When one recent commentator remarked that Picture Post “ventured forth into strange landscapes to try to present to its readers a varied world yet one that all people could feel at home in” he is referring to the sense in which England was that home – it was “strongest in capturing the native strengths of English life.”

The “we” being addressed were always its predominantly English readers. To this extent, its absorption with British national character is one that over-rides and enfolds the delineation of Scotland and the Scots – they are not “other”, but differently British.






Consciousness of Nationhood

Hungarian refugee Stefan Lorant, having edited four German and one Hungarian picture magazine, became founding editor of the British Weekly Illustrated (1934) and Lilliput (1937) before introducing Picture Post in 1938. Prior to this, pictorial publications (Illustrated London News, Sphere, Tatler, Sketch, and Bystander) had catered only to the aristocracy.

Staff were mainly recruited from European anti-fascist political refugees and the editorial content of the publication, up to 1945 emphasised the political significance of its editorial connections, continuity and control.

In 1945 the ownership of the Picture post changed. The new owner supported the concept of a mixed economy welfare state and welcomed Attlee’s Labour victory. However, by 1950 editorial support had swung back firmly to the Tories. There then ensued a period of “vacillating market strategy, frequent changes of editor and mounting losses”, forcing the magazine’s eventual closure in 1957.

Whilst these factors assist the reader clarifying Picture Post’s editorial preoccupations, they reveal no clear ideological breaks in a portrayal of Scotland which consisted of the themes of Empire and Identity.






The depiction of Scottish history was evident only in articles such as those concerning institutional differences from England and coverage of occasional pageants. In the main, it was a narrative conveying the residual strengths of the British Empire, with an increase in royal visits suggesting “concessions to combat the perception of Scotland’s diminishing nationhood.”

Because of its adherence to the overarching sense of Britishness, no coherent idea of Scottish national identity in or for itself emerged. Instead, Scottish articles were conveniently subsumed under a handful of stock categories, each of which played a part in the representation of British culture, in the Geertzian sense as “the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.” The “we” here was an English one that looked at Scotland.

In the years before, much boils down to the presentation of stereotypes: picture stories about the kilt, ships being built and launched, and miners coming from the “filth of the pit” to “the row of mean, sordid houses”, of “grey fishing villages.” In sharp contrast there is the scenic beauty of the landscape. And there is Glasgow. So Scotland in the round is imagined rather dichotomously, either as a place of “grave beauty” and “wild, infertile districts such as the Highland [deer] forests”; or it is the home of scandalous urban poverty, appalling housing and rickets.




Symbolism of Crown Authority

The symbolism is clear from depictions of George VI opening the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow and the richly ceremonial images of Queen Elizabeth’s 1952 trip to Edinburgh.

A photo-essay of her rain-sodden voyage in the Hebrides was rather less formal, although the opening line of text served to remind readers of the ritual aspect: “To go to Scotland in August has been a habit with the Royal Family since Queen Victoria’s time.”

“Bed Socks for a Queen” sought to make the link between everyday working life in Scotland and the wardrobes of the grand: “Through five generations, this factory in Edinburgh has been making quality footwear for monarch, soldier, sportsman and glamour girl.”

Meanwhile, the effort to convey an impression of Anglo-Scots unity led to some extraordinary tweaking of the historical record. A wartime propaganda piece juxtaposed photographs of Fort George with images of Culloden Moor where the names on the stones are the same names which label wooden crosses in the sands of the Egyptian desert now.

The men of the Highland Division – the men who stormed the Axis lines at El Alamein – are the kith and kin of the clansmen who rose for Bonnie Prince Charlie in the ’45 … neither the men nor the lands they live in have changed … they’re fighting for the same age-old Highland cause.


The saddest part about the Battle of Culloden is the fatalities on either side– nearly 2,000 Jacobites were killed. Only 50 died on the British side.



Scottish military stories were few, although articles about clan gatherings, Highland games, and the aforementioned kilt, in conflating “Highlander” with “Scot”, provided a spurious sense of national singularity.

Unsurprisingly, discussions of a separate national identity were few during the war years. However, an intermittent dialogue around nationalism was ongoing. Some Scots blamed Westminster’s dismissal of independence claims for Scotland’s manufacturing industry falling into dereliction.

Yet, railed Compton Mackenzie embracing the Scots audience, “it is our own fault”; so long as “we” submit to London control, we can only blame ourselves for industrial decline, unemployment and rural depopulation.

His 1939 article stressed growing political support for the Nationalists, sporting a photograph of graffiti with the caption “few Englishmen have heard much of the discussion on Home Rule for Scotland – but a plea for it covers almost every bridge on the Edinburgh-Glasgow road.”

Mackenzie’s article unleashed a slew of correspondence. Some questioned the wisdom of publishing material suggesting British disunity in the face of impending world war, blithely adding that “Scotland sends its best to England and we are glad to have them”.

But political nationalism resurfaced very quickly in 1945. Responding to a line in the King’s speech at the opening of the first post-war Parliament that “the special problem of Scotland” would gain ministerial attention, the Nationalist John Kinloch described how the country’s greater resources, output and manpower were accompanied by greater unemployment, poverty and death rates, a predicament he attributed to “Scotland’s subordinate governmental position.”

When subsequently the devolution minded Scottish National Assembly drew up a Covenant supported by thirty-six percent of the Scottish electorate, Fyfe Robertson remarked that “the English press can almost be accused of a
conspiracy of silence” for ignoring important constitutional concerns.

His subsequent investigation asking “Are 2,000,000 Scots Silly?” reported “a new liveliness and confidence largely due to a new awareness of nationality.”

Despite Robertson’s claim of “massive” English indifference, the article sparked a rush of letters, an edited postbag being published under the heading “The Question That Has All Britain Talking.”

For all this, the next month, as “Queen Elizabeth of Scotland” rode in state up the Royal Mile, a decidedly unionist Picture Post praised the protective loyalty of the Royal Company of Archers, contending that “If the Scottish Republican Army were to start any trouble they would soon resemble a row of over-patriotic pin-cushions.”


Elizabeth was never crowned Queen of Scotland

Sport, Arts and Entertainment

Sports coverage as existed tended towards elitist pursuits – deer stalking and grouse shooting, yachting, rugby union, and – guaranteed to captivate visually – skiing.

Despite its mass popularity, and, indeed, its importance as a lighting-rod for the solidarity of skilled workers, football received scant coverage.

Until a 1955 initiative which saw the launch of “A Great Scottish Football Series” profiling all the major teams in successive issues, the only stories are a piece considering the precarious survival of amateurism, and two negative articles about fan behaviour. “The Football Ticket Stampede” (1952) attempted to explain an incident when 12,000 Glaswegians waiting for tickets for the England v. Scotland game ran amok.

An English sports journalist noted that the Rangers v. Celtic match was traditionally considered “an opportunity to get rid of your empty bottles and vent your religious bigotry.” His article drew indignant responses from many Scots, some accusing the author of being anti-Celtic, others anti-Rangers, others simply arguing that in highlighting the Old Firm’s routine rivalry he was promoting a caricature. “He airs, in true English fashion, the old lie that civil war is our national pastime.” Outside Glasgow, argued another, “people go to see a football match, not two teams representing different religions.”


Moral and Social Issues

For a country supposedly steeped in Presbyterian culture, discussion of religion was rather thin: a photo-essay on the parish kirk of Burntisland, showing “the whole history of the Reformation made permanent in stone”; a quirky tale about the Arbroath padre using ship-to-shore radio telephones to entertain fishermen; and a story about the activities of industrial chaplains questioning the contention that “the Church has lost touch with the workers.”

Nevertheless, complemented by articles on the Iona community’s mission “to bring Christianity to the workers of Glasgow”, this struck a tone very much in sympathy with the magazine’s visual ethos, where locals were pictured engaging in social activity.

Commentary on social issues ranged from health and education to youth crime and immigration. In a debate conducted via the letters page concerning the scourge of “young thugs”, a reader commented give one family a house with modern conveniences; another a room in which there are no sanitary arrangements, in which plaster is falling off the walls and people are forced to sleep four or five in one bed.

Which will be the readier to conform to social laws? Which will produce the delinquent children? This is glaringly obvious in Glasgow, where housing conditions are the worst in Scotland and criminal figures are the highest.

The problems of the “swarming tenement” were being dealt with, but “not always imaginatively” through re-housing schemes lacking in social amenities, as the image of the violence-prone slum continued to cling to the city. Some Glaswegians protested that this was distortion, others that “slums are not an excuse for filth”, while “I’ve had it drummed into me that England is the most democratic country in the world. I find it hard to believe after seeing those slums…. Thank you for opening my eyes.”


Tenement collapse



Post-war responses to social medicine were nevertheless redolent of an innovative approach so that although, for example, a doctor attributed Scotland’s singular failure to show improvement in tuberculosis mortality to “scandalous overcrowding in insanitary, badly-ventilated and sunless houses” and lack of hospital accommodation, Picture Post could show people being encouraged to attend mobile X-ray units using incentives such as raffle tickets and images of futuristic infirmaries.

Elsewhere there were attempts to dispel detrimental cultural stereotypes, with, for instance, the reputedly “inferior” Scottish diet called into question. The education system was revered as being rather better than
England’s. “Little Scotland, with a population equal to Finland, still sends forth from her highlands and islands a steady stream of talent to rule the Empire. This is because she has possessed universal education since the end of the 17th century … and courses of University standard in village schools.”

Similarly, despite Glasgow’s razor gangs, a decline in violent crime, compared to a rise in England, was attributed to differing domestic practices and values: “early discipline in home and school is stricter, the home is a tighter and better-functioning unit, and what is left of regular church-going and Presbyterian morality is still potent.”

In stark contrast to the claustrophobic poverty of the slums the wartime sense of rural Scotland as distant panacea is evident from an advertisement placed by railway companies reading: “What do you seek for your 1940 holiday? A mountain retreat? A lochside resort? A seashore playground? Go to Scotland, where solace comes to weary minds and balm to fretted nerves.”

While similar evocations studied the text of advertisements regularly taken out by bus and ferry companies and holiday resorts, there were also features on yachting on the Clyde, the diverse delights of Arran, the new pastime of pony-trekking, and school adventure holidays. Such escapism was highlighted by photographs of spectacular mountain scenery, majestic sea cliffs and snowbound landscapes.

“Scotland is a lovely place for wildness and beauty, but not in its towns … such a waste to have all those open and often wasted spaces and such huddled towns”, wrote one correspondent.

By 1945 readers were suggesting that the “private wilderness” be handed over to ex-servicemen to farm – “Why does the Government talk about emigration to the Dominions, when Scotland is almost vacant” – and, indeed, land settlement schemes were being developed. The question was posed: “Why can’t the Highlands … be opened up for the Gorbals dwellers?”

“I went on a tour in the Highlands and the conditions are awful”, added another correspondent, “deserted shielings and poverty-stricken crofts, next to mansions whose owners only come in the grouse season and take no interest in their poor tenants”, while a third cited “appalling” unemployment figures and referred to “one long tale of misery” since 1745 with “huge areas denuded of people” to make way for sporting estates.


Crofters’ houses, Stornoway, Lewis, Western Isles, Scotland, 1924-1926




Reconstruction and Modernity

During the inter-war years the Labour Party “pushed the notion of a democratic and radical Scotland which had been under the heel of a corrupt aristocracy … The Scots were a democratic and egalitarian people.”

But the Party did not betray any lasting nationalist commitment and in the immediate post-war years Scottish developments were very much regarded as part-and-parcel of Britain’s wider economic renewal.

Picture Post published a “Plan for Britain” in January 1941. The modernizing vision of “rationally ordered sites and spaces” was embraced by Tom Johnston, appointed by Churchill in February 1941 as Secretary of State for Scotland.

A Labour stalwart, Johnston was “a giant figure …promised the powers of a benign dictator” went on to set up some thirty-two committees and developed planning perspectives in concert with the various socio-economic issues.

Johnston’s single most successful venture, the Hydro Board, was designed to alleviate a British fuel crisis while promoting industrial recovery, re-population and electrification in the Highlands.


Tom Johnston. Father of Hydro power in Scotland



Power generation carried much symbolic weight in the push for reconstruction. However, initial proposals were strongly opposed. A graphic feature on the Glen Affric scheme set the alliance of “beauty lovers” fearing the loss of sanctuary, holiday resort and sporting preserve against the plight of local people.

While the text conveyed a good deal of technical detail, economic and political, regarding the progress of hydro-electrification, its human dialogue came from conversations with the local crofters. Subsequently, a reader wrote in to re-iterate the stark contrast between the lovely landscape and the “abject poverty” and “backwardness” of its inhabitants.

“New hope for the Highlands” ran another article, as “Highland glens light Highland homes.” With dams “surprisingly hidden in the hills”, aqueducts and pylons were “a small price to pay for new prosperity” and relative national efficiency, the more so as a UK fuel crisis loomed.

Re-forestation and ranching added optimism, yet with “roads inadequate beyond belief”, “archaic farming methods” and “progressive deterioration of morale and opportunity” the Highland economy remained precarious, albeit that the sight of Highland cattle presented “A Highland Idyll.”






In January 1955, Picture Post released a special supplement. “Festival Scotland” was both informative and promotional, a shop window of the nation’s attractions and advertisement of its successes.

It provided a potted inventory, incorporating articles on religion, the arts, nationalism, food, fishing, Highland games and Gaelic, but also shipbuilding, shopping, manufacturing, the Scottish joke, history and national identity.

In a foreword, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh noted that he regarded the Edinburgh Festival as “the focus of the post-war revival of Scotland.”

For the tourist, there was advice on “where to go and what to see” from the Secretary of the Scottish Tourist Board as well as guidance on “How to see Scotland”, each itinerary “a gateway to romance” in places “where the dolce far niente of the Mediterranean is matched by the quiet Celtic ways and gentle manners.”

Similarly, Nigel Tranter stressed the urgency of building a Forth river crossing, whether a bridge or a tunnel: “right in the heart of industrial Scotland, precious hours are wasted while cars, lorries and ambulances wait for overworked ferry boats.” Doubtless these writers added weight to debate – much nationalistic, much eccentric yet there is something of the feel of a patrician coterie pontificating from their shared literary quarter in New Town Edinburgh.


Dalmellington, Ayrshire



Nevertheless, a certain gritty realism remains apparent, for instance in a fine portrait of Dalmellington. Here much is redolent of the emerging community studies tradition in British sociology, with its analysis of social segmentation, gendered mores, statistics of religious observation, and anthropological, almost colonial distancing – “Even the “natives” can be sub-divided, for the men who have come down from the now abandoned hillside hamlets … still cling together. You can see at the local dances how much Dalmellington is a man’s world … the young men stood in large clusters talking to each other. There are 1,709 adult communicant members of the Church of Scotland.”

The daily dominance of the mining industry is evoked in the accompanying pictures and their captions, which highlight the day-shift waiting for the bus at 6 a.m., then leaving the pit at 2.30 in the afternoon; meanwhile, the text beside an image of the Saturday dance notes: “it was a grand evening – even for the back-shift who couldn’t get there till after eleven.” There is also a debunking of stereotypes – “curiously enough, Dalmellington does not look like a typical mining village… you do not find there the long, repetitive rows of houses … Instead you see a large country village built around a square … at the edges you find twentieth-century suburban-style houses.” Finally, we read: “There is the insularity of the villages, and, on the other hand, there are the young people’s July excursions to Blackpool.”

This is mid-1950s Scotland in the throes of modernization and a tension between cultural continuity and economic change. Subsequent readers’ letters endorse the “strong community spirit of Dalmellington’s citizens”, extending this sensibility to the city:

Although I have lived in Glasgow all my life I do not think of myself as a Glasgow man. When I was a child the word “home” as it was used by my parents meant not the city tenement, where we lived, but a croft on the Isle of Mull. There may be thousands of Glasgow citizens like me, and perhaps it is because to so many of us our real background is in the Highlands, or the country places, that Glasgow, despite its size, is … like an overgrown village.

Complaints over London dominance of the BBC were being addressed as the network sought to embrace regional broadcasting, they saw no cause for alarm, continuing to represent Scotland as resolutely provincial. (This was, after all, one area of the country where people were still getting their news stories from the press.)

In this imaginary of the nation “Edinburgh is a village where everybody meets everybody else” Characters abound in the Old Town, for it retains many of the qualities of a self-contained community. Neighbours are known to each other.” Glasgow’s “warm-hearted loyalty” draws much praise, while the nation becomes a cultural space in which each major city is given a defining character.




A story about Inverness strikes at the contradictions of capitalism: “Inverness is the great paradox of the Highlands today, the shining example of prosperity and growing population amid economic malaise and depopulation.”

These contradictions are played out in a number of articles concerning the Hebrides. “The Last of the Gaelic” bemoans the “hopeless stand” of a once-widespread language, the “wild, departed spirit” of a dying way of life on Eriskay. Once “peopled by enterprising fishermen”, but now “an island of the old and infirm, with a few horses laden with “creels” to act as transport”, Eriskay’s way of life is being rapidly dispersed by “the dramatic invasion of an air service from the mainland.”

Seaweed-processing came and went on South Uist, where, however, more obviously political concerns had emerged over the proposed siting of a guided missile range. A local wrote to warn that “the entire peace of the island, as well as its crofting and craftsman traditions are likely to be shattered … by the arrival of troops.”

He was not alone: “The Fighting Priest of Eochar” presents “the story of a courageous Hebridean and his fight to save the future of his parish”, the very place that had been so sympathetically photographed the previous year. Again, in the images, there are the expressive rugged faces, mirroring the wind-torn landscape; again, the odd juxtaposition of a precious living on the cusp of change: “On her croft, by the rocket site, a woman finds barbed wire – and wonders.”

Meanwhile, some Hardy images of figures silhouetted against a broad sky suggest a vanishing spiritual purity in a mechanistic industrial age: “the eternal bounty and struggle of life in its simplest, and at the same time, most profound form. I came away from the Crofters’ Isle cleansed and refreshed.”





This dialectic of tradition and modernity, development and dependency, finds broader resonance across the Highland region. “No Future for the Highlands?” asks: “What shall we do to arrest the process of decay … which threatens disaster in the North?” The inner malady of depopulation and ruined cottages. “Some townships will perish within a generation”;

A futuristic shot of Herculean engineering, carries the caption: “Due for completion in 1957, the Loch Shin hydro-electricity scheme employs 900 men, nearly 4/10 of them from the Highlands. But the permanent staff may total only 30.”

Against such brooding concern, “The Road to the Isles” is sanguine. A picture of a woman at a water pump might not suggest progress or engagement in the process post-war industrialization. But the caption suggests otherwise: “Where guidewives gossip in Gaelic, in the old village of Glencoe. Crofting has ceased, and most of then men are employed in the aluminium works at Kinlochleven.”

Vignettes of the triumph of the machine age find their crudest visualization in a photograph of fish being blown sky-high. The caption reads: “Depth charge in the loch. Seventy tons of gelignite are detonated to destroy pike and perch before this water is stocked with young salmon from the hatcheries.”

At the sophisticated end of the spectrum lay the construction of Britain’s first large-scale nuclear fast reactor at Dounreay, a site chosen “because any possible radiation effects can be more easily checked in a sparse population.


Dounreay: Radioactive waste was disposed down the Shaft from 1959 to 1977, when an explosion ended the practice



” As with the guided missiles on South Uist, the motives for scientific advancement concerned strategies other than the strictly socio-economic. They indicated the continuing role of Westminster government in the political management of change. External control of the Scottish economy was welcomed as inward investment.

Where Clydeside shipbuilding, like other heavy industries, had figured in the wartime propaganda effort and “men who build the ships that sail the seven seas” were still honoured reflecting the mood of post-war optimism in its embrace of manufacturing as the route to economic buoyancy.

Promotion of the “American Invasion” was accompanied by photos of the Queen visiting an adding machine factory, a “bonnie Scots lassie” checking clock mechanisms, more “Scots girls at work on assembling components of electronic devices”, rubber footwear, mechanics at an IBM plant. Here were the newly “thriving towns” of the Central Belt, its oil refineries, rolling mills, and, indeed, fresh orders for the shipyards.


Dounreay: shaft cleared of waste after huge explosion



“Let Glasgow Flourish” brought characterful resilience to the fore: “Thrice within a couple of centuries, Glasgow has reeled from the impact of economic forces beyond its control. Each time it has recovered. Now it faces the hazards and opportunities of a new industrial age…. Here is vitality, energy in abundance. Here is the Vulcan’s forge of the North.”

Cue pictures of busy quaysides, locomotive and tobacco production, golf club manufacturing, and “a pavement of biscuits” on the conveyor belt at the Glengarry Bakery, churning out “a quarter of the total chocolate biscuit
output of Britain.”

In the “breath-taking panorama of Glasgow”, was an optimism underpinned by commitment to adaptation and diversity. And not just in the big conurbations. A social commentator said “Kilmarnock has been called “a planner’s delight, ready-made for prosperity.” Where else can one find such a remarkable variety of industry? With full employment, progressive businessmen, and a rigorous spirit of craftsmanship, its future seems secure.





“But is the town really slump-proof?” With images of tractor assembly lines, shoe patterns, distilleries, men at Glenfield and Kennedy, hydraulic engineers, “leading organisation of their kind in the British Commonwealth”, and sub-heads such as “Cushioned against depression”, the answer was a resounding Yes!

Mass production without tedium, in the highly modernised assembly department of British Olivetti, Ltd., at Queenslie Industrial Estate, a young lass from Airdrie, dexterously plays her part in the building of a portable typewriter. Many of these machines go to Australia and New Zealand; also to Africa.

“The Hospital of the Future” provided “an exclusive peep into the first complete new hospital to be built in Britain since the war” at Alexandria. Futuristic architectural images accompanied the “new design for living – for patients and hospital staff.”

The fight against urban health problems was still being conveyed by photo-journalists with characteristic vigour. In March 1957, a double-page feature showed long queues awaiting X-raying under the banner “Glasgow Blasts TB.”


TB Epidemic in Scotland. X-Ray Coaches deployed from all over the UK to Assist

Caused by overcrowded houses and poor diet.




While nationalization, new towns, engineering projects, tourism and Edinburgh Festival culture were promoted as the New Scotland, so the meaning of nationhood came under fresh scrutiny as unionist-nationalism declined.

Contradictions surfaced over the presentation of national identity, and, relatedly, land use and access, that are still important today. “An American in Scotland” opined “they have mountains like the Alps and roads like Burma”.

while the historical Scotland author, Nigel Tranter provocatively argued that a new road should be built through the Cairngorms. It was only, he said, “the remoteness of legislators, hunting, shooting and fishing interests, those benefiting from other roads and the sanctity-of-the-wild enthusiasts” that were preventing the construction of “a glorious, a darling road.

Likewise, when a reader responding to an article on the “strange collapse” of Scotland’s former aviation industry pleaded “Let us concentrate on our tourist industry and have more beaches, better roads and better hotels rather than more factories, with their dirt and smoke”, he was effectively arguing for the preservation of an invented tradition – romantic tourism – within a framework of modern industrial development. In grasping the horns of a dilemma first captured visually through the hydro-electric debate, both writers were perhaps more prescient than they imagined.


Typical Tourist photo




1955 was a pivotal point, for it was in this year that two significant events occurred: a General Election on 26 May in which the Unionist party reached its zenith of 51% of the Scottish vote, never to be achieved again as the end of Empire, decline of sectarianism and, latterly, Tory anglicisation conspired to create an agenda for national identification dominated by debates between Labour and the Nationalists

A complete run of Picture Post is available in the National Library of Scotland. A fully searchable archive may also be consulted via (Accessed Nov. 2012)

Andrew Blaikie is Professor of Historical Sociology, Department of History, University of Aberdeen.



Gorbal life
























The report continued

Part 1 of the report was centred upon the activities of Lib.Dem MP’s and David Mundell in Scotland actively undermining the Scottish government at Holyrood in the period 2013-2014, up to the time of the referendum.

After the referendum, armed with a “No” vote majority and backed by the resources of the state at Westminster the persons concerned, (aggressively led by Mundell) saw no reason to continue with a low key approach developing their plans for the islands.

The gloves were removed and any disguise of their activities was abandoned in the knowledge that the Westminster government had taken charge of the agenda to the complete exclusion of the Scottish government.








27 November 2014: Islands welcome Smith Commission findings

The Leaders of Scotland’s three Islands Councils have welcomed the findings of the Smith Commission as a major landmark for the “Our Islands Our Future” campaign. The Commission was set up following the Referendum. Its recommendations will form the basis of legislation on more powers for Scotland and the 3 Isles.

Through “Our Islands Our Future”, the councils in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles are working together to achieve a further devolution of powers to the islands they represent. Their shared aim is greater control over decisions that affect island communities – and an enhanced ability to develop their local economies for the benefit of the people the Councils serve. The campaign made a joint submission to the Smith Commission.

In his report published today, Lord Smith says: “There is a strong desire to see the principle of devolution extended further, with the transfer of powers from Holyrood to local communities.

The Scottish Government should work with the UK Parliament, civic Scotland and local authorities to set out ways in which local areas can benefit from the powers of the Scottish Parliament.”

A key aspiration of “Our Islands Our Future” is for the three Councils to take over the Crown Estate’s current responsibility for the foreshore and seabed around their islands. Lord Smith says responsibility for the management of the Crown Estate’s economic assets in Scotland – including the seabed and foreshore – should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament. “Following this transfer, responsibility for the management of those assets will be further devolved to local authority areas such as Orkney, Shetland, Na h-Eilean Siar.”

Orkney Islands Council Convener Steven Heddle said: “This is a major achievement for the campaign, with the island authorities the only councils referenced by name in Lord Smith’s report. Devolution of the Crown Estate’s assets will give us the ability to ensure development in our waters is sustainable and delivers the maximum benefits for our communities.

This has been a good week for “Our Islands Our Future.” Today’s announcement follows the appointment of Scotland’s first Minister for the Islands – another of our aspirations. Derek Mackay’s brief also includes transport and he has already demonstrated his willingness to discuss matters such as the future of our internal ferry service, reiterating that the cost of replacing vessels should not rest solely on the island authority.

Our joint campaign is clearly making a difference for the three island communities, and adds value to the extensive lobbying we carry out individually.

Angus Campbell, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “The recommendations on the Crown Estate are historic and very welcome indeed. The Comhairle has long made the case that Crown Estate revenues should be retained in Scotland and that local communities should be the beneficiaries of income derived from sea-bed and foreshore developments. Indeed, this was a key aim of the OIOF campaign and was recognised by the Scottish Government in the Prospectus, Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities, which set out an agreed way forward for Island authorities and the Scottish Government.

The Commission’s recommendations are a fundamental shift in the democratic structure of modern Scotland and recognise the wish for the further transfer of powers to local levels.

This is a particularly welcome recommendation and I look forward to discussing the format and structures that will make this a reality. I would urge both the Scottish and UK Governments to enter into discussions immediately to implement this recommendation and we will be seeking a meeting with both Governments at an early stage to take forward those discussions.”

Gary Robinson, Leader of Shetland Islands Council, said: “The publication of Lord Smith’s report is an important milestone in the OIOF campaign and we expect it to deliver tangible benefits for our island communities.

For example, the proposal to devolve powers over Air Passenger Duty to the Scottish Parliament is to be welcomed. The Scottish Government has made no secret of its wish to abolish this tax, which will obviously benefit our lifeline air transport services. Further control by the Scottish Parliament over home energy efficiency schemes will reduce the scale of fuel poverty in our islands.

If all the recommendations in Lord Smith’s report are implemented, it will deliver many positive outcomes for all of us. We welcome the support of national politicians for our work on the” Our Islands Our Future” initiative.”



13 May 2015: Island Councils Taking “Our Islands Our Future (OIOF) Forward With New Government

The three Island Councils of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles are seeking early meetings with the new Secretary of State for Scotland and other key players to discuss (OIOF) and specifically to seek reassurances on the commitments of the previous Government on the campaign for more powers for Island areas.

Although the previous agreements took place with a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government, the 3 Councils expect commitments to be honoured by the new Conservative Government.

Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Angus Campbell, said: “We welcome the appointment of David Mundell as Secretary of State for Scotland, having worked productively with him in the past, and look forward to doing so in the future. We did the groundwork previously with the UK Government and although there has been a change in Government we would expect them to continue along similar lines with regard to Our Islands Our Future.

It is good to hear the Prime Minister say that the Smith Commission recommendations, arising from the ‘Vow’, will be honoured in full. From the Islands point of view that is important as one of the key recommendations is the transfer of revenues and management of the Crown Estate to the Scottish Government and, as agreed by Scottish Government, onwards to local coastal communities, one of the key aims of the OIOF campaign. Hopefully there may be additional powers for Scotland as argued for by the islands Councils in their submission to the Smith Commission”.

The Island Councils continue to meet with the Scottish Government on a regular basis in taking forward discussions on OIOF and hope to meet with the new Secretary of State for Scotland, as the UK Government’s representative, in the near future. Mr Campbell said: “Whilst we recognise that some of the faces we will now be meeting at a UK Government level will have changed, many of the key players, including Ministers and senior civil servants, will be the same and they are well acquainted with OIOF and the wishes of Island Councils and communities.”

Orkney Islands Council Convener, Steven Heddle, added: “We’re keen to quickly build on the progress made with the last UK government in terms of ensuring the islands have a voice and have our perspectives considered and accounted for as matter of course.

This is across a whole range of reserved issues, but notably with respect to our ambitions for the ultimate transfer of the powers and revenues of the Crown Estate to the islands councils, as recommended by the Smith Commission following our representations. The new government has undertaken to implement the Smith recommendations in full and we are clearly keen to see this happen.

We’ve always based our arguments on principles rather than personalities so that the results can be long lasting, but nonetheless we welcome the appointment of David Mundell as Alistair Carmichael’s successor, as we’ve worked productively with Mr Mundell in the past and look forward to continuing this in the future.”





29 July 2015:

The Scottish Secretary Mundell praises the work of the OIOF campaign

Confirming, (ahead of a visit to Stornoway) the British Government’s on-going commitment to working with the OIOF campaign Mundell is to attend an upcoming “Islands Working Group” meeting with each of the islands leaders and those closely involved in the campaign taking forward commitments detailed in the Islands Framework. He also confirmed the British Government’s on-going commitment to a major decentralisation in decision making across Scotland.

He said: “I’m looking forward to visiting Stornoway to confirm my on-going commitment to the Islands framework, placing power in the hands of communities making sure opportunity and prosperity reach every part of the United Kingdom.

It also shows how the Western Isles coming together with Orkney and Shetland has created an example for other parts of the UK to follow. I’m keen for the Islands Councils to play a full part in the on-going debate on how the substantial powers in the Scotland Bill are used to directly benefit island communities.

Over the past few years there has been a process of centralisation from the Scottish Government but I hope through opportunities such as the devolution of management over the Crown Estate, this imbalance can be redressed.



Old man of Hoy Orkney






30 July 2015: Scottish Secretary pledges more power to island communities

Days after he was met with protests at the opening of a food-bank in his Dumfries-shire constituency, Scottish Secretary David Mundell was in Stornoway today, where he pledged a commitment to handing more power to island communities. Mundell said the OIOF campaign – established earlier this year by the Comhairle, Orkney Council and Shetland Councils – was a model which other parts of the UK could learn from.

During his visit to Lewis, Mr Mundell met with officials from the Comhairle, as well as calling in on local businesses including Harris Tweed Hebrides, in Shawbost, and Hebridean Seaweed. He was also given a guided tour of the new Museum and Archive centre at the restored Lews Castle.

Mundell said: “ I’m keen for the islands councils to play a full part in the ongoing debate on how the substantial powers in the Scotland Bill are used to directly benefit island communities. Over the past few years there has been a process of centralisation from the Scottish Government but I hope through opportunities such as the devolution of management over the Crown Estate, this imbalance can be redressed.”

Meanwhile, Isles MP Angus MacNeil has claimed that by endorsing more power to island communities, Mundell has performed a ‘u-turn’. He said: “Hopefully Mr Mundell has become a belated convert to decentralisation.

If he had listened when I put this forward at the last Scotland Bill in 2011 we would be a lot further forward. He opposed moves for decentralisation and resisted a push to devolve the Crown Estate to Scotland.

His position on this issue has now changed due to the strength Scotland has with the SNP making Tory Westminster listen a little more.

I hope Mundell will see for himself during his visit to the islands what real benefits could come from more decentralisation of powers from London and that he will, from now on, be supporting me in fighting to ensure the islands voice is heard at Westminster.”



Kildonan on the Hebridean island of Eigg with the Sgurr of Eigg, the island’s highest point, visible in the background.

30 July 2015: Mundell: The Western Isles are making their mark across the globe

Mundell praised the global aspirations of Scotland’s island communities as he toured businesses across the Western Isles. His day included a visit to Hebridean Seaweed. Having established itself as the UK’s largest seaweed processor it is also one of the country’s export success stories having sold their produce across Europe, Asia and the United States.

He said: “I’ve been extremely impressed by what I have seen today. Hebridean Seaweed’s announcement of a partnership with one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world shows how far they have come and highlights the global ambitions of companies from our island communities.

He also visited the world renowned Harris Tweed Hebrides Mill in Shawbost and the Hebridean Smokehouse in Stornoway where he discussed trade, exports and the recent measures for businesses introduced in the Budget.

He commented: “From Harris Tweed to Hebridean Seaweed I’ve valued the opportunity to visit a number of innovative and established companies in the Western Isles who are making their mark across the globe. Through the UK’s diplomatic and trade network in over 170 countries around the world, we want to encourage more companies to follow in their footsteps and get exporting. With this support the UK Government is right behind the aspirations of our island communities.


23 September 2015: Mundell to visit Shetlands – but will he find his way?

Scotland’s Secretary of State David Mundell will visit the islands next Wednesday to meet representatives of Shetland Islands Council. Full details of his itinerary are yet to be released, but already some are wondering whether Mundell – who succeeded Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael as Scotland Office minister – will succeed in finding his way to Shetland.

In response to the Scotland Office tweeting a photo flagging up how 6,900 new businesses were set up in Scotland with government support, political activist Miriam Brett suggested: “If you’d like to combat the criticism that you fail to understand the north, I’d start by adding Shetland to your map.


Embarrassingly for the Scotland Office, a week ahead of Scottish secretary of state David Mundell's visit, the department is sharing a map which has edited Shetland out of existence.






23 September 2015: Scottish Secretary David Mundell has called for a debate on what new powers Scottish local government should be given by Holyrood in order to take greater control over their own affairs.

Mundell said that councils such as the Western Isles need to make their voice heard with the Scottish Government and make the case for greater powers. He said that Scottish towns and villages risked falling behind their counterparts in the rest of the UK.

He also said that the Smith Commission Agreement was explicit that responsibility for managing the Crown Estate should be devolved to councils such as Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. Mundell said: “The issue of devolution to local communities is now an urgent one for Scotland. There is a revolution going on in local government across the rest of the United Kingdom, with local areas regaining power and responsibility at an unprecedented rate.

Scotland cannot afford to be left behind as the rest of the UK revolutionises how it governs itself, giving towns, cities and counties more of the autonomy which our international competitors enjoy. It’s time we had a proper debate about devolution within Scotland. Councils like the Western Isles need to build on the OIOF initiative and make their voices heard with the Scottish Government on what powers and responsibilities they want to have to shape their futures.

That should be national debate, and I commit to play my part in that. Devolution is not worthy of the name if it stops at the gates of Holyrood. The Smith Commission Agreement was explicit that responsibility for managing the Crown Estate, which is being devolved in the Scotland Bill, should be further devolved to local authority areas such as Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles or other areas who seek such responsibilities.

It has been argued by some that the UK Government should legislate to devolve these and other things directly to Scotland’s local authorities: so-called ‘double devolution’. That is the right intention, but the wrong approach. The Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are responsible for local government in Scotland and it is their responsibility to drive that devolution onwards.”








8 April 2016: Councils to meet new government on islands campaign

Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles councils are seeking meetings with the new UK government to discuss the future of the (OIOF) campaign.

Council leaders hope to meet Scottish secretary David Mundell, who replaced Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael, and other key players to seek reassurances on the commitments of the previous government on the campaign for more powers for Island areas. Although the previous agreements took place with the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, the councils expect commitments to be honoured by the new Conservative government.

Speaking for the three councils, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar leader Angus Campbell said: “We welcome the appointment of David Mundell as Secretary of State for Scotland, having worked productively with him in the past, and look forward to doing so in the future. We did the groundwork previously with the UK government and although there has been a change in government we would expect them to continue along similar lines with regard to Our Islands Our Future.

It is good to hear the Prime Minister say that the Smith Commission recommendations, arising from the ‘vow’, will be honoured in full. From the islands point of view that is important as one of the key recommendations is the transfer of revenues and management of the Crown Estate to the Scottish government and, as agreed by Scottish government, onwards to local coastal communities, one of the key aims of the OIOF campaign.

Hopefully there may be additional powers for Scotland as argued for by the islands councils in their submission to the Smith Commission. Whilst we recognise that some of the faces we will now be meeting at a UK government level will have changed, many of the key players, including ministers and senior civil servants, will be the same and they are well acquainted with OIOF and the wishes of island councils and communities.”





The Three Isles (Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland) and British protected semi-autonomous British Overseas Status – Scotland to be Stripped of the Islands before any future independence referendum





The Three Isles (Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland) and British protected semi-autonomous British Overseas Status – Scotland to be Stripped of the Islands before any future independence referendum

The Labour and Lib/Dem parties, at the time some aspects of governance were devolved to Scotland in 1999, put in place a rigged electoral system designed to ensure a recurring coalition government preventing the SNP from ever gaining a majority of MSP’s. The blocking measure was considered necessary so as to render impossible any challenge to the authority of the Westminster government by an SNP majority government in Holyrood. In May 2011 SNP MSP’s gained the bulk of seats in Scotland (in an election landslide) and the SNP took up the reins of government in Scotland, for the first time unfettered by any need to include opposition Parties in a coalition. Labour and Lib/Dem coalition governments previously in office had been rejected by the electorate and were in total disarray.

In 2010 The minority SNP government was confronted with major changes at the Scottish Office following the election of a Tory/Lib/Dem government at Westminster. The coalition agreement signed off by Cameron and Clegg placed the UK governance of Scotland with the Lib/Dem Party in recognition of their assumed popularity in the Scottish Isles and border areas. The added problem for the Tories was that they only had Fluffy Mundell as an MP in Scotland and he was not on good terms with many senior members of the Scottish Conservative Party.





Clegg duly appointed mild mannered, Michael Moore (Liberal Democrat MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk) to the post of Secretary of State for Scotland with Mundell as his deputy. Moore was well liked at Holyrood due to his preparedness to consult with and not dictate to the SNP government. But the relationship between Moore and Mundell was not good. They did their own thing, sharing nothing but an office. The Scottish public were alerted to the disunity at the Scottish Office as was the Scottish Government. The matter needed to be resolved without undue delay, but it was not until the Scottish Government announced firm plans, in 2013 to hold a referendum that there was change.

At Cameron’s insistence Moore was to be replaced as Secretary of State for Scotland with someone who would be prepared to get under the skin of Alex Salmond establishing firm control of Scotland, denying the Scots any room for manoeuvre in terms of a referendum. Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland) stepped forward and said he had the qualities needed to sort out Alex Salmond and the Nat’s and defeat them in any independence referendum. He took up the post in November 2013. Fluffy Mundell was in his element working with someone of like mind and character.

Despite many blocking measures and spoilers emanating from the Scottish Office, euphoria continued to sweep Scotland as the magnitude of the SNP victory gathered pace and the performance of the new SNP government continued to impress and Alex Salmond faced an ever increasing demand for a referendum leading to independence from the UK so that the nation would be able to decide its own future without the need to “bend the knee” to an increasingly incompetent and corrupt Westminster government. Alex Salmond accepted the will of the Scottish electorate and agreed a referendum would be held within the lifetime of the parliament.






Carmichael’s duties as Secretary of State for Scotland provided him with full access to cabinet briefing meetings at Westminster. This key source of information coupled with a new freedom to operate anywhere in Scotland allowed him to form judgements as the pace of referendum speculation increased.

At the beginning of 2014 the “Yes” campaign started to make inroads on a significant “No” majority and Cameron demanded that the Lib/Dems in Scotland improve their performance or step aside allowing the Tory Party to take control.

The reality of the predicament was not lost on Carmichael or his colleagues and they decided to step back and to limit their efforts to persuading Scottish Islanders to vote “No” allowing Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cameron and the Labour party take charge of the “No” campaign on the Scottish mainland.






From that revised strategy three right wing unionist campaign groups with strong Lib/Dem connections evolved: “Our Islands Our Future” – “For Argyll” – “Wir Shetland” (John Tulloch ex Shetlander, resident in Argyll is the prime mover of the latter two campaigns).

The Lib/Dem agenda for the islands is decided. Justifiably fearing rejection and destruction through the vote of the Scottish public the party is no longer Scottish. Instead they are working, together with Mundell and the Tory Party to remove The Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland from Scotland.

Tavish Scott, former leader of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland and MSP for Orkney and Shetland, called on the islands to loosen their ties with Scotland. He said that he was in favour of the islands forming a crown dependency in their own right, with a similar status to the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.





Encouraged by the aggressive direction of Mundell the “Three Isles” campaign is fast reaching a stage where attention will turn (excluding the Scottish government) to the provision of British protected semi-autonomous British Overseas Status to the “Three Isles” effectively removing them from Scotland.

The issue of sovereignty is for Westminster to decide since the “constitution” is reserved and the Holyrood government has no jurisdiction. The “Our Islands Our Future” negotiating group is in regular contact with Mundell and the Westminster government and will most likely be encouraged to request that a referendum be held to seek the views of the islanders.

A referendum was held on 18 September 2014. Scots voted to retain the status quo.

I have added information providing a more detailed analysis of the difficulties presenting with the Lib/Dems, Mundell and the Tories approach to Scotland post the 2014 referendum.



17 June 2013: Island Councils declare a shared vision on the future of the Isles within Scotland

The three Councils of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles outlined their shared vision – that empowering the islands would bring many benefits, providing the tools to invest in local communities and drive sustainable economic growth. The following month Mr Salmond, in his Lerwick Declaration, announced the setting up of Ministerial Working Group to consider the case for greater powers put forward by the three councils. (our islands our future)



10 April 2014: Council leaders heartened by cross-party Westminster response

A pledge by Scottish Labour to devolve more powers to Scotland’s island communities has been welcomed by Council leaders from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

Speaking following meeting in the UK Parliament with the three Council leaders, Margaret Curran MP said: “The leaders of our Island Councils have made a strong case for why their communities should have more control over the decisions that affect their lives.

Devolution was never intended to concentrate power in Edinburgh – we need more power passed to communities across Scotland. Labour would put more power in the hands of Scotland’s island communities.

This will include power to develop renewable energy resources, to tackle unemployment, to take more control of economic development and to give the maximum possible power over the Crown Estates.

She also announced that a future Labour UK Government would maintain the Islands Desk in the Scotland Office and would also hold twice yearly summits with the Islands Council leaders.  In attendance:

* Norman A MacDonald. (Convenor, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar).
* Steven Heddle. (Convenor, Orkney Islands Council).
* Margaret Curran MP. (Shadow Scottish Secretary).
* Gary Robinson. (Leader, Shetland Islands Council).
* Ian Davidson MP. (Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee).

During a busy round of meetings at Westminster over three days this week, talks on the “Our Islands Our Future” campaign were also held with:

* Alistair Carmichael MP. Secretary of State for Scotland.
* Danny Alexander MP. Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
* Ed Davey MP. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
* Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC. Advocate General for Scotland.
* David Lidington MP. Minister for Europe.
* Other senior politicians and Government officials.

Matters under discussion:

* Energy
* Better representation in Europe
* Powers of the Crown Estate
* Island proofing (pro-active consideration of the special requirements of island communities during policy development by the UK Government.)
Speaking on behalf of the three councils, Councillor Heddle said: “We’re delighted that our campaign has received such a positive response from the Shadow Scottish Secretary. We had a very good meeting with Margaret Curran and Ian Davidson today, following on from a lengthy presentation of our case to the Scottish Affairs Committee.

We are very appreciative of the cross party support from both the Coalition and Labour at UK level, and the SNP and Labour in Scotland. We hope that our representations will translate into manifesto commitments from Labour, and specific measures in the Concordat we are developing with the Scotland Office, and in the Prospectus we are developing through the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group with the Scottish Government.

The breadth of support we have received and the large ministerial and officer commitment made by both governments in working with us offers us confidence that the approach we have taken in our campaign is appropriate and will genuinely enhance the futures of our islands.”








17 June 2014: First Minister announces response to Our Islands Our Future

The three Councils of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles outlined their shared vision for the future in the document “Our Islands Our Future”. It stated that empowering the islands would bring many benefits, providing the tools to invest in local communities and drive sustainable economic growth.

 The following month Mr Salmond, in his Lerwick Declaration, announced the setting up of Ministerial Working Group to consider the case for greater powers put forward by the three councils. Today he unveiled the Scottish Government’s response.

At Orkney College today, the First Minister said: “Today’s prospectus is the most comprehensive package for empowering Scotland’s island communities that has been put forward by any Government.

It recognises the unique contribution that island communities make to modern Scotland, and also the distinctive needs and priorities they have. Most of all, though, it recognises that Scotland’s islands have huge potential – a wealth of culture and history; stunning landscapes; massive renewable energy resources; and a host of successful businesses in sectors such as food and drink, life sciences and tourism.

We are determined to work with the islands communities to unleash that potential and to create a sustainable and prosperous future. By doing so, we will honour the principles of subsidiarity and local decision-making at the heart of the Lerwick Declaration. And even more importantly, we will help to build wealthier and fairer island communities, as part of a wealthier and fairer Scotland.”






Convener of Orkney Islands Council Steven Heddle said: “The launch of Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities is a hugely significant milestone for the Our Islands Our Future campaign.

Over the past year we’ve taken a politically neutral stance in presenting the case for a stronger future for our islands. The Scottish Government has clearly been willing to consider, negotiate and respond positively to the arguments we’ve made. The detailed response to the campaign published today represents a comprehensive commitment to islands in general and our island groups in particular.

It establishes a framework for how our islands can be empowered and a bench mark for our engagement and relationship with government. There is now a far greater understanding of the unique nature and needs of our island communities and that in itself bodes well for our future.”

Leader of Shetland Islands Council Gary Robinson, said: “We asserted at the outset of this process that the seas and the seabed around us are hugely important – both socially and economically – to our islands.

By implementing the measures contained in Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities we can maximise the opportunities presented by fisheries and aquaculture, and realise the full potential of marine renewable’s, while protecting our pristine environment.

Crown Estate powers and a share of the income generated from leasing agreements will allow us to support investment in our coastal communities and ensure that this has a lasting and sustainable impact.

By strengthening and embedding the County Council Acts’ powers, each of the Islands’ Councils will be better able to manage the diverse and sometimes conflicting demands on the marine environment.”

Leader of Comhairlenan Eilean Siar, Angus Campbell, said: “This is a historic day for our island communities. When we launched Our Islands Our Future a year ago we could not have anticipated the amount of interest and discussion we were going to generate.

This launch of the Scottish Government’s Prospectus is a product of those discussions and negotiations on a wide ranging list of subjects including the Crown Estate, Grid connections and the constitutional position of Island areas.

Working closely with the Scottish Government, we have set out an agenda for the way forward for our Islands. The Scottish Government has now put forward the proposals in Empowering Island Communities which I warmly welcome.

Of course, the work doesn’t stop here. Irrespective of the outcome of the Referendum in September there is much that can be achieved for Scotland’s islands and our on-going task, as always, will be to maximise the benefits for those who live in our Island communities.”





15 August 2014: Scottish independence: UK government sets out island powers proposals

The UK government has set out its plans to increase representation for Scotland’s islands if there is a “No” vote in the referendum.

It said legislation would ensure it takes account of island priorities. The Scotland Office would have a UK government dedicated islands representative and an oil and gas islands forum would assist decision-making in the sector.

The UK government said it had also committed to establish renewable energy transmission links to the islands.

Island-specific challenges for transport, postal services, digital connectivity and fuel poverty will receive closer consideration, and measures will be taken to strengthen the transparency and accountability of the Crown Estate, which manages Scotland’s seas and foreshore.

There will also be a dedicated point of contact within the UK’s representation to the EU.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said the proposals would “strengthen the voice of our islands at the heart of the UK government”. He added: “It will mean their unique needs are considered across all UK government activity and legislation, tailoring our approach to ensure islands issues continue to get the attention they require.

That is good news for the councils and for the whole country and will improve the economy, connectivity and lives of people on our islands. It shows we are not only listening, but acting – and in doing so we are strengthening the UK.”

Angus Campbell, leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, welcomed the UK government’s response to the campaign. He added: “I am confident that as we approach the referendum, the island groups are in a much stronger position now with both the UK and Scottish governments than we were prior to the launch of Our Islands Our Future.”

Steven Heddle, convener of Orkney Islands Council, said: “Our intention throughout has been to secure a stronger future for our communities, regardless of the outcome of the referendum. I welcome this response to our representations.”

Gary Robinson, leader of Shetland Islands Council, said the statement “represents another important output from our campaign”.




15 August 2014: Empowering Scotland’s Island communities

In its Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities document, which was published in June, the Scottish government pledged to bring forward an Island’s Bill in the event of independence containing:

* A commitment to ensure island communities get all money generated from leasing the seabed.

* Islanders would also be given a stronger voice in Europe

* A new post of minister for island communities would be created.

Scottish Local Government Minister Derek Mackay said: “It is only with independence that the unique needs of islands can be recognised in a written constitution or that we will have the opportunity to ensure all island communities receive the net income from the adjacent inshore seabed, which currently passes through the Crown Estate to the Treasury.

The income could be used for a variety of projects ranging from harbour improvements to community tourism projects and individual councils will be responsible for administering their own fund, including determining how funds are spent, who will benefit and the level of benefit.

Our islands have huge potential in energy, tourism and life sciences, and we are determined to work with them to unleash that potential with the powers of independence, and honour the principles of subsidiarity and local decision-making that are at the heart of the Lerwick Declaration.”



18 August 2014: 10 point plan for Scottish islands

A framework between the UK Government and the 3 Scottish islands councils – the first agreement of its kind in the country – was launched today by Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.

The “Our Islands” framework, established in response to the “Our Islands, Our Future” joint campaign, will embed the islands voice at the heart of the UK Government and reflect the priorities of those communities more closely in decision making and policy.

It follows extensive dialogue between the councils and the UK Government, and represents the most comprehensive examination of the Islands’ priorities in 30 years, since the 1984 Montgomery Commission.

Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles represent the most hard-to-reach parts of the United Kingdom and this geographical remoteness presents specific challenges to exploiting their economic and social potential in full.

The 3 islands councils are unique in Scotland in serving only island communities, and this framework recognises they have chosen to adopt a collective position in dealing with the UK Government on certain matters.

It provides the basis for joint working between the UK Government and Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles on a range of priorities. They include a 10 point plan for the islands:

* Islands proofing: These are new arrangements to scrutinise UK Government policy and legislation to ensure they take account of islands priorities.

* Economic benefits: A new Islands Working Group will be supported by a dedicated position in the Scotland Office and have its agenda set by the islands, covering priorities like Islands Innovation Zones, construction costs and community benefit.

* A new Oil and Gas Islands forum: The framework recognises the islands are vital to meeting the UK’s energy needs. The UK Government is committed to work with the Islands Councils to assist strategic decision-making on future priorities for the oil and gas industry. This will allow the councils to work more closely with the UK Government and industry.

* Renewable energy: The framework includes a firm UK Government commitment to the Renewable Energy Delivery Forum, focussed on getting transmission links to the islands. The UK Government also shares the 3 Islands Councils’ ambitions for deployment of renewable energy and for research and development activity, and we will ensure that obstacles to securing the necessary infrastructure are tackled effectively.

* The framework recognises the island groups face particular challenges in the areas of transport, postal services, digital connectivity and fuel poverty. The UK Government will work with the councils on these areas, as detailed in the document.

* Transport: This includes seeking an extension to the Air Discount Scheme and a commitment to consider fiscal measures to support transport connectivity with the island groups.

* Postal services: The UK Government is committed to working with retailers, consumer groups and enforcers to ensure parcel delivery charges to remote regions are fair and transparent, in line with the UK statement of principles for parcel deliveries.

* Connectivity: Digital connectivity is of great importance to local inhabitants and businesses on the islands, requiring subsidy from both the UK and Scottish Governments to overcome the geographical and commercial challenges in delivery of these services. The UK Government is committed to fund the Mobile Infrastructure Project, working to provide improved mobile coverage in areas of the UK which are most difficult to reach, aiming to address market failures in these areas. The UK Government is also committed to providing parity of minimum service level between the UK mainland and islands areas by delivering standard broadband of at least 2Mbps to all premises in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. Working closely with the communications industry, the UK Government is committed to fund research to identify new technologies to support delivery of superfast broadband services to the most difficult to reach areas of the UK. The UK Government will also work collaboratively with the three Islands Councils, as well as the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, to identify how these technologies can be implemented in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

* Crown Estate: The framework also contains measures to strengthen the transparency and accountability of the Crown Estate.

* EU and representation on government bodies: A dedicated point of contact to offer advice and guidance to the islands within the UK Representation to the EU. The framework includes increased island representation on other government bodies, including the Scottish Business Board.






Carmichael said:

Today’s announcement is a landmark for the relationship between the UK Government and OUR island communities in Scotland. It builds on a great deal of good work in the past and will strengthen the voice of our islands at the heart of the UK government.

It will mean their unique needs are considered across all UK Government activity and legislation, tailoring our approach to ensure islands issues continue to get the attention they require.

That is good news for the councils and for the whole of the UK and will improve the economy, connectivity and lives of people on our islands. It shows we are not only listening, but acting and in doing so we are strengthening the 3 Isles and their place in the UK.

This is the start of the next part of our journey together, giving us a strong framework which will be reviewed and built on further in the future.

Cllr Angus Campbell, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: It is to be welcomed that the UK Government has responded to the “Our Islands Our Future” campaign with this framework agreement and this opens up avenues for much work in the future.

I particularly welcome the commitment to “Island proofing” in legislation and to a formal process of dialogue through an “annual summit” between Island Councils and the UK Government where strategic matters of importance to Island communities will be taken forward.

Island desks – in Brussels and London – is also very welcome as are the other areas of direct communication with the Island Councils including the Islands Working Group which will drive forward work on key economic, social and other priorities. I am confident that as we approach the Referendum the Island groups are in a much stronger position now with both the UK and Scottish Governments than we were prior to the launch of “Our Islands Our Future.”

Steven Heddle, Convener of Orkney Islands Council, said: Today’s announcement follows almost a year of dialogue with the UK Government over issues within its powers that are of great importance to the islands.

Our intention throughout has been to secure a stronger future for our communities, regardless of the outcome of the Referendum. As Convener of the Council, I welcome this response to our representations.

As well as outlining specific measures, it importantly establishes a channel for continuing dialogue with the Westminster Government in the event of a No vote.

Gary Robinson, Leader of Shetland Islands Council, said: At the outset of the “Our Islands Our Future” campaign, we said that we wanted to engage with both the Scottish and UK Governments, and for that to lead to published statements of intent.

I welcome today’s launch and feel that it represents another important output from our campaign.

































Is Tavish Scott a Numpty? – Gentleman farmer – Wants to be a Lord Like His Daddy


Gardie House. Tavish Scott’s residence in Shetland. The attaching estate takes up almost all of the island.





Tavish Scott MSP For Shetland

Scott, the son of the Laird of Bressay, Sir John Scott was born on 6 May 1966 in Inverness, Scotland. He was schooled in Lerwick, Shetland and gained a BA (Hons) Business Studies from Napier College in Edinburgh.

After graduating, he worked as parliamentary assistant to Jim Wallace, Lib Dem MP for Orkney and Shetland, and then as the Press Officer for the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

He later returned to Shetland and took over the family farm and became a councillor on Shetland Islands Council and Chairman of the Lerwick Harbour Trust.

He was elected the first Member of the Scottish Parliament for Shetland in May 1999 and was the Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats from 2008 to 2011, stepping down after the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary election, in which the Liberal Democrats were reduced to five seats, down from 16 in the previous parliament.

When he is not in Edinburgh attending Holyrood and caring for his second wife and family Scott lives in Gardie House (an “A” listed mansion built in 1724) on the isle of Bressay, Shetland (near to the Town of Lerwick) where he runs the family farm (mainly sheep) which occupies much of the island.

He was married to first wife Margaret for about 14 years. She bore him three children (1g & 2 b). The couple separated not long after he took up his MSP post at Holyrood and were divorced some three years later.

His ex wife still resides in Bressay, Shetland with the children. Tavish returns home to the family farm at Gardie House, Bressay frequently, at weekends maintaining contact with the children, his farm and constituents.

His other life, as an MSP required him to reside in Edinburgh so that he would be able to attend Holyrood regularly. He first rented then purchased a flat for the purpose.

In 2001 he entered into a relationship then married the BBC political correspondent Kirsten Campbell in 2003.





Tavish Scott and politics

His political beliefs are akin to the weather, changeable. At 2016 he is determined to get back to Holyrood so that he can ferment political revolution by persuading his constituents to return him to office with a mandate to ask the Westminster government to authorise a plebiscite in Shetland granting the Isles “British protected semi-autonomous British Overseas” status mirroring that of the Channel Islands.

This would remove Shetland from the control of the Scottish parliament. The new status would include, (where applicable) a 200 mile exclusion zone which would in effect transfer, oil, gas and fisheries to Westminster through Lerwick.

To assist his campaign he has secured the backing of the recently formed right wing group “Wir Shetland”. Activists number around 400. They are led by John Tulloch who resides in Argyll where he formed the ultra right wing “For Argyll” group which has aims mirroring those of the new Shetland group.


Tavish with his second wife Kirsten Campbell





May 2004: BBC Scotland forced to defend its political coverage last night after a senior reporter revealed she was in a relationship with a Liberal Democrat minister, but was to carry on in her current role.

Kirsten Campbell, BBC Scotland’s political correspondent, and Tavish Scott, deputy finance minister, yesterday announced they had been romantically involved for around six weeks.

The couple are understood to have made the declaration amid mounting speculation. Mr Scott, 37, MSP for Shetland, is separated but not divorced from his wife of 14 years, with whom he has three children.

He said: ”Given media interest in my separation last year, I have decided to avoid any speculation by confirming that I am in a relationship with Kirsten Campbell and have been since last month.” He refused to give further details or say if an engagement was being planned.

Ms Campbell, 35, added: ”It’s early days. I consider myself lucky to have found such a wonderful man.” She said she told her employers of the relationship around two weeks ago to ensure there was ”no question of any impact on my integrity or credibility, or the BBC’s integrity or credibility”. She added: ”If this relationship becomes serious then I will have to move out of political coverage.”

However, the BBC last night said that Ms Campbell would continue to cover the Scottish Executive, in which Mr Scott has a number of important duties and uniquely covers two portfolios.

As deputy finance minister, he has responsibilities for the Scottish budget, public services, local government, civil service reform and external relations. As deputy minister for parliamentary business, he is involved in organising Holyrood’s legislative programme.

The BBC said Ms Campbell would not cover stories involving Mr Scott personally. A spokesman said the corporation ”absolutely” stood by the integrity of its output. He said: ”We all know Kirsten Campbell is highly regarded and known for her impartiality and lack of bias, as is the case for all our political correspondents.”


Typical Morningside home





November 2006: Scandal. The Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance Scheme.

One of the biggest winners from the scheme appears to be Tavish Scott, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland. He is charging the public nearly £1000 a month in mortgage interest payments to help him buy a £380,000 house in Edinburgh. He has doubled the amount he bills the taxpayer for the property perk despite making a £36,000 profit last year on another flat bought with help from the public purse. And he previously claimed rent on a flat which at the time was owned by his sister.

The revelations are further blows for the widely discredited Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance. The parliamentary scheme allows MSPs to either claim mortgage interest payments on a property in the capital, or to rent, or to stay in a hotel. The allowance is also deeply unpopular because it has allowed several MSPs to make substantial profits on properties bought with the help of taxpayers’ money. One of the biggest winners from the scheme appears to be Scott, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland.

Land registry documents show that most MSPs have used the allowance to buy small flats in central Edinburgh costing between £80,000 and £100,000. But Scott has taken advantage of the generous system by purchasing a house last year in Morningside worth £380,000, on a mortgage of £265,000. Parliamentary records show he is now billing the public £979 a month in interest payments on his mortgage – the highest charge of any MSP. Scott is also entitled to claim the £1920 council tax on his new band-G house. An identical property for sale in the same street, inviting offers over £350,000, has three bedrooms, a “lovely private garden”, and a conservatory and patio.










Tavish Scott’s housing is affordable. The taxpayer pays the mortgage, rates and service charges

The purchase of the house is only part of the Lib/Dem minister’s use of the accommodation allowance. The MSP bought his first property through the scheme in 2002, a £112,000 flat at Lower London Road sold to him by his sister. Figures show he claimed around £500 a month in mortgage payments for the property.

He sold the flat last year for £148,000, pocketing £36,000 in profit. This allowed him to buy the much bigger property in Morningside. This purchase coincided with Scott’s changed personal circumstances. By 2005, he was separated from his wife and dating BBC journalist Kirsten Campbell. The electoral roll shows a “Kirsten Campbell” is registered at the new property.

The minister is now charging the public almost double the amount he charged for his previous flat, up from £500 to £979 a month. Scott has also left himself open to criticism regarding his rental arrangements prior to buying his first taxpayer-funded flat in 2002. That property was bought by Scott’s sister in 2000 – just months after her brother was elected to Holyrood – and sold to him two years later. However, council records show a Tavish H Scott was on the electoral roll for this flat in 2001. The LibDem MSP was claiming rent for staying in his sister’s property.








10 December 2010: Kirsten Campbell, BBC Scotland political correspondent and wife of Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott was lead reporter on last week’s BBC presentation “Scotland at a standstill” story which covered the totally unexpected extreme weather that hit Scotland overnight.

She falsley reported and repeated the allegations often over a period of 2 days that – Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson had apologised and resigned over his handling of the chaos brought on by the unexpected extreme winter weather. And that the resignation had been self-inflicted.

But the foregoing is untrue. He was not forced to resign because of the bad weather. He was not even forced to resign because of the councils’ handling of the bad weather. He was forced out of his job because of his initial reaction to last week’s snowfalls. With hundreds of people trapped in their cars overnight, Mr Stevenson went on the BBC the following morning and tried to brazen it out. The Scottish Government’s response had been first class, he said and then he went on to blame any failures on others for not being more accurate with the forecasts. It was entirely the wrong approach and despite his later apology, the mood among the opposition, some sections of the media and a small number of furious motorists had, by this time, swung against him. They demanded a culprit and, as a result, Mr Stevenson was forced from his job.

Responsible newspapers however, gave attention to the poor quality of the forecasts airing the view that there was little Stevenson could have done. Newspaper letter columns also called for personal responsibility:






* “I’m all for bashing the Nats,” said one writer in The Scotsman, “but surely this comes down to common sense. Everybody could see for themselves what the conditions were like.”

Significantly, the BBC continued with it’s rabid approach, the corporation was determined to set the agenda, and it succeeded when the tabloids later followed its lead and pilloried Stevenson.

There was no exploration by BBC Scotland of the many different agencies involved in keeping Scotland running (or not), such as the quango Transport Scotland, councils, the police, and private road maintenance companies.

BBC Scotland point blank refused to engage with any arguments other than political cock-up.

BBC Scotland repeatedly played a single interview with one frustrated driver demanding – after some prompting by the BBC interviewer – “the transport minister should take the blame”.

In doing so the BBC angled the story in the way a newspaper editor might run a campaign, going for the jugular.

But newspapers are not regulated by a charter committing them to editorial values such as “no significant strand of thought is knowingly unrepresented”.

Thursday night’s News-night went so far as to use the M8 blockages as a metaphor for the failure of devolution itself.

By Sunday the thaw had come and Stevenson had gone. But BBC Scotland continued to re-run the Monday night News-night, on the Politics Show Scottish opt-out.

They twice replayed the clip of Stevenson’s now infamous interview. The very familiar angry motorist also got another outing, along with the selective use of weather forecasts. It was tabloid television and about as useful to the public as a jack-knifed lorry.

So her blatant anti SNP government agenda is exposed. why then was she not removed from her role as the BBC political correspondent for Holyrood.






6 February 2011: Consistently inconsistent

But what of Tavish Scott? During the snow chaos which hit Scotland, he hit new political heights by calling for the resignation of the Scottish Government’s transport minister. But when the same chaos hit England a week later, the calls for the Con-Dem counterpart to resign were… not forthcoming. Fancy that!

Irrespective of political allegiances though, the word on the street… well from civil servants in the Scots Parliament who have to deal with him, is that Tosspot Scott is an arseloch par excellence, if you don’t mind the Franco-Germanic profaning.


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10 May 2011: Tavish Scot not to go for Presiding Officer

We understand that the former Lib/Dem Leader, Tavish Scott, received disappointing responses to the soundings carried out by his friends at Holyrood on what sort of support he might expect if he put himself forward for the post of Presiding Officer. He has now let it be known that he never had any intention of entering the contest for the role. As they do. In the absence of a lucrative escape route, the importance of trying to re-establish his credentials in Shetland has suddenly become more important than it was on Sunday.

A helpful but indiscreet friend of his revealed in the national media that Scott’s intention was to become Presiding Officer and then use that as a springboard to the House of Lords. His failure to attract any great enthusiasm from his parliamentary peers for the move has led to a certain rowing back of the Viking longboat from its planned journey south.

Some unsung hard work below ground to try to tunnel his party back to the light might bring more respect – as his party senior, George Lyon, has hinted.


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7 May 2011: Disastrous election performance forces Scott to stand down as party leader

Tavish Scott resigned as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats today after the party’s disastrous showing in the Scottish Parliament election on Thursday.

Although he retained his Shetland seat with a significantly reduced majority after a strong showing by independent candidate Billy Fox, Mr Scott was one of only two constituency MPs who made it back to Holyrood. The other was Orkney MSP Liam MacArthur. The party’s other three MSPs, making five in total, down from 16, were elected on regional lists.

In a statement, Mr Scott said: “I want to announce that I am resigning the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats with immediate effect. “Thursday’s Scottish general election result was disastrous and I must and do take responsibility for the verdict of the electorate. “The party needs a new direction, new thinking and new leadership to win back the trust of the Scottish people. I am honoured to serve as Shetland’s MSP in this Parliament.”







17 April 2013: Northern Isles are Scottish, say islanders

An opinion poll of residents of the Northern Isles, has given the lie to claims by certain supporters of the anti-independence campaign that Shetland and Orkney might seek to remain a part of the UK if Scotland becomes independent.

The poll, published in the newspaper on Wednesday, finds that 82%, the overwhelming majority, of the islanders wish to remain Scottish. Asked “Should Shetland/Orkney be independent countries, separate from Scotland?” only 8% of islanders who participated in the poll said that they were in agreement, with a further 10% saying they did not know.

Earlier this year Tavish Scott, former leader of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland and MSP for Orkney and Shetland, called on the islands to loosen their ties with Scotland. Mr Scott said that he was in favour of the islands forming a crown dependency in their own right, with a similar status to the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

Scott and other supporters of the anti-independence campaign seized upon a report published at the beginning of this year by Capital Economics, an economic research firm, which cited the “strong” negotiating position of the islands if Scots vote for independence. The report was widely cited in the Scottish media as evidence that Shetland and Orkney would choose not to remain a part of Scotland if the rest of the country opted for independence.

Capital Economics is headed by economist Roger Bootle, who is a regular columnist in the Daily Telegraph newspaper. Bootle was previously appointed as an advisor and economic forecaster to the UK Treasury during the Conservative administration of John Major.

The analysis carried out by London based economist Martin Beck for Capital Economics said Shetland and Orkney islanders could decide to remain part of the UK in the aftermath of a Yes vote or insist on a high degree of autonomy from Scotland, similar to the relationship between Denmark and the Faroe Islands.

Claims that the islands could opt to remain part of the UK have featured regularly in the Scottish media, with BBC Reporting Scotland also broadcasting similar items.

According to a report published in the Times newspaper in 2009, during the campaign for Scottish Home Rule in the 1970s, UK Treasury officials suggested encouraging local campaigns for independence in Orkney and Shetland in order to deprive Scotland of as much of the oil reserves as possible.

In his diaries, the late Anthony Crosland, who was a Cabinet Minister in the Labour government until his death in 1977, admitted that the UK government intended to plant stories with sympathetic journalists and politicians to foster divisions between the Northern Isles and Scotland as part of a campaign to subvert Scottish self-determination.

Mr Crosland and his civil servants suggested that this could be achieved by carrying out “confidential briefings of selected public opinion informers” and placing articles in the press with no acknowledgement of official involvement.

In the current independence campaign, similar articles have appeared prominently in the UK media, although it is unknown whether the present UK government has adopted a similar strategy. However today’s opinion poll proves that there is little or no appetite amongst islanders for such a move, and the people of the Northern Isles see their future as remaining a part of Scotland.






Much like Labour believe Glasgow belongs to them I think Tavish and other Lib Demmers believe the Northern isles to be somehow their`s but with most unionists what the people want always comes behind the needs of the union.  Always thought Tavish was smug and quite a poor politician also but i`m sure he has done some good for those he was elected to represent also. However, disguise it as they may, the question and answer were very, very clear. Its most important that for this show of support the folk of Shetland and Orkney are not let down in our support for them. They’ve blown the enclave/crown dependency argument out of the water with their response and left Tavish Scott with a huge amount of egg on his face. Wonder if Tavish will make an appearance today?

Apart from a few lunatic politicians, everyone accepts that the Northern and Western Isles are part of Scotland.The clue to this lies in the acceptance by Westminster that people residing in the islands are registered on the Scottish electoral role and consequently are eligible to vote in the referendum. Should Tavish Scott and friends wish to separate the islands from Scotland,they will have to go through the same process as Holyrood beginning with a manifesto pledge to their electorate to do so. If the poll reported in the P&J is accurate then they may wish to consider an alternative career.

It’s ironic that Tavish Scott is advocating “Independence” for the Northern Isles, but not for Scotland. The man’s a fool – you only have to look at what a bollocks he made of the Aberdeen bypass plans. He was given the choice of five possible routes by the planners, but chose a sixth. Hence my nickname for him. “Six Roads” Scott.





7 April 2016: Campaign group Wir Shetland this week gave its backing to Liberal Democrat candidate Tavish Scott for the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections.

The endorsement came in the same week that Mr Scott, who has represented Shetland since the parliament was formed in 1999, launched a campaign seeking re-election on Thursday 5th May.

A Wir Shetland statement issued this weeks states: “We are neither a political party in our own right, nor in a position to field a candidate in the forthcoming Scottish parliamentary election.

“Which leaves the options of supporting a candidate from one of the existing political parties; an emerging independent candidate; or remaining neutral.

“Given our well-documented opposition to the treatment of Shetland by the incumbent SNP Scottish government since 2007, remaining neutral would be neither a realistic nor a credible position.”

The statement continues to criticise the SNP and explains why Wir Shetland cannot back Danus Skene’s party before going on to say that “the Conservatives and Labour have shown little interest and at best, lukewarm support” to the idea of Shetland self-government.

Wir Shetland goes on to say that “Tavish Scott, by contrast, in the tradition of Liberal and Liberal Democrat parties, has long supported the idea of greater local powers”.

Group chairman John Tulloch said: “Tavish is miles ahead of the other candidates in making the case and fighting for Shetland on local powers, education, transport subsidies, NHS funding and we must return him to Holyrood as ‘wir MSP’.”






7 April 2016: Scott launches campaign as Wir Shetland declare support

There was a surprise when Non-Political Campaign group “Wir Shetland” this week gave its backing to Liberal Democrat candidate Tavish Scott for the upcoming Scottish Parliament elections.

The endorsement came in the same week that Mr Scott, who has represented Shetland since the parliament was formed in 1999, launched a campaign seeking re-election on Thursday 5th May.

A Wir Shetland statement issued this weeks states: “We are neither a political party in our own right, nor in a position to field a candidate in the forthcoming Scottish parliamentary election. “Which leaves the options of supporting a candidate from one of the existing political parties; an emerging independent candidate; or remaining neutral. “Given our well-documented opposition to the treatment of Shetland by the incumbent SNP Scottish government since 2007, remaining neutral would be neither a realistic nor a credible position.”

The statement, issued by John Tulloch, continues to criticise the SNP and explains why the committee cannot back Danus Skene’s party before going on to say that “the Conservatives and Labour have shown little interest and at best, lukewarm support” to the idea of Shetland self-government. Tavish Scott, by contrast, in the tradition of Liberal and Liberal Democrat parties, has long supported the idea of greater local powers”.

Group chairman John Tulloch went on to say “Tavish is miles ahead of the other candidates in making the case and fighting for Shetland on local powers, education, transport subsidies, NHS funding and we must return him to Holyrood as ‘wir MSP’.”







* Robin Stevenson: You’re correct John, I do remember asking you to start a campaign for more a more autonomous Shetland, but I certainly didn’t imagine you being daft enough to back an utterly useless and dying UK party whose only agenda is to make sure that Shetland is ‘hog-tied’ to Westminster? Tavish [like Labour/Tory] will offer you the moon and deliver exactly what they’ve delivered to date? Nada. So I applaud what you have done and I’m fully aware you have the best interests of Shetland at heart, but I’m afraid your goal is NOT shared by those that have chosen to jump on ‘Your’ bandwagon. Surely someone – eventually – will look look to their motives and past deeds, and ask themselves, ‘Why has this not been done before by the very – elected – people that are now insisting that this is the way forward? The sad part for you, is these are the guys that are actually being paid [handsomely] to do what you have decided to take on yourself, while dragging them along for the ride?….Weird?

* Derick Tulloch: The credibility of a political group (that claims to be non-political) that doesn’t have the courage to put their ideas before the electorate is questionable.

* Derek Sim: Credibility in politics is indeed hugely important, John. Unfortunately for you, then, I can’t be the only one laughing at your claim that WS is “the biggest political group in Shetand” when all the publicity around the group at its launch and since has carefully avoided calling WS a political group at all. On your website, the description is “a multi-party campaign group dedicated to winning self-governing powers for Shetland… the option of registering as a political party will be considered if necessary.” Believe it or not, I (like many others, I suspect) am neutral as regards WS’s aims. I don’t think they are achievable but that is another matter. What bugs me is all the fuss posting in a rather self-defeating and attention-seeking way on here instead of just getting on and doing what you clearly want to do but are afraid to: putting up a candidate for election.

* Ray Purchase: I thought you said Wir Shetland were a non-political group but now you’re saying it’s the biggest political group in Shetland? Make up your mind man!

* Ian Leask: I live in the Shetland Isles, these are the very same people who passionately campaigned for a No vote last year, all you hear from them on a daily basis is SNP bad. They seem to think that Scotland isn’t good enough to run its self but some how the Shetland Isles Is. As I see It, this Is just a ploy by Unionists to take Shetlands Oil out of the equation so Its tied to England for ever more

* Murdoch Mackenzie: How true your words are Ian, with a name like Leask you are obviously a real Shetlander. I used to work with a Dougie Leask but he lived in Wick although he had been born and brought up on the Islands.
I don’t know if you are old enough to remember the start of the oil boom when Shetland was being flooded with ex military types from the South, you could sense then that they were trying to establish themselves locally and it is the same today. Islanders are very wise people and see incomers with an agenda a mile away. Westminster has no claim on Shetland, no matter what some on here would wish.

* James Cassidy: Wow. “For Argyll”. The website that’s so anti-Scottish it supports an independence campaign for Shetland- So long as it ties itself to Westminster! I’ve no idea who Mr For Argyll is, but what happened to make you hate Scotland so much?

* No Cheese Here: My contacts .basically tell me that the Wir are in the main expats who have been anglicised and toryfied one living in Arrocher in Argyll — see the connection and the broader For Argyll right wingers are in league with the right wing groups.

* James Cassiday: That would explain a fair bit then. I recall seeing a clip on Russia Today a few weeks back of British Nationalists protesting against immigrants somewhere in Ayrshire (the location escapes me).
One was arrested after throwing an object at the pro immigrant Scottish Nationalist protesters. A man with a strong Northern Irish accent, he was shouting at the immigrants to “go home”. Clearly he didn’t do irony…


Shetland Councillor Amanda Westlake






7 April 2016: Councillor Amanda Westlake quits Wir Shetland in wake of Tavish endorsement

Councillor Amanda Westlake has withdrawn her support for island autonomy group Wir Shetland after being treated in an “aggressive” manner by its chairman for asking how it came to back Tavish Scott in the upcoming Holyrood election.

The Lerwick South representative resigned from the organisation on Monday with immediate effect after questioning chairman John Tulloch about its recent decision to support Scott in 5 May’s Scottish election without apparently polling its members. Westlake said she did not get answer about how the party came to support the Liberal Democrat and instead received messages penned in an “aggressive tone” from Tulloch, a Shetlander who lives in Argyll, about unrelated matters.

She was one of three councillors – alongside Andrea Manson and Robert Henderson – who backed Wir Shetland when it was formed last year with the aim of securing self-governing powers for the isles within Scotland. The councillor’s conversation with Tulloch took place on an online forum that could be viewed by Wir Shetland members, with Westlake claiming other people have since resigned from the group.

Amanda said “I posted a question to John Tulloch asking if I had missed a poll asking their members for their views on representing Tavish. I was led to believe when I joined Wir Shetland that it was a multi-party organisation for bettering the autonomy of Shetland. Was it the chair that made the executive decision for all of the members to back Tavish Scott, and quite deliberately slate the SNP party?”

Wir Shetland chairman John Tulloch denied he had been aggressive and said Westlake was over-reacting. He went on to say that Wir Shetland’s support for Scott became necessary after the group decided it was not in a position to field its own candidate. He did admit that the subject of endorsing the Lib Dem had been discussed on the Wir Shetland members page previously and “not all members were happy with it”.

Westlake said her grievances were not political adding that Tulloch very quickly became “negative” and seeking to avoid answering questions of relevance started to question her about matters of no consequence. “For members not be consulted properly on issues, to be refused to be told why things were being done and to be treated in a negative and what I personally felt was an aggressive manner – it is not an organisation I want to be part of,” she concluded.

Asked why Wir Shetland’s membership had not been polled about the decision to endorse Scott’s candidacy, Tulloch replied: “The answer is simple – it’s a decision for the committee. The committee decides policy – it’s in the constitution.”










Scottish Tory Party – Ruth Davidson’s Rhetoric is insincere and Asinine – Serving Only to Obscure the Truth – That the Party is a Busted Flush


Ruth Davidson and Glasgow University Association members

The blonde chap kneeling in front with arms aloft is Ross McFarlane, her election agent and GUCA president. She later sacked him as her Holyrood assistant after mobile phone footage emerged of him drunkenly burning an EU flag in a street at 2am while a companion made sectarian remarks about referee Hugh Dallas and the Pope.
Meanwhile, the poker-faced chap on the right of the photo with the square lapel badge is Stewart Green, the GUCA webmaster. He apologised after posting a number of dodgy Tweets about race, including one comparing an Asian festival to cats being strangled.
And finally, the dark-haired guy with the blue shirt and blue tie immediately above McFarlane is Colin James Taylor, a former GUCA president, who now works for the Tory Press and Research Unit at Holyrood.  He featured in a story in the Sunday Herald after Tweeting lyrics from a song glorifying the UVF. He has also apologised and been issued with a formal warning.  All in all, quite a crew.


Ruth Davidson with partner Jen Wilson, from Wexford in Ireland




Don’t fall For the hype

Ruth Davidson has been very busy in the last few months supporting the agenda of a compliant Unionist press and the BBC broadcasting images and reports favourable to Unionist parties.

So no change in the well practised anti – devolution dogma of a media funded by the very people it seeks to deny unbiased information.

But Ruth and her unionist colleagues exercise no control over the ever increasing power of information exchange on the “Social Media” scene. And truth will out, in the long run.

This article seeks to highlight the duplicity of the Tory Party in Scotland under the leadership of Ruth Davidson. Believe me she is no “Mother Teresa”.

Her agenda is to present the Tory Party and herself as a modernised entity who wish only to do good things for Scotland. But the truth does not measure up to the rhetoric.

The Party is on its last legs in Scotland. Division and strife perpetuate meetings and policy direction and the in fighting will worsen.

In support of the foregoing, ponder the decision by the Glasgow University Conservative Association (Chair Ruth Davidson) to extend a “Guest of Honour” invitation to a St Andrews Night Dinner to Roger Helmer (MEP).

A review of Roger’s political views and pronouncements gives even a casual reader cause for concern but the ecstatic welcome he received at the dinner exposes the Tory Party and its leadership to rightful condemnation.



Roger Helmer (MEP) & Ross Macfarlane


28 November 2010: St Andrews Night Dinner – Glasgow University Conservative Association – Guest of Honour – Roger Helmer (MEP)

Roger was invited, as the “Guest of Honour” to address the diners on matters of political importance and to propose a toast to St Andrew.

Sixty or so diners tucked into traditional Saint Andrews fare, Scotch broth, haggis with neeps & tatties, cranachan and port.

The group included a couple of MSPs and a host of candidates for public office.

The Main Speaker was Roger, who enjoyed the reaction of an enthusiastic audience.

In his speech, a reference to Dan Hannan, (ultra right wing Tory MEP) was met with a burst of spontaneous applause.

When he commended the Daily Express “Get Britain Out of the EU” campaign, they cheered to the echo.

And his dismissal of climate change hysteria, brought raucous approval.

The success of the dinner proved that the Glasgow University Conservative Association, under the dynamic leadership of its Chair, Ruth Davidson and President Ross MacFarlane is no mere debating society or social club.

They are serious campaigners pounding the streets of Scotland on the Party’s behalf.

They are the future of the Conservative Party. And like so many Conservatives they’ve had enough of the EU, and they want out.

They’ve also lost patience with the global warming lobby. They don’t believe it, and they won’t pay for it.

They wonder just how long David Cameron can lead the Party deeper into the EU, and into the battle for “climate mitigation”, before he notices that the troops aren’t following behind. He risks becoming dangerously exposed.



Meanwhile outside the venue all was not so sweet and rosy

The freezing evening saw thirty or so protesters – predominantly from the Anti-Cuts Movement – gather outside the Glasgow University Union in an emergency demonstration against the annual “St.Andrews Dinner” hosted by Glasgow University Conservatives.

The protest was modest but clearly voiced their opinions against the hypocrisy of throwing a decadent dinner party in light of the fact that universities (and other institutions) across the UK are facing drastic cuts.

Students in Glasgow have seen lecturers losing their jobs courses disappearing and facilities unable to develop due to these cuts, all the name of government “austerity” promoted by a Conservative led coalition in Westminster.

The protestors wanted to know how money could be spared for events like this, but not for the preservation of education – especially on the campus of one of Glasgow’s most important education institutes.

Three police vans (later joined by at least three more) and a disproportionate amount of police officers, had been deployed, for what was clearly a legal and peaceful picket line.

It later transpired that the president of the GUU, had alerted the police – although he had apparently not warranted the size of the police presence that would arrive.

He was quick to state that he was not against the demonstration, but felt it was an “attack” on the GUU, which does not hold political alliance with any party.

The police however found it necessary to have a strong presence at the picket line, although protestors stated that they were mostly not a threatening or obtrusive force – only asking that the protestors refrained from swearing in their chants, because children may be present.

However, police conflict did occur when a member of the Glasgow University Conservatives found it hard to get past the protesters, and in the subsequent struggle, three protestors were deemed to have acted aggressively and were arrested. They were later released with ASBOs.

It was at this point that the tension rose, as police refused to answer exactly why protesters had been arrested at a legal protest – and a rumour swiftly swept round that it was under the “terrorist act.”

Questions were also raised concerning the provocative actions of some G.U Conservative members towards the protestors – but the police did not comment. The protest continued peacefully, with the protestors leaving in unison.




And after the dinner drunken Conservative students committed breaches of the peace

Young Conservative, President Ross MacFarlane, (still dressed in the robes of Glasgow University) and a small number of friends ended up in Hyndland in Glasgow’s west end, at 2am after the dinner.

Three people, including McFarlane and another individual draped in a Union Flag, conspired to burn the EU flag on the pavement. Struggling to set the cloth on fire, McFarlane says “F**k sake”, before adding: “Get a lighter.” An off-camera voice is heard to say: “Douse it.” At this point it becomes clear the group is planning to burn the flag using alcohol and a lighter.

McFarlane is then seen to pour liquid onto the flag, prompting an associate to say: “What a waste of vodka, by the way.” A frustrated McFarlane exclaimed: “Somebody get a lighter.” An unnamed individual is heard saying: “Some c**t has it.”

McFarlane repeats his demand: “Pass down the lighter.” The failure to destroy the flag then becomes a source of merriment for a member of the group off-camera. He can be heard saying: “There’s more chance of f**king seeing the Pope confess to paedophilia.”

The group laughs. The same person then says: “There’s more chance of Hugh Dallas [ex-football referee] telling us he’s a f**king tarrier.” “Tarrier” is a derogatory term for an Irish Catholic; the jibe prompts more laughter. McFarlane finally sets the flag on fire. The small group expresses its approval before one individual starts to sing God Save The Queen.

The fire peters out and McFarlane says: “Shit disnae burn lads.” accompanied by two others, lit the flag, sectarian abuse could clearly be heard, including the derogatory term “tarrier” and claims that the pope was a paedophile.

Macfarlane was later sacked as Davidson’s parliamentary assistant after footage was released by the press of him burning the flag. The film clearly shows Stewart Green, and another individual holding the cloth as McFarlane tried to set it on fire.

All in all quite a crew.






16 January 2011: Tory MEP makes ‘turn’ homosexuals remark

Tory MEP Roger Helmer on Twitter: Why is it OK for a surgeon to perform a sex-change operation, but not OK for a psychiatrist to try to “turn” a consenting homosexual?

Roger Helmer MEP has a long history of such nonsense. A couple of years ago Helmer said that the word homophobia was a “propaganda device”. He wrote on his blog:

“And while we’re mentioning semantic issues, let me point out that the neologism “homophobia” is not so much a word as a political agenda. In psychiatry, a phobia is defined as an irrational fear. I have yet to meet anyone who has an irrational fear of homosexuals, or of homosexuality. So to the extent that the word has any meaning at all, it describes something which simply does not exist.

“Homophobia” is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinions, which have been held by most people through most of recorded history. It is frightening evidence of the way in which political correctness is threatening our freedom.




12 August 2013: UKIP MEP In Child Sex Comments Storm

Roger Helmer, MEP for the East Midlands when asked his opinion caused a storm when he claimed that 15 year old girls can consent to sex with pop stars.

Helmer said “Suppose a 15-year-old girl is at a club with a pop star, and he says ‘how about it, dear’? and she says ‘yes please, I was hoping you’d ask’. In most people’s book, that constitutes consent. Legally, she cannot consent, but in real terms, she can.” Helmer also claimed that if an underage child asked for sex then they were contributing to the problem.

This isn’t the first time the former Tory MEP has caused controversy by making disgusting comments. On May 2011 Helmer wrote on his blog that there should be two categories of rape, “stranger rape” and “date rape” and that a woman who is date raped “surely shares a part of the responsibility”.

Tape Here:







6 May 2014: Ukip’s seal-hating, gay-baiting, victim-blaming Newark candidate, Roger Helmer

He doesn’t think homophobia exists, blames rape victims, and seems to be sexually confused about Earl Grey tea.. Here are a best-of, or worst-of, his most incendiary remarks:

Disliking gay people is like disliking Earl Grey tea. He told the Sun that Brits should be able to dislike homosexuals, like they don’t like certain types of tea: [some people find homosexuality] distasteful if not viscerally repugnant… Different people may have different tastes. You may tell me that you don’t like Earl Grey tea. That may be a minority view but you are entitled not to like it if you don’t like it.

Helmer later told the Independent that people may prefer “heterosexuality or homosexuality”.

The Sun also picked up and printed remarks he quoted in a 2000 pamphlet “Being gay is abnormal and undesirable and not to be “celebrated”. Homosexuality is “not a lifestyle worthy of valid equal respect”.

Equal marriage is like incest. He raised the question: “If two men can be married, why not three men? Or two men and a woman?… Why not a commune? If two men have a right to marry, how can we deny the same right to two siblings? Are we to authorise incest?”

The distinction between “date” and “stranger” rape: In May 2011 Helmer imagined, probably stroking his trademark moustache during his musings, a date scenario to distinguish between ‘two types’ of rape:

The first is the classic “stranger-rape”, where a masked individual emerges from the bushes, hits his victim over the head with a blunt instrument, drags her into the undergrowth and rapes her, and the leaves her unconscious, careless whether she lives or dies.

The second is “date rape”. Imagine that a woman voluntarily goes to her boyfriend’s apartment, voluntarily goes into the bedroom, voluntarily undresses and gets into bed, perhaps anticipating sex, or naïvely expecting merely a cuddle. But at the last minute she gets cold feet and says “Stop!”. The young man, in the heat of the moment, is unable to restrain himself and carries on.

In both cases an offence has been committed, and the perpetrators deserve to be convicted and punished. But whereas in the first case, I’d again be quite happy to hang the guy, I think that most right-thinking people would expect a much lighter sentence in the second case. Rape is always wrong, but not always equally culpable.

My two scenarios also give the lie to one of the popular over-simplifications trotted out by the feminist tendency in these cases: “Rape is always about power and control and domination, never about sex”. In the first case, that may well be true. In the second case, it is clearly not true. While in the first case, the blame is squarely on the perpetrator and does not attach to the victim, in the second case the victim surely shares a part of the responsibility, if only for establishing reasonable expectations in her boyfriend’s mind.



5 November 2014: Climate deniers:  Ukip in bed with corporate America

Three of Nigel Farage’s MEPs, including its energy spokesperson Roger Helmer, added their names to a letter signed by over 200 US state lawmakers and organised by the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec).

This is not a body most political parties in Britain would be keen to associate with. It is a powerful lobbying group sponsored by corporate interests and is a favourite of Tea Party types. It bankrolls climate change  sceptics and promotes a ‘model’ climate change bill will suggests global warming is “possibly beneficial” to the planet.

Helmer labelled climate change the “Great Climate Myth”, and spent £9,000 on a poster campaign for climate change scepticism. His slogan was the inspiring: “Green climate change policies: Probably unnecessary, Certainly ineffectual, Ruinously expensive.” He responded to critics by saying “I am speaking for the majority of British voters”.



On his blog he wrote this about homophobia:

” Let me point out that the neologism “homophobia” is not so much a word as a political agenda. In psychiatry, a phobia is defined as an irrational fear. I have yet to meet anyone who has an irrational fear of homosexuals, or of homosexuality. So to the extent that the word has any meaning at all, it describes something which simply does not exist.

“Homophobia” is merely a propaganda device designed to denigrate and stigmatise those holding conventional opinions, which have been held by most people through most of recorded history.

It is frightening evidence of the way in which political correctness is threatening our freedom. It is creating “thought crimes”, where merely to hold a conventional opinion is seen, in itself, to be unacceptable and reprehensible. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it.”




When he was a Conservative MEP (he defected to Ukip in March 2012), he tweeted an astonishing response to the London riots in August 2011:

“Memo to COBRA: Time to get tough. Bring in the Army. Shoot looters and arsonists on sight.”

Then a gentler response…

“Let’s try water cannon/plastic rounds first. But if the police lose control completely, tougher measures are called for.”





In 2006, Helmer commented that beating “dumb” seal cubs on the head was a “humane” way of killing them, and he told a 17-year-old animal rights campaigner to “save your concerns for people rather than them.” In a bizarre accusation, he also condemned seals as “guilty” of eating too much fish. He wrote to A-level student:

I think it’s mawkish, sentimental and unhelpful to adopt a Bambi attitude to animals. Your sympathy for dumb animals does you credit but save your concerns for people rather than them. And another good reason for a badger cull — it would bring down the exorbitant price of shaving brushes.







The Tory Party – Possibly the Sleaziest Political Organisation in History – Drugs – Sex Orgies – Rape – Blackmail – Bullying – Suicide and Illegal Canvassing of Voters – And Yet Voters Return Them to Government – C’mon Scots Get Wise and Get Rid Of Them










Roadtrip 2015 campaigning day during the Rochester & Strood by-election last year. Photo: @Roadtrip2015.

A Tory Battlebus







26 Apr 2015: The Tories Plan to up their ground game in the final 10 days with the “Battlebus2015” Campaign

Membership of the Conservative Party has halved under David Cameron, leaving him with fewer activists to help him in this election than were available to any of his modern predecessors. So how to fight a Labour Party that has not suffered from the same hollowing out? One answer is to bus in activists, which is being done via “Roadtrip2015” a travelling ensemble of young volunteers who move around the country en mass for a day of campaigning, each time in a key seat.

This morning, a new phase of Roadtrip is kicking off as the election campaign enters into the final 10 days. Tory activists are being persuaded to sign up to ‘Battlebus 2015’, a plan to bus volunteers into the most vital seats to get out the vote and make some final door-step conversions.

The first two coaches are leaving London this morning, each with 50-odd experienced activists on board. One bus is off heading to the West Country, where David Cameron is also set to give a speech later today.

The other coach is off to Tamworth. The ‘battle buses’ will be returning to these areas later in the week to focus on Liberal Democrat and Labour marginals respectively. Volunteers will spend eight to nine hours a day campaigning for five days.

To join this merry brigade, volunteers are asked to pay £50 (£25 for students) to show they are serious and won’t drop out. In return, CCHQ will be paying for accommodation and sustenance during their five days on the road. Another two coaches are being added to the Battlebus 2015 operation in the final week of the campaign bringing the total to four.

The folks behind the Battlebus operation hope the canvassers will do three things: canvass areas that are lagging behind, hold ‘final conversations’ with Tory voters to ensure they turn out to vote as well as some final persuasion conversions on the doorstep. On each of the buses, a prominent Conservative will join the activists. I understand that Francis Maude, Nick Boles, Nadine Dorries, Liam Fox, Rory Stewart and John Redwood have all signed up to jump on the buses in the last 10 days. Tomorrow, Sajid Javid and Patrick McLoughlin will lead the two buses.

Both the Roadtrip and Battlebus operations are run by Mark Clarke, a 37-year-old marketing executive and a Conservative activist since the age of 15. He was frustrated at the lack of dynamic activism from Tory volunteers and overwhelmed by the strength of Labour activist base, who were being bussed around key seats at weekends.

At first, it was an independent operation from Conservative HQ, who were running ‘Team 2015’ to allocate activists to target seats. Some PPCs in were flagging so Clarke supplemented the Team 2015 work independently. But as Roadtrip was consistently bringing in upwards of 100 Tory activists to campaign days, CCHQ put their backing behind it. Now the focus is on the 40/40 marginals that will decide who wins on May 7.

These trips aren’t going to win the ground war for the Tories on their own; the buses and activists can’t be everywhere at once. But with the polls in today’s papers showing that the Tory lead remains small or non-existent, every door knock will count. There’s no getting away from the fact that the Tories have a smaller activist base than Labour and it’s shrunk in the last five years.

Roadtrip has been a useful way of ensuring that the volunteers are used as effectively as possible. At the very least, Tories will be hoping that the Battlebus operation will push towards a late Conservative surge and 2015 turns into another 1992. ( The Spectator)





David Cameron Praises Mark Clarke’s Battlebus  Campaign







28 November 2015: David Cameron wrote gushing thank you letters to “RoadTrip2015”  Tory aide Mark Clarke, it emerged last night.

In one, the PM credited Clarke with May’s election victory.  He wrote: “We quite simply could not have done it without you.” The PM’s three letters show he was at the heart of Tory electioneering — despite party claims since his downfall that his work was insignificant. (The Sun)












12 October 2015: Conservative Future Scandal:  One Young Tory Speaks Out But A Culture of Fear, Intimidation and Contempt Seems to Have Cowed the Rest.

I’ve been active with the Conservative Party for over a decade now. The things I’ve heard and witnessed over the years are enough to fill a book which would keep the Daily Mirror busy for a month And that was before RoadTrip2015.  The number of stories emerging now is, quite frankly, shocking. Their nature even more so. The knowledge that complaints were allegedly made, and then, equally allegedly, not acted upon, is horrifying. How can this party claim to look after the country when it can’t even look after its own?

I know for a fact that many of us in the youth movement were aware of something rotten in the State of Denmark, so to speak. But what could one do? Complaints were rejected. A culture of fear, intimidation, and contempt seems to have cowed the rest of us into submission. Everything was made subservient to the all-encompassing “RoadTrip” project. We all went along with it, in the hope that possibly some good might come of this unsavoury servility, i.e. a Conservative victory at the general election.

The victory was ours, but at what terrible cost to Elliott, and to our consciences? The only ones who come out of this sorry mess are those who tried to do something about the injustices piled upon them – in every instance apparently without success.  Most just endured the humiliation of rejection in silence. Elliott chose another course: he made a stand, and paid the ultimate price for it. Let us not allow Elliott’s tragic death to have been in vain. Hopefully a reformed, meritocratic, fair, youth wing for the Conservative Party will be his lasting legacy. (The Blue Guerilla)






‘Tatler Tory’ Mark Clarke (second left) and his high society friends including 29yo

Conservative Future chair Alexandra Paterson (left) who had an affair with married

Tory deputy chairman 46yo  Robert Halfon.







28 October 2015: Father of Tory activist who committed suicide fears inquiry will be a whitewash.

Mr Johnson thinks Mark Clarke has political support ‘at a higher level’ and called for a full police investigation. Speaking of ‘Shock’ at treatment of activists seen as ‘Fodder’ Mr Johnson says he was “shocked” to learn about the culture of fear on the Conservative Party’s general election campaign machine “RoadTrip”, accusing the party of failing in its duty of care and treating its young activists as, “Fodder in the pursuit of electoral victory.”  He said he was, “Pleased that young activists are finally finding the courage to raise their concerns and experiences of bullying and intimidation that has been going on within CCHQ, and, it seems CF.” (The Blue Guerilla)






 Elliot Johnson (committed suicide after confrontation with Mark Clarke)

Andre Walker spoke out over the claims


Elliott Johnson






Robert Halfon 46yo and  29yo Conservative Future chair Alexandra Paterson

had an affair and were blackmailed by ???







16 November 2015: Pressure mounts on Tory cabinet minister as sex and blackmail scandal deepens

Tory deputy chair Robert Halfon admitted to an affair with Conservative Future chair Alexandra Paterson – but says another activist tried to blackmail him. The Conservative Party’s 46-year-old deputy chairman, has admitted to a six-month affair with the chair of the party’s youth wing, 16 years his junior.

And in an astonishing twist, he claims the affair came to light after one of the Prime Minister’s election aides tried to blackmail them. Mr Halfon, who has a long-term partner, began an affair with Alexandra Paterson, then a 29-year-old activist and member of Conservative Future in November 2014.  Mr Halfon said: “What I did was wrong, and I feel ashamed. I am not proud of myself. The most important thing to me is to continue to repair my relationship with my partner” (The Mirror)












21 Nov 2015: Police Probe – Tatler Tory Scandal – Tory party at War as Sex Drugs and Blackmail Claims Spiral

Police have interviewed a female Tory activist as the scandal involving a senior election aide erupted into a party civil war. The woman told officers she was sexually harassed by ‘Tatler Tory’ Mark Clarke, who is also accused of bullying a Conservative activist who later took his own life. It comes a day after another woman accused Mr Clarke of blackmailing MPs and snorting cocaine at party events.The seemingly endless revelations about the behaviour of Mr Clarke – who was banned from the party on Tuesday – had Conservative chiefs at each other’s throats last night.

The party, chaired by Lord Feldman, is blaming the scandal on former chairman Grant Shapps, saying he brought in Mr Clarke to work on the election campaign. But insiders said Lord Feldman – a close friend of David Cameron – signed off the money for the now notorious election tours run by Mr Clarke.

The young party activist who spoke to police said Clarke, a married father of two, used the motto Isolate, Inebriate, Penetrate’. to sleep with at least six female colleagues. At least 20 women made complaints about him to Conservative Central Office – with their names being passed on to Mr Clarke. The first whistle-blower was threatened hours after making allegations of sex, drugs and blackmail to Downing Street, with a friend receiving a sinister call saying: ‘If you don’t shut her up, we will.’

In 2014, Grant Shapps asked Mark Clarke to work in conjunction with the party’s Team 2015 (the party’s own volunteer activist organisation).’ One Westminster insider said Mr Shapps liked Mr Clarke so much that he arranged for him to have a desk in Conservative HQ.

But Lord Feldman was in charge of signing off funds for the Road Trip buses and signs. The insider said the two did not get on. When Mr Shapps was moved out of his role at the election, Lord Feldman tore off the sign above his office door.

Last night a Conservative spokesman said: ‘Grant Shapps was completely unaware of any un-investigated written complaints about Mark Clarke while he was chairman. Any such complaints would always be formally investigated – there would have been no logical reason not to.’ The following day a friend of mine received an anonymous call from a man who quoted part of my letter to her, so it had clearly gone straight back to Clarke or one of his henchman. Then he warned: “If you don’t shut her up, we will.”

Paul Abbott, a former aide to Mr Shapps when he was chairman, said he complained last year about Mr Clarke’s rude overbearing manner. He added: ‘For the last seven months, I have been leading efforts to have him thrown out of the party. I have been repeatedly threatened as a result.’ Mr Abbott, the head of the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward, added: ‘This year I made several formal complaints along with Elliott Johnson and other young people who Clarke tried to blackmail. He is appalling and I wish I had never met him.’

A whistle-blower has volunteered that sent a 2,000-word email spelling out the allegations of sex, drugs and the blackmailing of MPs to Lord Feldman on Monday and also passed it on to the Prime Minister’s office. But she said last night: ‘The following day a friend of mine received an anonymous call from a man who quoted part of my letter to her, so it had clearly gone straight back to Clarke or one of his henchman. Then he warned: “If you don’t shut her up, we will.” It was a direct threat aimed at silencing me for speaking out. ‘Sadly, this is typical of the way Clarke and his clique operated. They attempted to destroy anyone who challenged them.’

British Transport police officers have told the young woman who complained of being sexually harassed by Mr Clarke that they will deal with her allegations after completing their inquiries into the death of Mr Johnson.  Mr Johnson, who had made a formal complaint of bullying about Mr Clarke to Lord Feldman, died in front of a train in September.

Mr Clarke was nicknamed the ‘Tatler Tory’ after being tipped by the society magazine as a future minister. Last night a party spokesman said the senior management team had signed off the money for the Road Trips. She denied that Lord Feldman had torn off Mr Shapps’s sign, saying it was simply removed because someone else was taking over the office.  (The Daily Mail)






Sex, suicide and chilling threats… the scandal engulfing the PM’s chum.

Tory Party Chairman Lord Feldman



Mark Clarke mottoIsolate, Inebriate, Penetrate”. Bedded Tories Young and Old



Tatler” Tory Mark Clarke jets off to Barbados





 Mark Clarke’s friends and one of them is a dame






Sordid Allegations – Drug Taking – Suicide – Blackmail Sex Orgies -The Tory party in 2015

The Tory Party has descended into a morass of scandal and sordid allegation sparked by the behaviour of one of David Cameron’s key election aides. So-called ‘Tatler Tory’ Mark Clarke stands accused of bullying colleagues – one to the point of suicide – and even of compiling blackmail dossiers on MPs. Now, the row over how much party bosses knew has become deadly serious after police launched a sexual harassment inquiry.

A young party activist whistle-blower reported Mr Clarke to the police for alleged sexual harassment during drunken general election campaign tours. Chillingly, if true, she said Mr Clarke used the motto ‘Isolate, Inebriate, Penetrate’. She also claimed that the married father-of-two slept with at least six party activists while running the Prime Minister’s Road Trip election drive for young Tories.

In addition, it is claimed that at least 20 women made complaints about him to Conservative Central Office – all of whom allege their names were passed back to Mr Clarke. He denies all the allegations laid against him. In a separate development, another whistle-blower received a terrifying threat just hours after making similar allegations about sex, drug-taking and the blackmail of MPs to Downing Street.

A friend of the party activist took a sinister call saying: ‘If you don’t shut her up, we will.’ The stark warning came less than 24 hours after she had written a detailed letter to party chairman Lord Feldman and No 10, accusing Mr Clarke of compiling dossiers on four Tory MPs after ‘pimping out’ young activists to sleep with them.

The whistle-blower said she sent a 2,000-word email spelling out the allegations about Mr Clarke – which included snorting cocaine – to Lord Feldman on Monday afternoon, and also passed it on to the Prime Minister’s office. She said: ‘The following day, a friend of mine received an anonymous call from a man who quoted part of my letter to her, so it had clearly gone straight back to Clarke or to one of his henchman. Then he warned: “If you don’t shut her up, we will.”

‘It was a direct threat aimed at silencing me for speaking out. Sadly, this is typical of the way that Clarke and his clique operated. They attempted to destroy anyone who challenged them.’ She said it was at least the second time that a complaint she had made against Mr Clarke to central office had apparently been leaked straight back to him. The first incident came after she wrote in mid-August to complain that Mr Clarke had sexually assaulted her at a Road Trip event. She said: ‘The day after the complaint was submitted, I met Clarke by chance at a party event. ‘He took me aside and threatened to destroy me if I pursued it. He warned me he would reveal details of me and my then-partner’s sex life.’

The second Tory activist, who has reported claims of sexual harassment by Mr Clarke to the police, said: ‘He would corner you… that was his thing. He would get girls drunk, choose a girl, then corner them. I know Mark would sexually harass women because I know he harassed me. He was sleeping with a number of the Young Conservatives, at least six, and tried it on with others.’ But she said when she and many others complained, they suffered the same fate as the first whistle-blower.  ‘We know 20 people had been into central office, and all our names were passed on to Mark it seems. ‘It turns out they didn’t record my complaint, because I went in and talked to a guy and later it turned out they had no record of it. ‘I’m dealing with the police now, which is better.’

One party activist added that Mr Clarke started behaving like the ruthless, power-hungry protagonist in the TV political thriller House Of Cards. She said: ‘He wanted to be an MP. He was absolutely desperate and would literally do anything. It seemed like he was almost losing it towards the end, it’s not the kind of behaviour of any sane person.’

Given such damning allegations, serious questions are now being asked about the role of the Tory chairman Lord Feldman, after what appears to be a cover-up of the unfolding scandal. Lord Feldman claims he did not know about a string of complaints which were made over a number of years about Mr Clarke, 37. Yet the picture that has emerged this week is of a Tory Party which for years failed to root out a very bad apple.

It has now emerged that the first complaint against Mr Clarke was lodged as far back as 2007 when Caroline Spelman was Tory chairman. A woman activist, protested that Mr Clarke, who was then chairman of the youth wing of the Tory Party, had sexually harassed and bullied her.  Not only was no action taken at the time, but Mr Clarke went on to became the parliamentary candidate in Tooting, South London, in 2008 and was tipped by society magazine Tatler as a future minister, hence his moniker as the ‘Tatler Tory’.

Over the following five years, six more complaints about Mr Clarke’s conduct – related both to bullying and sexual harassment – were apparently lodged by whistle-blowers. During that time, Lord Feldman was joint chairman of the party. Could he really not have known about them?

Despite the cloud hanging over Mr Clarke, he was made director of Road Trip 2015.  After the Tories were elected, a grateful Lord Feldman arranged for Mr Clarke to be feted by the Prime Minister on stage at a gathering of party volunteers in July. In the same month, Lord Feldman agreed to Mr Clarke becoming director of Road Trip 2020, thus making him a key figure in the Tory establishment right through to the next election.

Only four weeks later, in August, Elliott Johnson, 21, who was part of the Road Trip team, lodged a written complaint about Mr Clarke bullying him. But in a shocking indictment of procedures at Tory HQ – which reflects what other whistle-blowers have alleged about their treatment – Mr Clarke was tipped off about the complaint. The result was explosive. He confronted Mr Johnson in a pub in South London and, allegedly with threats of violence, convinced him to withdraw the complaint.

In that in the same month a woman graduate had also lodged a complaint about Mr Clarke, alleging that he had sexually assaulted her. Once again, Mr Clarke was alerted – and, it is claimed, threatened her. Tory HQ has been told that Mr Clarke also regularly shared a room with his mistress, India Brummitt, 23, on Road Trip overnight stays.

Miss Brummitt is a Commons aide to Tory MP Claire Perry, who advises the Prime Minister on curbing the ‘sexualization of children’

Under pressure to act after this avalanche of complaints, Lord Feldman eventually set up an internal inquiry headed by an obscure official. But a month later, in mid-September, the situation escalated dramatically when Mr Johnson’s body was discovered on a railway line in Bedfordshire. He had committed suicide. In the notes he left behind he blamed Mr Clarke for bullying him.

Astonishingly, even then Lord Feldman refused to set up an inquiry that would be seen to be entirely independent, even though a bright young Tory Party volunteer, with no history of mental illness, had taken his own life. Instead, he sent for High Court judge Edward Legard, an Old Etonian contemporary of Mr Cameron.

With Tory MPs expressing increasing unease about the damage caused to the party by Mr Clarke’s conduct, Lord Feldman’s office instructed Mr Legard to look into the multiple complaints.

But since Mr Legard is a failed parliamentary candidate with ambitions to become a Tory MP, how critical is he willing to be of the party and its chairman? Even more worryingly, the Legard inquiry became a total sham.

Clarke made clear to Lord Feldman’s office that he would have nothing to do with it. A senior Tory source said: ‘Clarke was contemptuous, and told us he would not speak to Legard. ‘He would co-operate only with the official inquest into Elliott Johnson’s death which is not due until March. ‘But still we carried on with the charade of the inquiry. It was a device to buy time. It was a classic Feldman bury-your-head-in-the-sand technique.’ It was not until a few hours before a damaging BBC News-night report on Clarke – that Lord Feldman bowed to the inevitable and expelled him from the party for life.  At that point, a Tory source revealed ,that, the chairman’s office was in ‘meltdown’. Questions were being asked in the party about why it took Lord Feldman so long to tackle the issue head-on.

Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group, the oldest Conservative Party think-tank, told me: ‘I was complaining to central office for months about Clarke. Young activists were being driven across the country delivering leaflets and knocking on doors. But they were also being used as sexual outlets for Clarke and his cronies. These young Tories were told by Clarke it would be good for their career prospects. Some of them were barely 20 years old. Clarke always knew who went off with whom. He logged it all. It was attempted blackmail on a large scale.’

When Clarke was finally expelled,  Lord Feldman insisted he had known only recently about his scandalous behaviour. But Mr Harris-Quinney says: ‘Not so. Unless he’s stupid, Feldman must have known for years. Clarke was indulged because the Road Trip initiative was successful in the marginal constituencies.’

Ben Howlett, the Tory MP for Bath, also contradicted Lord Feldman. ‘We have complained about him [Clarke] for a long time. I complained directly to Sayeeda Warsi when she was party chairman [in 2011]. I complained directly to the chairman’s office when Grant Shapps took over [in 2012]. ‘I have to say that Lord Feldman has been well aware of all this for a very long time.’

Clarke, whose wife is a high-flying NHS manager, may finally have gone, but now attention will now turn to the role of Lord Feldman, who owes his exalted position at the top of the Tory Party to his friendship with the Prime Minister. In his first detailed public statement about the Clarke affair yesterday, the party chairman was not even willing to say whether the results of the farcical Legard inquiry he set up will be made public.

He said: ‘I was wholly unaware of allegations of bullying and inappropriate sexual conduct by Mr Clarke prior to August 2015.  Such behaviour is abhorrent to me, and had this been brought to my attention I would have taken immediate action to investigate, as I have done since I received the complaint in August 2015.’ But his critics believe that if he had acted more decisively when the 20 or so complaints were made against Clarke in August, young activist Johnson may still be alive today.

Paul Goodman, editor of Conservativehome, the influential website for Tory activists, said: ‘Whoever championed Clarke’s cause at Conservative headquarters, whatever Clarke may have done and however HQ responded, the buck stops now with Feldman.  He is the sole chairman of the party. He was the real chairman before last May. Responsibility for the party’s response to the claims thus lies at his door.’

Yesterday, a Conservative spokesperson said: ‘We have been unable to find any written complaints of bullying, harassment or any other inappropriate behaviour during this period that were not dealt with. The party is continuing with its internal inquiry which began in August 2015 in response to a formal complaint, received by Lord Feldman, about the behaviour of Mark Clarke. ‘The party’s legal advisers are interviewing and taking statements witnesses willing to come forward, and are considering all the available evidence. ‘Once this process is completed, Lord Feldman has asked Simon Davis, a senior partner at [law firm] Clifford Chance LLP, to ensure that the investigation has been thorough and complete. The party board will then consider the evidence, and decide on the appropriate course of action.’ All very well, but doesn’t it all sound like too little, too late? (The Daily Mail)






Lothario Mark Clarke, (at the centre of  a major scandal) is a former lover of Cabinet minister Justine Greening.  Greening was the MP for Putney

during 2010 while Clarke was the Tory A-list candidate in the neighbouring Tooting constituency. The now International Development Secretary

is just one of a number of top Tory women who had a sexual relationship with Clarke.







22 Nov 2015: A scandal surrounding a Conservative aide expelled from the party deepened last night with claims he blackmailed a colleague over a sex tape.

Robert Halfron (deputy chairman) admitted to an affair with Conservative Future chair Alexandra Paterson and said another activist tried to blackmail him.

Mark Clarke was ejected from the party earlier this week amid accusations of bullying and blackmail. The bullying allegations against him emerged following the suicide of 21-year-old Tory activist Elliott Johnson. Mr Clarke made a copy of a sex film one of his Tory rivals was tricked into performing on the internet. The video was then posted to Facebook, which the rival claims was done by Mr Clarke after demanding – but being refused – a blackmail sum of £2,500.

Mr Clarke denies the allegation, along with all previous allegations, although he has previously admitted he tried to expose the film in the media to prevent such scams happening in future. Meanwhile,  it is claimed two other young Tory activists have attempted suicide since the death of Mr Johnson as a result of bullying in the party.

It is also reported that party vice-chairman Robert Halfon claimed more than £30,000 in expenses for stays at the prestigious East India Club, where it has emerged he was conducting an affair.

Halfon confessed to the affair with Alexandra Paterson, a member of his staff after also accusing Clarke of blackmail. It was claimed that Clarke had planned to photograph Halfon and his lover leaving the East India Club, where they met.

Paul Abbott, former chief of staff to Grant Shapps, has suggested that complaints were made in 2014 about Mr Clarke, But the party had said it was only made aware of the situation in August this year. (Mail on Sunday)






Robert Halfon (Deputy Chairman) claimed more than £30,000

in expenses for stays at the prestigious East India Club, where

it emerged he was conducting his affair with Alexandra Paterson.






26 Nov 2015: Scandal rocks the Tories – Reports of lurid behaviour in the Conservatives’ youth wing snowball

Allegations of bullying, blackmail and sexual harassment — and the apparent suicide of a young activist — have embroiled the party in a “perfect storm of alleged sleaze” in recent weeks. Reports of lurid behaviour in the Tories’ youth wing, building steadily in the press over the last couple months, have now snowballed, resulting in an expulsion from the party membership, police and internal investigations, and uncomfortable questions about whether senior party officials were involved in a cover-up.  The growing media storm has rekindled memories of the late 1980s and 1990s, when the Conservatives were known as the party of “sleaze” after a succession of prominent scandals.(






The 3 amigo’s in charge of the young Tories – (Podium) Grant Shapps,

(front) Baroness Emma Pidding, (Front) Mark Clarke


28 Nov 2015: Top Tory minister Grant Shapps resigns after party disgraced by bullying allegations

Shapps said he had come to the conclusion that the “buck should stop with me” amid a slew of claims about bullying behaviour by Mark Clarke, who denies any wrongdoing. The move came after the father of Tory activist Elliott Johnson, who killed himself, ordered for Mr Shapps and the current party chairman Lord Feldman to resign, insisting his son Elliott Johnson would still be alive if they had acted properly. In a letter to David Cameron.

Mr Shapps wrote: “Although neither the party nor I can find any record of written allegations of bullying, sexual abuse or blackmail made to the chairman’s office prior to the election, I cannot help but feel that the steady stream of those who raised smaller, more nuanced, objections should have perhaps set alarm bells ringing sooner.  “In the end, I signed that letter appointing Mark Clarke ‘director of Road Trip’ and I firmly believe that whatever the rights and wrongs of a serious case like this, responsibility should rest somewhere. “Over the past few weeks – as individual allegations have come to light – I have come to the conclusion that the buck should stop with me.”

The party has said it was not aware of any complaints against Mark Clarke, who ran the party’s “Road Trip” operation during the general election campaign, until August. But former Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi said she sent Mr Shapps a letter, dated 20 January 2015 accusing Mr Clarke of publicly abusing her on Twitter.

It said: “I look forward to hearing from you as to what action you intend to take against Mr Clarke.” The peer said she never received a “satisfactory response” to her complaint, even though it was “common knowledge” that Mr Clarke was “a disaster waiting to happen”. She said: “During my time as chairman, Mark Clarke was never involved in any initiative that I was involved in or in any campaigning. He was effectively persona non grata, as far as I was concerned.”

Clarke has since been expelled over bullying and blackmail allegations, but denies any wrongdoing. A Tory spokesman said: “An investigation is currently under way and it is not appropriate to comment until we can establish the facts.

Oh Well! That’s it then,one young man kills himself. Numerous young females are either date raped or filmed snorting coke. Threats of blackmail . Top level ministers ignore various complaints and warnings. The odious Shapps closes it all down saying “I suppose the buck stops somewhere.”  This was no doubt foisted by Feldman and Cameron’s cohorts at Tory party head office in order to kill the story, well it hasn’t, not by a long way. Get this snivelling little sh*t back from his hiding hole in Barbados and let him face the consequences.





Now this is another “pimpernal like”  story







1 Dec 2015: Tory bullying scandal: Examining whether the Conservatives’ youth wing has a future after the debacle

This should be a happy time of year for the Tory youth wing. Still triumphant after victory in May, members have watched a rabbit emerge from George Osborne’s hat and an opposition party saw itself in half. But  Conservative Future has little appetite for fun – or any sense of a future at all. “In a year in which we should be celebrating and looking forward we’re being dragged down by scandal and sleaze and we’re all being tarnished,” says Liam Walker, the chair of the branch of Conservative Future in Witney, David Cameron’s constituency. “It’s been utterly horrible to watch and morale among members is just terrible.” Even by the standards of a youth wing with a historic reputation for fierce factionalism, the past few weeks have been shocking.

The resignation of former party chairman Grant Shapps on 28 November followed mounting allegations of bullying, blackmail, and sexual assault against one of his chief activists, Mark Clarke, who denies any wrongdoing, and the death of Elliot Johnson, a young campaigner and journalist.

Clarke, whose “Road-trip” election campaign relied heavily on young party members, is himself a former chair of the youth wing and has controversial links to its current leadership. Except that Conservative Future has no leadership. Its national executive has been suspended after it emerged, among other things, that its chair Alexandra Paterson had had an affair with Robert Halfon, the MP and party deputy chairman.

Moreover this week the Conservative Future website disappeared, and now directs visitors to the man party site. Its Twitter and Facebook accounts have been disabled. The group’s 15,000 members are in a confused state of despair. “It was nice of them to tell us,” Walker says of the digital disappearing act. “Through all of this we’ve had only one email from Feldman outlining the procedure of the investigation but that’s it…The website going and the National Executive being suspended, it’s like they are saying, ‘there’s nothing to see here’ but there is, and thousands of us are left in limbo only to read about things in the press.”

Tory HQ is focussed on damage limitation in its grown-up ranks but it abandons young members at its peril. Shapps was only willing to take a chance on Clarke, despite his already bad reputation, because he realised how much the party needed energetic activists to plug holes in its ageing, shrinking activist core. Clarke promised a short-term fix, at a cost that has since become painfully clear. Some in and out of Conservative Future are calling on the party to scrap it entirely, as it did in 1986 to silence its notorious forerunner, the Federation of Conservative Students.

A zealous desire for ideological purity, the influence of TV shows like House of Cards and a gossip mill ever-hungry for content means that the youth wings of political parties can be extremely toxic places. If you wander around Westminster these days, it feels like you’re stepping into a particularly well-informed crèche. Everyone looks about 13; no one has ever had a job outside the party they are working for.

Most of them are working for an absolute pittance, affordable only because Mummy and Daddy are happy to indulge junior’s political ambitions. It’s this weird world of parliament being dominated by under 25s that means the Tory youth wing bullying scandal is more than just a tragic tale. If you haven’t followed it, it’s one of the most depressing stories I’ve ever read; a tale of thirty-something, emotionally-stunted nonentities throwing their weight around at kids – and a promising, bright young man has died as a result of it.

One of the most depressing things was that the stakes were so incredibly low. People inside Road-trip 2015 (the campaigning organisation at the centre of the scandal) cultivated the idea that they were power brokers, that jumping on a Road-trip bus was a vital precondition to getting a job at central office and eventually a safe seat, yet the truth was nothing of the sort. If you spend much time around these young politicians, you’ll often hear truly outrageous views, expressed with all the absolute certainty of someone who knows nothing and wants to show off how ideologically pure they are.

This vein of idiocy is exactly where nightmarish incidents like the notorious “Hang Mandela” T-shirts of the 1980s come from. When these views have the backing of an official party organisation, it becomes easy for them to become an embarrassment. Even though the shameful Mandela episode was 30 years ago and perpetrated by a tiny splinter group, it’s still waved as a bloody shirt at Tory candidates even now. There’s also a level of weirdness and unreality around people who get obsessed with politics at about 16, where they start to view everything through an ideological lens.

I remember going to a young LGBT Republican film screening of Billy Elliot, which began with an introduction about how the film was a tribute to Reagan and Thatcher’s economics, because without the mines closing, young gay men would never found themselves through dance. Well, I suppose it’s one interpretation, but it’s not what I took away from the film. The inexperience of youth also leads to people in politics making decisions based on things they’ve watched on TV, rather than any life experience. Ask any young politician their favourite TV show, and I guarantee they’ll come back with House of Cards or The Thick of It.

Like young traders who are obsessed with Wolf of Wall Street, they don’t see that all the characters in these shows are horrific grotesques, and the tactics of these shows get deployed in real life – especially when you stir in a healthy dose of immature high school social climbing. In this democratised world of everyone having the ear of the political gossip sites that can make or break reputations, some get their taste for mudslinging early.

I was shocked when a young Tory staffer told me “it’s always so upsetting when you find out it’s one of your friends who has briefed against you”. Anecdotes aside, the fact that the youth wings of our political parties are overrun with oddballs genuinely worries me. The Road-trip scandal shows us where this brutal, bitchy cannibalistic atmosphere ends up. (the new Statesman)






1 Dec 2015: scandal, we must ask: what is the point of party youth wings?

Not Daytrippers: The Tory Party Illegal Road Trip Campaign

Tory Party Co-Chairman Feldman & Shapps






30 Dec 2015: Cameron under pressure to set up an independent inquiry

Paul Goodman, who edits the Conservativehome website, said that the scandal showed the party had no effective mechanism to deal with complaints and that the buck should not stop with Mr Shapps, given that Lord Feldman was senior to him.

Goodman explains how Clarke – who denies all claims of wrongdoing – was appointed to head the roadshow, despite having been dogged by complaints of bad publicity and rudeness. “The party didn’t have enough members… in the marginal seats that were necessary to win,” he writes. “When Mr Clarke turned up… claiming that he could deliver a mass of young activists to help canvass these seats, he was greeted like the prodigal son.”

Tory insiders said the youth wing that Mr Clarke used to chair, “Conservative Future”, had been a “bold attempt to remake the Conservative Party’s image” but had suffered from a lack of oversight of its “exuberant young members. What looked like a disciplined youth movement – credited for its role in the election victory in the spring of 2015 as part of the party’s ‘ground troops’ strategy – had disintegrated into a public liability.”

Mr Cameron announced an internal review, but Mr Johnson’s father, in a letter to the Tory Party leader demanded an unambiguously independent inquiry, led by someone with no connection to the party. The press agreed, saying: “The truth of this nasty affair must be made public. If politicians want us to trust that they will do the right thing, rather than protect themselves and their secrets, they must prove it. (BBC news the papers)












11 Jan 2016: Tatler Tory Scandal Poisons Top Tory Polling Figures

Rob Halfon the Deputy Chairman was the target of a supposed blackmail sex row involving National CF chairman Alexandra Patterson. Halfon claims that he and then lover Patterson were allegedly blackmailed by former CCHQ director Mark Clarke. Halfon said that he was “ashamed” of the affair. Despite appearing at the launch of Road-trip 2020 in July, Halfon called off the affair earlier in May, when presented with the horrifying news that Clarke had allegedly planned to film the couple leaving the East India club. Shortly after the story broke, the Conservative Future National Executive (CF) were dismissed by Tory HQ.

The news comes as law firm Clifford Chance investigate alleged bullying within the Conservative Party from which Clarke was expelled two months ago, for life.It is alleged that he had bullied numerous activists within the Tory party youth group, Conservative Future, including Elliot Johnson. Johnson, 21, committed suicide in September 2015 having left notes about bullying.Mark Clarke denies all allegations. However, the investigation and its legitimacy has been called into question and brandished “white wash” by some.

Overseeing the inquiry, at the top of the party’s board, was Rob Semple who had been appointed to investigate the reports of bullying etc lodged against Clarke. But was forced to stand down when it became known he was a friend of Clarke’s. It was revealed that he had relied on Clarke (favourite of then chairman Baroness Emma Pidding) and his mates to ensure the CF block voted for him.

One CF insider said  “The idea of Semple presiding over the outcome of an investigation overlooking the alleged dodgy behaviour of Clarke who supposedly helped put him in his position is a monumental cock up.” (The blue guerilla)






      Bob Semple, Mark Clarke and (former Party chair) Baroness Emma Pidding.







Mark “Tatler Tory” Clarke – It Was Me That Won It For Dave- and his 2015 General Election Winning Strategy
A number of police forces are investigating (at the request of the Electoral Commission) significant undeclared costs of deploying up to four “battlebuses” and hundreds of party activists to a number of marginal constituencies in support of candidates.
The subject was raised in the Commons with David Cameron together with the request that he make a statement in the commons about matters arising from the use of large groups of party activists in support of candidates in marginal consistences and the apparent failure to declare the costs arising. David Cameron was adamant the failure was an honest error. But in any event the project had been put in place in support of the “National Party” effort and costs could not be apportioned to the direct any constituency.
Investigations must be complete within a year and a day of the 2015 election otherwise the matter will be abandoned. Applications have been made to the Electoral Commission seeking an extension, of the time limitation but an decision is outstanding and the Tory party might yet “get off the hook.”
The “battlebus web of deceit” cast by the Tory Party is yet another example of the excesses of a government that rides roughshod over protocol but in the event the police forces identify and report wrongdoing  to the Electoral Commission a significant number of by-elections could be ordered which might just bring down this corrupt government.
Young Tory activist, (the brains behind the strategy) Mark Clarke is revealed as an unsavoury character who, together with others organised alcohol driven parties and sexual excesses, involving many  young and vulnerable female activists who would be away from home living in hotel accommodation. Any reluctance to do the business, on the part of targeted women would be met with threats of blackmail and removal from the Party. (The Mirror)
Comment: Scotland does not escape the grip of a Tory Party beset by sleaze, sexual exploitation and most likely blackmail if needed. I previously exposed details of a number  of recent scandals involving Ruth Davidson and her young Tories. It must be of concern to Scots, (not of Unionist persuasion) that the Tories are recently elevated to the role of formal opposition at Holyrood. But, previous events support to the view that given enough rope they will succeed in committing electoral suicide yet again.

5 May 2016 : Police launch general election fraud probe amid claims the Conservative Party Failed to declare its Battle Bus spending

Gloucestershire Police launched a general election fraud probe today amid continued allegations the Conservative Party did not properly declare election expenses relating to its battle bus tour.

David Cameron’s party has faced a series of claims it should have declared the cost of bussing in activists to campaign for constituency candidates on local election expenses, rather than on its national return. Doing so would in some seats could have meant the party smashed election spending rules.

The new probe comes after the Electoral Commission met with prosecutors to discuss an extension to the one year allowed for launching an investigation of electoral fraud complaints. Gloucestershire Police today refused to name the political party it was investigating.

The Commission believes its ongoing probe into alleged breaches of reporting obligations will take at least another month.  A Gloucestershire Police spokeswoman said: “We have received an allegation of electoral fraud and an investigation has been launched. We are considering an application for extension on time to investigate. This is in relation to the 2015 general election.”

Earlier today ministers were urged to address the allegations relating to the party’s election spending. SNP front-bench spokesman Pete Wishart raised the issue during the business statement in the House of Commons.  He said: “‘We need an urgent statement on what’s going on with the investigation of the Conservative Party for breaking campaign spending rules in last year’s general election.

The claims are absolutely extraordinary and centre around Conservative candidates, 28 Conservative candidates, failing to register the use of a battle bus for local campaigning and something like £38,000 of accommodation for local campaigns.

If anybody’s found guilty of such a charge it could result in one year imprisonment and an unlimited fine. Surely we must now hear what the Government’s view on this is and there must be no whiff or suggestion that this Government cheated its way to power.”  Commons Leader Chris Grayling said ‘it is for proper authorities to address issues whenever they arise’.

The claims relating to Conservative spending covering the general election and three parliamentary by-elections were first raised by the Daily Mirror and Channel 4 News. The party has blamed an ‘administrative error’ for failing to register some accommodation costs. But Mr Cameron has insisted it was right to include such expenditure as part of the national campaign.(The Daily Mail)

Mark Clarke & India Brummitt
2caf112700000578-3817531-image-a-39_1475347502055Mahyar Tousi, member of Conservative Future national executive Mahyar Tousi kicks off the after party with India Brummitt adn Eleanor Vesey-Thompson Mark Clarke - Tatler Tory story ***FACEBOOK IMAGE SUPPLIED VIA SIMON WALTERS*** ***MAIL ON SUNDAY USE ONLY - LEGAL ISSUE - MUST ONLY USE GIRL ON THE RIGHT - DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISSION - NO SYNDICATIONN - DO NOT LIBRARY***



17 Aug 2016: Tory Bullying Scandal Inquiry Finds 13 Alleged Victims of Mark Clarke 

A much delayed report into allegations of bullying within the Conservative party has identified 13 alleged victims of Mark Clarke, the so-called Tatler Tory, over a 20-month period, including six accusations of “sexually inappropriate behaviour”.

Clarke, who was appointed by the party to run its RoadTrip2015 election campaign, came under heavy scrutiny after Elliott Johnson, a young Tory activist, took his own life in September 2015 and named Clarke as his tormentor in a suicide note. Eleven months after Johnson’s death at the age of 21, a summary of the findings of an official inquiry, published on Wednesday, revealed that senior Tories, including David Cameron’s then spin doctor Lynton Crosby and former co-chairman Lord Feldman, had raised concerns about Clarke’s conduct.

However, Clifford Chance, the law firm that conducted the investigation, found that senior figures including Feldman, Crosby and former party co-chairman Grant Shapps were not aware of Clarke’s alleged bullying of youth activists between 1 January 2014 and 14 August 2015. That finding prompted accusations of a “whitewash” by Johnson’s family. Johnson’s father, Ray, who declined to take part in the inquiry owing to concerns over its independence and transparency, said “The summary seems that we will get what we feared – a whitewash. It appears that the Tories can find the £2m for this report, but not the will to stand up and apologise for their mistakes.”

Ray said the current Conservative party chairman, Patrick McLoughlin, had written to the family stating the inquiry had found that the party acted “entirely properly” when dealing with a complaint from Elliott Johnson before he died. McLoughlin’s letter says a new code of conduct will be put in place for volunteer leaders like Clarke. Clarke, who declined to be interviewed as part of the investigation, denied the allegations included in the report. His solicitor told the law firm: “Clarke has cooperated and will continue to cooperate with the police, the coroner and any other statutory body charged with investigating any matters relating to the subject matter of Clifford Chance’s investigation on behalf of the Conservative party board. The police investigation into Elliott Johnson’s death and other enquiries are ongoing, and it is not appropriate to respond to allegations until the end of those processes. However, the allegations made against Mr Clarke in the Clifford Chance report are wholly untrue and unsubstantiated. Many are based on totally fabricated media reports. All these allegations are vehemently denied.”

Shapps appointed Clarke, a failed parliamentary candidate, in June 2014 to run RoadTrip2015 – in which young activists were bussed around the country to rally support in marginal seats – despite reviewing Clarke’s candidate file, which detailed allegations of aggressive and bullying behaviour when he stood in Tooting in 2010, the report said. His appointment did not make him an employee of the party but it did give him a title, which the report says he used to “convey the appearance of authority”.

As further allegations surfaced in the wake of Johnson’s death,Shapps resigned as a minister in November over his appointment of Clarke; he denied wrongdoing but said “responsibility should rest somewhere”. Shapps’s resignation came a day after it was revealed he had received a letter, in January 2015 from Tory peer Sayeeda Warsi complaining about Clarke’s conduct. The party had until that point claimed that it was first made aware of Clarke’s alleged behaviour in August 2015.

Feldman and Crosby, as well as former deputy chairman Lord Stephen Gilbert, were among senior Conservatives who raised concerns about Clarke when it emerged he was falsely using the job title of “director in CCHQ [Conservative Campaign HQ]”, the inquiry found. In one email exchange between Shapps and Crosby, Shapps admitted Clarke was a “difficult individual who delivered” and keeping him as Road-trip director was a “calculated risk to be taken to help build the campaign network up”.

A month before he killed himself, Elliott Johnson complained to CCHQ about an alleged altercation with Clarke in the Marquis of Granby pub in Westminster. The Clifford Chance report reveals that upon receiving the complaint, Feldman said he had “always had the gravest possible reservations” about Clarke – but in relation to his “competence as a campaign organiser”.

Clifford Chance reviewed 60,000 documents and interviewed 62 individuals over seven months for the inquiry. It received written evidence from a further four individuals. The law firm said there were at least 12 individuals with whom it particularly wished to speak but who did not provide evidence, including alleged victims of bullying and alleged perpetrators.

Thirteen individuals were identified who were alleged to be victims of bullying, harassment and inappropriate conduct by Clarke between January 2014 and August 2015. Three of the alleged victims were older party members. Six allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour relating to Clarke were identified, the report says. “These included allegations that Mr Clarke propositioned activists or tried to kiss them,” it adds. It has also emerged that Clarke was accused of uploading a list of ineligible voters to the party’s voter database ahead of the 2014 election held by the official youth wing, Conservative Future. Clarke denied the allegation, which was also brought to the attention of Feldman. The report concludes that there was no written, published procedure or common practice for party members to raise a complaint with CCHQ. “This places staff in the position of having to exercise discretion in how to deal with complaints that [are] received,” it says.

Ben Harris-Quinney, chair of right-wing think-tank the Bow Group, who gave evidence to the inquiry, said: “It would appear from the report that CCHQ officials were happy to overlook Mark Clarke’s track record and behaviour because he was able to deliver positive campaigning results using nefarious tactics.” In response to the report, the Conservative party said it would set up a hotline for complaints made by volunteers and overhaul its system for reporting complaints.

McLoughlin, who was appointed chair of the party by prime minister Theresa May last month, said: “The death of Elliott Johnson was a tragedy and our thoughts remain with his family and friends. As we address the findings of this report, I want to make clear that there can be no place for bullying behaviour in our party and we all have a responsibility to act when it occurs. The actions we are taking today will continue to ensure that volunteers, who are so vital to our party, can flourish.”

Johnson, 21, was found dead on the railway tracks at Sandy station in Bedfordshire on 15 September. He left three letters, one of which said Clarke had bullied him and that a political journalist, Andre Walker, had betrayed him. His death triggered an explosive chain of events in which whistle-blowers came forward and revealed a number of political figures – some young, some senior – to be tangled up in sleaze and scandal. The Tory party commissioned Clifford Chance to run an inquiry into the allegations in December last year. (The Guardian)





                   Tory “Battlebus” sex parties   India Brummitt on the right





22 Feb 2017: Row at George Osborne’s Party – Disgraced Battle Bus Activists Create a Scene

The mistress of Tatler Tory Mark Clarke was at the centre of an extraordinary row after a Commons party hosted by George Osborne. India Brummitt, 26, sparked outrage by turning up as a guest at a cocktail bash in the former Chancellor’s palatial Westminster study. She was accused last year by friends of Elliott Johnson – who killed himself after alleged bullying by Clarke – of making threats to try to stop people blaming her married lover.

Tempers flared when guests from Osborne’s party moved on to Westminster’s Red Lion pub, where Brummitt was joined by Clarke henchman Sam Armstrong. One guest who had also been at the Osborne party shouted at Brummitt: ‘You have no right to be here when you are still s******* the disgusting Mark Clarke!’  Conservative councillor Tom Hunt, 27, who was a close friend of Elliott, 21, told Brummitt and Armstrong: ‘You should be ashamed of yourselves after what Clarke did before Elliott died.’ Brummitt reportedly protested: ‘Are you saying I have no right to be here?’ Hunt replied: ‘Yes. Elliott was a dear friend of mine. You and your type are a menace to our party.’

Brummitt – Clarke’s lover before and after he married his wife Sarah, an NHS manager – quit as an aide to David Cameron’s ‘anti-porn’ adviser Claire Perry three months after Elliott’s death in September 2015. Her resignation followed revelations about the conduct of her and Clarke, dubbed the Tatler Tory after he was tipped for success by the magazine.

Clarke, 39, allegedly had sex with Brummitt on a pub pool table in Tooting, South London, where he was a parliamentary candidate, and flaunted her as his mistress while sexually harassing young Tory women on campaign trips in last year’s General Election.

Later, Brummitt enraged the parents of Elliott Johnson by turning up at the Bedfordshire inquest into his death. Clarke allegedly involved Armstrong in a ‘blackmail plot’ against Cabinet Minister Robert Halfon, who was having a relationship with a Tory campaigner despite having a long-term partner. Halfon confessed to the affair after informing No 10 that he had been told Armstrong – acting on Clarke’s behalf – intended to film him and a female lover leaving the East India Club in London.

Halfon remains outraged that Armstrong continues to work as an aide to Thanet South Tory MP Craig Mackinlay, giving him free access to Parliament. Clarke, Armstrong and ex-Tory aide Andre Walker were banned from the 2015 Tory conference after Elliott’s death. They deny any wrongdoing.

Elliott’s father Ray said last night: ‘I salute Tom Hunt for having the courage to stand up for Elliott. Some of Clarke’s gang think that because a year has passed since my son died, all will be forgiven. Their insidious influence must be kept out of the party.’ Armstrong said: ‘No one was shouting at me – they were more concerned with India.’ Ms Brummitt did not respond to a request to comment. (The Daily Mail)

Sam Armstrong and David Cameron


Afternote: 18 October 2016: Westminster Rocked  after Sam Armstrong, chief of staff to South Thanet Tory MP, Craig Mackinlay,is Held Over “Rape” in MP’s Parliament Office in After Hours Booze Up

Armstrong who declined to comment was bailed until January 2017, while investigations continue. The alleged rape came after Tory aides and female guests were seen drinking heavily on the House of Lords’ terrace until late on Thursday night. The luxury Thames-side bar is heavily subsidised by the taxpayer and is a popular watering hole for MPs, staff and guests. A witness said: “There were a group of Tory advisers and female guests drinking there all night. Some were very drunk indeed.”

Police yesterday confirmed a 23-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of rape. The The South Thanet MP’s office in the Norman Shaw North complex yards from the Commons was raided by six uniformed officers on Friday and sealed as a potential crime scene. It is believed to be the first time a woman has reported rape within the Houses of Parliament. Police were called to the Palace of Westminster at around 1am on Friday after the alleged victim raised the alarm.

Armstrong hit the headlines last year after being named among a group of young Conservatives in the “Tatler Tory” bullying scandal. He was barred from last year’s Conservative Party Conference while party bosses investigated claims that Tory MP Rob Halfon had been filmed leaving the swanky East India Club with his mistress as part of a failed blackmail plot.(The Sun)






Mark ‘Isolate, Inebriate, Penetrate’ Clarke

























Scots Need To Exercise Caution – Ultra Right Wing – Scottish Tory Party Youth Take Leading Role Under Davidson



Professor Adam Tomkins (new boy on the block)




The demise of the Tory Party

The David Cameron Tory government is fast unravelling as the sleazy conduct of its volunteers, officers, members and government is exposed, mirroring the 1997 downfall of the John Major government.

This article provides (for comparative purposes) briefing, outlining a number of the sleazy incidents that gripped and destroyed the John Major government. Similar behaviour is compromising the government of David Cameron.

Particular attention is given to the behaviour of members of, “The Conservative Future”. The Tory Party youth wing. Members are both professionals and students alike and participate in the life of the Party in many ways.

Many play a direct and active role in the campaigns of their local MSPs, MP or Councillors and others stand for election with many currently representing their local area as Councillors.

Members socialise and debate together and are active at all levels of Party structure. Others are office holders at Constituency level and some are elected members of Local Councils.

In Scotland the Tory Party membership (many aged between 50-80) at 2011 numbered around 8000. This brought problems since it was not possible to conduct any meaningful electorate canvassing without troops on the ground.

Ruth Davidson’s strategy resolved the problem raising the profile of her “shock Conservative Future troops” so that they established and implemented her doctrine in all areas of the Party.

But there was a price to pay for creating a two tier Party and the behaviour of a number of young Tory thugs associated with an increasing number of unsavoury incidents provides warning to the electorate not to provide support to a Party closely modelled on the ideals of a National Socialist Party.

It is possible that the 2020 General Election will provide opportunity for the return of a Labour government, (perhaps in coalition with the SNP).

Another, more likely scenario might see Scotland voting to leave the UK in a referendum in which case events in England & Wales post election would no longer concern Scots.





8 February 2008: Fury Over Young Tory Slave & Master Pictures

One of Scotland’s top young Tories poses as a slave master at a fancy dress party, pulling a colleague behind him in handcuffs. And with a camera on him, David Harris dishes out a sick mock beating to his “slave”.

Harris, 21, is the Scottish secretary of the Tory party’s youth organisation, Conservative Future. Until yesterday, his “slave”, Jamie Johnston, 20, was secretary of Glasgow University Conservatives.

But he promised to quit his post after learning that the press was about to expose the revolting stunt. Harris tried to blame his pal for their shocking choice of costumes, saying: “It was actually one of Mr Johnston’s ideas.” And, incredibly, a spokesman for the Tory party in Scotland played down the incident, saying: “Students dress up for a fancy dress party – it’s hardly the shock of the century.”

Tory leader David Cameron and Scots party chief Annabel Goldie, who have both been photographed with Harris and Johnston, are very unlikely to agree with that assessment.

Johnston posted the photos from the party on his home page on friendship website Facebook. They show Harris dressed in a pith helmet, khaki shirt and shorts and clutching a swagger stick. Johnston trails behind him dressed as a field slave. His wrists are shackled and his shirt stained with fake blood. Harris smirks and hams it up for the camera as he pretends to punish his “slave”. Johnston cowers and puts his hands in front of his face.

The Tories have bragged repeatedly about the revival of their youth wing’s fortunes since the Young Conservatives were rebranded as Conservative Future.

The antics of Harris and Johnston will be desperately embarrassing for party bosses. But Harris was hardly apologetic when the Record confronted him. He said: “We never meant any offence and you have to understand it was actually one of Mr Johnston’s ideas. “It was a private party. Can I ask what’s going to happen? “I can’t offer any comment at the moment, I’m afraid.”

Johnston was more forthcoming. He contacted the press after learning that we had the pictures and said: “I’d like to apologise for any offence that will be caused. “The party was of a light-hearted nature and it was not our intention to offend. I do not condone racism and I understand why these pictures could be seen as offensive. “My friends have always held me in the highest regard and race has never been an issue in any of my relationships with them. “These photos were an outside issue. I do understand how it could become a party issue but the point must be raised that we were acting as individuals. We realise in hindsight it was certainly not appropriate.”

Johnston confirmed that he would be resigning as secretary of the university Conservatives. He said: “I trust the group will accept my resignation in the correct manner.”


Where are the women?



20 May 2010: The Tory Party in Scotland failed to improve it’s position in Scotland at the 2010 election, But The Scottish Conservative Future (CFS) is the way forward

Richard Cook Deputy Chairman of the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party said “I believe deeply in our party, its membership and in the need for a centre right party to represent the hundreds of thousands of Scots who believe in the same things we do. Putting it bluntly, our General Election results were not good.

In all but a few seats the people of Scotland turned out to stop the Tories and not to support us despite the worst economic disaster in British peace time history. It is time the Party strengthened the Scottish (CFS) Conservative Future.

Conservative Future Scotland did a fantastic job of mobilising its members to help in constituencies across Scotland at the 2010 General Election. Now we need to do everything we can to support and grow this organisation.

They move faster, get through more and have a different view on life than our more mature members, and while they bring with them certain challenges they are an essential part of a vibrant political party.
In East Renfrewshire I was blessed to have the support of a large and very dedicated bunch of young people, largely students, who dedicated Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings – right through the bitter cold of last winter – to the canvass activity that helped grow our vote.

Richard Anderson, Ross McFarlane and Colin Taylor, to name just three, did everything they could to coordinate a group of 20+ young activists from Conservative Future branches at Glasgow University, Strathclyde University, Caledonian University and beyond – and what a job they did.

Not that their activities were restricted to canvassing. There were the numerous thousands of leaflets they dropped through doors and the myriad of new ideas they brought forward to the benefit of our campaign.




These guys are from a generation of people who are among the first to have grown up with Labour as the political establishment. They look at the state of our economy and blame lack of job opportunities on our opposition, not the Tories.

For them the word “Tory” does not throw up bad memories of Conservative government and in seeking to end perceptions of a toxic brand we should be asking CFS members to be active participants in brand modernisation.

How do we help them? First of all we need to ask them what they need in order to be able to continue to grow and prosper. We are talking about a generation of people who have grown up in an online world and for whom modern campaign techniques are second nature. As a result they have a very different outlook on life and will want to take us in exciting new directions – both in our structure and our campaign activities.

Then we need to help them deliver exciting organisations on the ground. This is particularly the case on University campuses where political celebrity is often used to attract new members. People like Boris Johnson are extremely popular (hence the range of Boris material produced for CF use at Freshers’ Fairs) and with a young and dynamic new Prime Minister we need to use the positive images we have to there best advantage.

So, we need to help CF branches organise good local events, with a good profile of speaker, and to support these events in person, where appropriate.

Finally we must recognise than in return for their support of campaigns in our constituencies we need to support them. I hope to organise a CFS summer get together (come conference) in Glasgow to thank them for their support of my campaign in East Renfrewshire. More importantly, I hope this will show Conservative Future Scotland we value their involvement and want to hear from them what direction they believe our Party should now take.





8 November 2011: Leaked documents reveal Oxford Union Conservative Association (OUCA) “corrupt from top to bottom@

Three terms of debauchery, anti-Semitism and nepotism at Oxford University’s Conservative club have been revealed after disillusioned officers leaked more than 25 documents to The Oxford Student. Most embarrassing for OUCA is video evidence of one member beginning an anti-Semitic chant, which has featured before in the society’s controversial recent history. The video, filmed towards the end of Michaelmas 2010 in Corpus Christi’s JCR, shows a member drunkenly singing: “Dashing through the Reich”, at the camera, before being silenced by another member. The song’s full version includes he words: “Dashing through the Reich / in a black Mercedes Benz / killing lots of kike / ra ta ta ta ta ”.

“This is a widespread issue at the moment,” said a former OUCA President, “Lots of people were singing it that night, and indeed on many other nights, and the general attitude is that that was OK. The thing is, lots of members do find that song (and songs like that one) absolutely despicable, though little is done to stop it. I am very worried with the direction the society is going in at present.”

Leaked photographs depict numerous high-ranking officers of the society rolling around drunk on the floor and falling off sofas. The members were also photographed late that evening posing in British Empire uniforms. In one particularly bizarre scene, a member pours port into another’s mouth through an Imperialist helmet.

Another photo shows two members dressed as Margaret Thatcher and a miner respectively, the latter bearing a placard across his chest, which reads “I LOVE SHAFTING.”


Ruth Davidson  with Ross McFarlane her election agent & GUCA president), the poker faced chap on the right is Stewart Green the GUCA webmaster, and Colin James  Taylor, dark haired chap, blue tie immediately above McFarlane, former GUCA president,  works for the Tory Press and Research Unit at Holyrood.





“The pun was very funny indeed,” one 2nd year observed, “the flippant attitude to the way in which Thatcher subjugated the working class was not.”

At another Port and Policy meeting, in spite of the association’s reputation for extreme views, one member was overheard complaining that OUCA “was not right wing enough”, while another proudly claimed the society was “a better dressed version of the BNP.”

Cooke, who was present at the meeting, said: “I find it offensive against the Conservative party and efforts to broaden the appeal of OUCA. It betrays the reformist mantra of earlier terms.”

In yet another blow to the eighty seven year old political society’s reputation, one former officer condemned OUCA as it exists today as “corrupt from top to bottom.” A series of private emails between senior OUCA officers also condemned members’ conduct at several society meetings as “an utter disgrace.”

As drunken debauchery at Port and Policy becomes increasingly prevalent, volunteering schemes and the creation of a woman’s officer role and a charity partnership have both been scrapped in a move described by one member as “absolutely disgraceful.”

Anonymous sources in the organization, several of them former officers, claimed its bigoted days are far from over with numerous members engaging in the same behaviour which drove them to be disaffiliated from the University in 2009.



The history of OUCA is one of scandal:

In 2000, four members were kicked out of a meeting of Oxford University Student Union for what the student press described as “a deliberate disruption of proceedings, involving Nazi-style salutes, cries of ‘Viva Pinochet’ and alleged drunken behaviour”.

In 2004 OUCA’s ex-treasurer was found guilty of bringing the organisation into disrepute after writing an article claiming that “the problem with India is its culture [which is] stained by two main features which hold the country down continually with little sign of change: democracy and Hinduism”.

In 2007, they were exposed for singing exactly the same Nazi song that they got in trouble for this month. But the rot amongst young Conservatives is broader than just one university.

An effigy of US President Barack Obama was burned by members of the Conservative student association at St Andrews University. As Political Scrapbook uncovered this morning, this isn’t the first time that St Andrews Conservatives have done something like this: The Conservative Association which caused outrage by burning an effigy of Barack Obama previously torched a likeness of Nelson Mandela on numerous occasions and toasted Apartheid at their annual dinners. The group at St Andrews University have been excoriated for the racial insensitivities of the stunt.



And yesterday, the chair of Conservative Future was savaged for mocking the northern diet of “chips and gravy”:

The leader of the Conservative Party’s youth organisation has been called “patronising” and “snobbish” after insulting the diets of northerners, describing the party’s successes in the region as the ”gravy revolution”.

The Tory website London Spin — previously the venue of appalling anti-gypsy racism — claimed that Conservative Future chair Ben Howlett has “committed to having chips and gravy with CF branches in the north”. Not for the first time, it was left to the blog’s readers to point out how out of touch this supposedly amusing campaign ruse is.

So many young Conservatives have said so many terrible things in public that there exists a blog purely to catalogue them. From Tory Boy Tom complaining:

Gypsy’s breed like rats. How can they have human rights when they aren’t human? Soft touch Britain at its worst.

To Stewart Green, the former secretary of Conservative Future Scotland, musing:

As far as I can see, racism is discrimination against a particular race. So you can be racist against Jews, but not against black people…

The cup of young Tories with terrible views is overflowing. What’s really scary, however, is the thought that none of this is new.

It may well be that what has changed isn’t that Conservative Future has got more racist and offensive over the years, but merely that whereas they used to do all of this in private, it now often spills out into public.

And although Cameron has managed to crack down on stories of his Bullingdon days, it will be harder for the leaders of the future to do the same.


Ruth Davidson addresses a packed conference




12 December 2011: The true racist face of the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party

The new leader of Scotland’s Tories, (former Scottish Conservative Future member) Ruth Davidson, faced a tricky first month since taking the reins on 4th November.

During her electoral campaign, she had to sack her parliamentary assistant Ross MacFarlane, after video footage surfaced of him setting fire to a flag of the European Union, whilst dressed in a University of Glasgow gown.

The incident took place after a dinner organised by the Glasgow University Conservative Association (GUCA).

As MacFarlane, accompanied by two others, lit the flag, sectarian abuse could clearly be heard, including the derogatory term “tarrier” and claims that the pope was a paedophile.

Unfortunately for Davidson, this was not the only time her allies have taken part in sectarian behaviour.

MacFarlane and Davidson had both previously spoken out against yobbishness.

As an MSP, Davidson asked the Scottish Government about antisocial behaviour in Strathclyde and signed a motion on “fighting sectarianism and anti-Irish racism”.

As GUCA president, MacFarlane complained about protests outside a Tory event. “We did have a lot of elderly people who attended the event in their late 70s. I mean, one woman was on her own, turned up in a taxi … and she’s having profanities and abuse screamed in her face by these animals.” Howzat for double standards?


Ultra right wing Roger Helmer UKIP MEP & guest of honour with Ross Macfarlane




Also in her first week as national leader of the party, it emerged that Colin Taylor, of the Tory press and research unit, tweeted lyrics from the song “Here Lies a Soldier”, which sings the praises of the Ulster Volunteer Force, an anti-Catholic Northern Irish terrorist group.

In his tweets, under the name @Ulsterexile, Taylor also casually refers to “tims” another offensive name for Catholics.

The account has since disappeared. As embarrassing as such behaviour may have been for Davidson, it was her response to Taylor’s tweets that has earned her the most criticism.

Taylor was allowed to keep his position, his punishment for his behaviour being no more than a “formal warning.”

Labour MSPs have called this “insufficient” and demanded more “disciplinary proceedings.”

Peter Kearney, of the Catholic Media Office, said: “The Catholic Church in Scotland condemns in the strongest possible terms any sectarian behaviour or criminality, from any quarter whatsoever, as having no place in a civilised society.”

The sectarian incidents occurred at a time when the ruling SNP was steering its anti-sectarianism bill, which would see much tougher punishments dealt to those who make sectarian comments at football grounds and, like Mr Taylor, through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Scottish Tory objection to the bill led to the prominent criminal QC Paul McBride quitting the party, just one week before Taylor’s tweets became public knowledge.




And when it’s not sectarianism damaging the Scottish Conservatives’ reputation, it’s been racism, particularly that of Stewart Green, site designer of the current GUCA website and editor of the “Tory Hoose” blog.

Green was one third of the drunken trio involved in the burning of the EU flag and in September it emerged that he had made several racist remarks online, “Why’s it ‘racist to conclude no blacks good enough’? Wasn’t aware black was a race.”

On the same day, he tweeted: “Shock: Oxbridge has only few black students. However, They have zero single armed, black, lesbian mothers. How outrageous.”

He later said: “As far as I can see, racism is discrimination against a particular race. So you can be racist against Jews, but not against black people.” including one tweet which read: “An Asian festival is taking place a few doors up, either that or several cats are being strangled. Can’t quite decide which.”

Other subjects of his racist abuse include Jewish, Pakistani and black students. This collection of sectarian and racist comments from her peers seems to go against what Davidson said to the Glasgow Guardian in November, when she told the paper: “I have said Conservatives never get enough credit for how progressive they can be.”

Those who stand against the Tories in Holyrood, however, argue that the behaviour of Davidson’s colleagues shows her party to be rooted in its old, “Bullingdon Club” ways.

The SNP referred to the exclusive Oxford University club, of which prime minister, and supporter of Davidson during her campaign, David Cameron was a member.





8 March 2014: MP’s aide quits after describing feminists as “whingeing imbeciles who need a good slap around the face”

Conservative Party election agent Stewart Green resigned yesterday after calling female MPs ‘whingeing imbeciles’ and saying feminists ‘need a good slap round the face’. His outbursts on Facebook were described as ‘absolutely horrifying’.

In one, he said he was sick of ‘these wretched women MPs who seem to be constantly going on about there not being enough women in front-line politics’.

He added: ‘This country has been a gradual decline southwards towards the dogs ever since we started cow-towing [sic] to the cretinous pseudo-equality demand of these whingeing imbeciles.’


Stewart Green (formally Glasgow University student)

Outburst: Tory Stewart Green



And it gets worse

Things don’t seem to be getting any better for the 33-year-old leader. It emerged last week that members of the St Andrews University Conservative Association burned an effigy of US president Barak Obama on a St Andrew’s beach.

As a result, the president of that association, Mathew Marshall, will apologise personally to Mr Obama by sending a letter to the White House. Marshall admits that the burning was “undoubtedly stupid.” He went on to say: “I apologise further for any damage this has done to the reputation of the University of St Andrews, or the Scottish Conservative Party.”

Ruth Davidson, at least, will hope that that damage and the incidents before it have not left too big a stain on the party she is now responsible for.


Young conservatives at play




23 June 2012: Cameron sacks ‘foolish’ MP who joined ‘Hitler, Hitler, Hitler’ stag party…as it is revealed that he was the one who hired groom’s Nazi uniform

A Tory MP who took part in a Nazi-themed stag party was last night sacked by David Cameron for his ‘offensive and foolish’ behaviour. Aidan Burley was fired from his job as aide to Transport Secretary Justine Greening a week after The Mail on Sunday obtained footage of the event, which featured a toast to the Third Reich and a guest dressed as an SS officer.

Despite frantic efforts by the MP to salvage his political career – including writing a long letter of apology to The Jewish Chronicle and planning a visit to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland – the Prime Minister acted decisively when evidence emerged Mr Burley had hired the Nazi costume.

Read more:


Offensive: Mark Foumier in the SS-style uniform hired by MP Aidan BurleyEmbarrassment: Aidan Burley, right, with David Cameron has been sacked by the PM over his involvement at a Hitler party function

Aidan Burley & David Cameron
2014: Welcome to Conservative Future Scotland’s official website.

We are the youth wing of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party – Scotland’s only patriotic, centre-right party. Conservative Future Scotland has branches throughout Scotland and is made up of Scottish Conservative and Unionist members under the age of 30 and/or in education. We campaign across the length and breadth of Scotland for freedom, enterprise, community and equality of opportunity.

We also host a variety of events across the year which will be advertised on our website and on our Eventbrite profile. This year we will be helping the Team2015 effort, in hope to secure a Conservative Majority in the general election, in 2015.


11 May 2014: Next generation nowhere to be found as Scots Tory youth conference is scrapped

The youth wing of Scotland’s Tory Party has cancelled its annual conference because of a “lack of interest and declining membership”. Conservative Future Scotland (CFS), set up as an incubator for the next generation of Tory politicians, was supposed to hold the event in Edinburgh yesterday. But it pulled the plug after selling just 12 tickets, declaring that the meeting at Teviot Row student union was “no longer viable”.

The failure of the event is an early black mark against Scottish Conservative chairman, Richard Keen QC, who took up the post in January.

On Monday, the CFS Facebook page urged supporters to buy tickets for the conference at £6.50 each or £15 for over-30s, saying it promised to be an “exciting and interesting” event. But 48 hours later, CFS posted: “We’re sorry to announce the National Conference due to be held this Saturday 10th May has been cancelled. Due to lack of interest and declining youth membership numbers only 12 tickets have been sold.”

The conference was due to run before lunch, followed by the CFS’s annual general meeting. The AGM took place yesterday afternoon. An SNP spokeswoman said: “It is no surprise the Tories have a problem finding supporters among Scotland’s younger generation.” A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “This is an internal party matter.”




4 June 2015:

He was educated at Keil School and graduated from the University of Glasgow, where he was President of the Conservative Association.





13 September 2015: Brian Monteith: Tory revival in Scotland?

If, at the 2016 Scottish Elections, when the votes are counted, Ruth Davidson is unable to deliver a larger group then where can the Conservatives turn?

The party will have tested to destruction the idea that all it needed was a brighter, smarter, younger, more likeable leader who goes against the stereotype of a party for the strait-laced middle classes or the minor blue-blooded county set.

It will have claimed to have rebranded, left behind its baggage from the past and become more identifiably Scottish; and yet it will still have been rejected.

Despite one more heave, it will have retreated further; despite shouting louder, it will have been ignored.

Maybe then counsel will be sought to ask if it is indeed time to start all over again with something altogether fresh and new. There will be no new right-of-centre party before May next year, but there could still be a need for one if the party fails once more.


So who’s the master now jock??






























Tory Party Sleaze – Scottish Conservative Future Deciding the Politics of the Party in Scotland – They Never Change Part 1


The demise of the Tory Party

The David Cameron Tory government is fast unravelling as the sleazy conduct of its volunteers, officers, members and government is exposed, mirroring the 1997 downfall of the John Major government.

This article provides (for comparative purposes) briefing, outlining a number of the unsavoury incidents that gripped and destroyed the John Major government. Similar behaviour is compromising the government of David Cameron.

Particular attention is given to the behaviour of members of, “The Conservative Future”, the Tory Party youth wing. Members are both professionals and students alike and participate in the life of the Party in many ways.

Many play a direct and active role in the campaigns of their local MSPs, MP or Councillors and others stand for election with many currently representing their local area as Councillors.

Members socialise and debate together and are active at all levels of Party structure. Others are office holders at Constituency level and some are elected members of Local Councils.

In Scotland the Tory Party membership (many aged between 50-80) at 2011 numbered around 8000. This brought problems since it was not possible to conduct any meaningful electorate canvassing without troops on the ground.

Ruth Davidson’s strategy resolved the problem raising the profile of her “shock Conservative Forward troops” so that they established and implemented her doctrine in all areas of the Party.

But there was a price to pay for creating a two tier Party and the behaviour of a number of young Tory thugs associated with an increasing number of unsavoury incidents provides warning to the electorate not to provide support to a Party closely modelled on the ideals of a National Socialist Party.

It is possible that the 2020 General Election will provide opportunity for the return of a Labour government, (perhaps in coalition with the SNP).

Another, more likely scenario might see Scotland voting to leave the UK in a referendum in which case events in England & Wales post election would no longer concern Scots.



24 July 1993: The John Major government 1992-1997 – A promising start and a dismal end

John Major’s leadership was plunged into a new crisis last night after claims that he described three Eurosceptic Cabinet colleagues as ‘bastards’ in comments accidentally recorded after a television interview. The remarks, which were not broadcast but have gained circulation among broadcast journalists, are likely to enrage the right of the Conservative Party when Mr Major had promised a truce with Maastricht rebels.

The incident follows an interview with ITN’s political editor, Michael Brunson, last Friday after the Prime Minister had won his confidence vote over handling of the Maastricht Treaty in the Commons. Private discussion seems to have been picked up on a ‘live feed’ – which made Mr Major’s conversation available to the BBC and Sky as well as ITN – and taped by technicians.

According to today’s Observer Mr Major told Mr Brunson: ‘The real problem is one of a tiny majority. Don’t overlook that. I could have all these clever, decisive things which people wanted me to do – but I would have split the Conservative party into smithereens. And you would have said I had acted like a ham-fisted leader.’

Mr Brunson asked the Prime Minister why he did not sack three rebel Cabinet ministers, to which the Mr Major replied: ‘Just think it through from my perspective. You are the Prime Minister, with a majority of 18, a party that is still harking back to a golden age that never was (the Thatcher era), and is now invented. You have three right-wing members of the Cabinet who actually resign. What happens in the Parliamentary party?’

When Mr Brunson argued that the Prime Minister had the power to bring in others, Mr Major said: ‘I could bring in other people. But where do you think most of this poison is coming from? From the dispossessed and the never-possessed. You can think of ex-ministers who are going around causing all sorts of trouble.

‘We don’t want another three bastards out there. What’s Lyndon Johnson’s maxim?’ (The maxim is: ‘It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in.’)

At no point in the tape did the Prime Minister name the three colleagues singled out for attack. Four Cabinet ministers are regarded as sceptics on Europe: Peter Lilley, Secretary of State for Social Security, Michael Portillo, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, John Redwood, Secretary of State for Wales, and Michael Howard, the Home Secretary.

But revelations of Mr Major’s private opinions, unless proved false, will damage his standing on the right of the party – and undermine his claims to be a sceptic on Europe himself. They also underline the deep divisions which have been created within the Conservatives by the 18-month row over ratification of the Maastricht Treaty.

Downing Street said last night that it ‘did not know if this conversation took place and if it did it would have been a private matter’.

Mr Brunson was not available for comment but an ITN spokesperson said: ‘Michael Brunson has private conversations with senior politicians all the time and he would never comment on them’.



8 October 1993: “Back to Basics” political campaign announced by British Prime Minister John Major at the Conservative Party conference of 1993 in Blackpool.

Intended as a nostalgic appeal to traditional values, it subsequently backfired when a succession of Conservative politicians were caught up in scandals. The previous year of Major’s premiership had been beset by infighting within the Conservative party on the issue of Europe, including rebellions in several Parliamentary votes on the Maastricht Treaty.

Major’s speech, delivered on 8 October 1993, began by noting the disagreements over Europe:

“Disunity leads to opposition. Not just opposition in Westminster, but in the European Parliament and in town halls and county halls up and down this country. And if agreement is impossible, and sometimes on great issues it is difficult, if not impossible, then I believe I have the right, as leader of this party, to hear of that disagreement in private and not on television, in interviews, outside the House of Commons.”

Major then changed the subject to “a world that sometimes seems to be changing too fast for comfort”. He attacked many of the changes in Britain since the Second World War, singling out developments in housing, education, and criminal justice. He then continued:

“The old values – neighbourliness, decency, courtesy – they’re still alive, they’re still the best of Britain. They haven’t changed, and yet somehow people feel embarrassed by them. Madam President, we shouldn’t be. It is time to return to those old core values, time to get back to basics, to self-discipline and respect for the law, to consideration for others, to accepting a responsibility for yourself and your family and not shuffling off on other people and the state.”

He mentioned the phrase once again near the conclusion of his speech:

“The message from this conference is clear and simple, we must go back to basics. We want our children to be taught the best, our public services to give the best, our British industry to be the best and the Conservative Party will lead the country back to those basic rights across the board. Sound money, free trade, traditional teaching, respect for the family and respect for the law. And above all, we will lead a new campaign to defeat the cancer that is crime.”

During 1993, Britain was going through what has been characterised as a moral panic on the issue of single mothers. Government ministers regularly made speeches on the issue, such as John Redwood’s condemnation of “young women [who] have babies with no apparent intention of even trying marriage or a stable relationship with the father of the child”. and Peter Lilley’s characterisation of single mothers as “benefit-driven” and “undeserving” from the same year.

Apart from some generic platitudes about families and self-reliance, Major’s speech said nothing specific about sexual behaviour or single motherhood. On 6 January 1994, Major explicitly stated that the campaign was not “a crusade about personal morality”. Despite this, the “Back to Basics” campaign was widely interpreted by the media as including a “family values” component.






A professional analysis of Major’s speech provided this:

It is true that there was little in his original speech about sexuality But what proved critical, however, was the adoption of a moral traditionalist tone, including the usual references to ‘the family’ and responsibility’, and the labelling of the Conservative Party as the party of morality.

The party was now vulnerable to every personal moral disclosure, around financial and political corruption, but also, given the press’s own agenda, around sexuality.

For editors and journalists, the high-profile espousal of morality offered additional justification for the papers’ risky stories, and a further defence against threats to introduce privacy legislation against press intrusion. It was indubitably ‘in the public interest’ not to hush up misdemeanours within the Back To Basics party, however private.

Piers Morgan, who exposed many of the sexual scandals as editor of the News of the World, wrote in his diary in reference to the Michael Brown story:

“Major brought all these exposés on himself, with that ludicrous ‘Back to Basics’ speech at the last Tory conference. It strikes me that probably every Tory MP is up to some sexual shenanigans, but we can hardly get them all fired or there will be nobody left to run the country. Still, needs must. Brown’s shenanigans will shift a few papers, get followed everywhere and ensure the NoW [News of the World] leads the news agenda again. We’re on a roll and it feels fantastic.”
The following scandals were linked to the “Back To Basics” campaign in the media:


On 24 September 1992, David Mellor resigned as National Heritage Secretary. Mellor had been the subject of intense press attention regarding his extra-marital affair with actress Antonia de Sancha. Mellor remained in office for two months after the story broke, but was forced to resign when it was revealed that he had accepted a free holiday from the daughter of the PLO’s finance director. Although Mellor’s resignation antedated John Major’s “Back to Basics” speech by more than a year, the media were quick to link the new campaign to the scandal.


Between September and November 1993, newspapers revealed that junior transport minister Steven Norris had separated from his wife and was conducting simultaneous affairs with three different women (who were not all aware of each other’s existence). A further two long-term mistresses from his past were also exposed in the media. Norris remained in office, with John Major reportedly believing that he “was entitled to act as he likes in his private life”. The revelations continued during the conference at which Major made his “Back to Basics” speech.


On 5 January 1994, Tim Yeo resigned as Minister for the Environment and Countryside following the revelation that he had fathered a child during an extramarital affair. Yeo had previously criticized the number of single mothers in Britain.

On 8 January 1994, Alan Duncan resigned as Parliamentary Private Secretary after it was revealed that he had acquired a council house at a reduced price by exploiting a government programme to increase home ownership by the underprivileged.

On 9 January 1994, The Earl of Caithness resigned from his post as Minister for Aviation and Shipping one day after his wife committed suicide. According to his wife’s father, the tragedy had been precipitated by the Earl’s involvement in an extra-marital affair.

On 10 January 1994, married Conservative MP David Ashby admitted that he had shared a hotel bed with a “close” male friend on a rugby tour, but denied claims by his wife that he had left her for a man, or that he was having a homosexual relationship.

On 16 January 1994, Conservative MP Gary Waller confirmed newspaper reports that he had fathered a child with the secretary of another MP.

On 7 February 1994, Conservative MP Stephen Milligan was found dead as a result of auto-erotic asphyxiation.

On 13 February 1994, Hartley Booth resigned as a Parliamentary Private Secretary. The married father of three and Methodist lay preacher claimed that his 22-year-old female researcher had “seduced [him] into kissing and cuddling”.

On 8 May 1994, Michael Brown resigned as a junior government whip after the News of the World revealed that he had taken a holiday in the Caribbean in the company of a 20-year-old man. At that time, the age of consent for same-sex male relationships was still 21 (it was due to be reduced to 18 later in 1994). Brown subsequently acknowledged his sexuality, becoming the second openly gay MP. In his diaries, Conservative MP Gyles Brandreth wrote of this revelation: “You’ve got to pity the poor PM [Prime Minister] too. As [Brandreth’s wife] Michele says, ‘That’s Back To Basics gone to buggery’.





On 10 July, Parliamentary Private Secretaries David Tredinnick and Graham Riddick resigned after being caught by The Sunday Times taking cash in exchange for asking Parliamentary questions.

On 20 October, Tim Smith resigned as Northern Ireland minister after being accused by The Guardian of accepting cash for asking Parliamentary questions on behalf of Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed. Smith admitted the allegations.

On 25 October, Neil Hamilton resigned as minister for regulation and corporate affairs over the cash-for-questions affair. Unlike Smith, Hamilton denied taking money and gifts from Al-Fayed and vowed to sue his accusers in court.

On 6 March 1995, Robert Hughes resigned as Minister responsible for the Citizen’s Charter over an affair with a constituency worker who had come to him for help from an abusive relationship. Hughes confessed the affair and resigned when he believed that the liaison was about to be exposed in a Sunday newspaper.

On 9 April 1995, Richard Spring resigned as a Parliamentary Private Secretary after a News of the World sting caught him in a “three in a bed sex romp” with a male acquaintance and the acquaintance’s girlfriend.

On 10 April 1995, Jonathan Aitken resigned as chief secretary to the treasury in order to sue The Guardian over allegations that Saudi businessmen had paid for his stay at the Paris Ritz hotel, that he had enjoyed inappropriate commercial relations with two British-Lebanese arms dealers while minister for defence procurement, and that he had procured prostitutes for a Saudi prince and his entourage while they stayed at a British health farm. Aitken’s lawsuit would later collapse, and he would subsequently be imprisoned for perjury.

Scottish Office minister Allan Stewart resigned after waving a pickaxe at an anti-motorway protester.

On 2 June 1996, Rod Richards resigned as a Welsh Office minister after his extra-marital affair was disclosed in the News of the World. Richards had been a staunch advocate of the “Back To Basics” campaign in his strongly religious Welsh constituency. Upon hearing of the revelations, John Major demanded that Richards resign immediately; this so-called “one bonk and you’re out” policy was a notable contrast with his earlier leniency towards Norris, Yeo and David Mellor.

David Willetts’s disciplining by the parliamentary ombudsman over his intervention in a parliamentary enquiry in 1996

Porter v Magill revealed Shirley Porter’s role in the Homes for votes scandal


On 5 January 1997, the News of the World revealed that Conservative MP Jerry Hayes had been engaged in an extra-marital relationship with a young man. The affair began in 1991, when the man was 18 (the age of consent for same-sex male relationships at that time was 21).

Piers Merchant’s affairs with a night club hostess, and his researcher in 1997
Later revelations

John Major left office in 1997. Several years later, it was revealed that he had conducted a four-year-long extra-marital affair with fellow Conservative MP Edwina Currie in the 1980s. The liaison occurred when both were backbenchers, and had ended well before Major became Prime Minister. Currie disclosed the romance in her diaries, published in 2002, adding that she considered the “Back to Basics” campaign to have been “absolute humbug”.

In popular culture: The phrase has since become used by UK political commentators to describe any failed attempt by a political party leader to relaunch themselves following a scandal or controversy.






10 May 1994: Ministers face questions over sex case MOD man Labour attacks appointment of former high-profile Conservative to Civil Service post.

Ministers are to be questioned about the appointment to the Ministry of Defence of a civil servant at the centre of allegations about an illegal homosexual affair.

Paul Martin, 36 – formerly a high-profile Conservative councillor in Edinburgh and twice a candidate at general elections – was appointed to the allegedly politically neutral Civil Service. Mr Morgan said: ‘It looks as though Mr Martin was a political appointee but given a neutral title.’

Mr Martin – a convicted drink-driver – has been suspended from his position as an official in the Nato and European policy secretariat after being named with the Conservative MP Michael Brown in Sunday newspaper allegations about a homosexual relationship with an under-age man.




Sir Michael Hirst




31 March 1997 Tory top brass covered up the gay double-life of shamed chairman Sir Michael Hirst.

Scots Secretary Ian Lang knew about Hirst’s homosexual affairs with two young Tories. But he took no action after Hirst denied the flings with former researcher Andrew Barnett and personal assistant Paul Martin. Barnett blurted out the secret at the party’s Brighton conference two years ago.

One senior Tory said: “This went all the way to Ian Lang.” Astonishingly, some party workers knew about Hirst’s gay secret for ten years. But nothing was done.

The shamed Tory chairman was in hiding yesterday with his wife Naomi and their three children. It is thought they are staying on a friend’s country estate in the Highlands. Hirst didn’t have the strength to tell his wife that his secret life was about to be made public. He was told on Friday afternoon that the story was about to break and he phoned John Major to say he might have to step down. His resignation letter was with the Prime Minister within hours.

Meanwhile the two men linked to Hirst couldn’t be contacted. Andrew Barnett, who works at the Arts Council in London, was not available. And Paul Martin was said to be abroad on holiday. His father, a former Edinburgh councillor, said: “Paul has not lived here for three years. He is abroad just now.”

Ian Lang wasn’t available for comment. But Jackson Carlaw tried to play down the stunning events. He described the resignations of Hirst and Allan Stewart as “two very personal tragedies”. He said: “Our campaign was at a very advanced stage and we have the resources and the resilience to carry that out.” He admitted that the resignations had not been the “ideal start” for any campaign. And he said many in the party were “distraught” that the chairman had had to resign. But he claimed this had hardened the resolve of party workers to win their target seats.






31 March 1997: Knives out for silent Forsyth – Top Tories last night put the boot into Michael Forsyth for dodging the latest sleaze crisis.

They’re furious that the Scots Secretary has done a vanishing act as the party tears itself apart over a series of scandals. And they warned Forsyth’s lack of leadership could affect his entire political future.

He is almost certain to be defeated in his Stirling seat because his 700 majority at the last election will be wiped out by boundary changes. But he is being warned he will not be made welcome in any other Scottish constituency if he seeks a quick return to Parliament.

A senior party insider said last night: “His failure to lead from the front has astonished and disappointed us all. “It’s almost as if he has conceded defeat in the election and is waiting for the meltdown to happen so he can be a big player and power- broker in a new ultra right-wing Conservative Party.”

Opponents have dubbed Forsyth The Phantom because he has not been seen or heard on the hustings since John Major called the election on March 17. He has even sent backbench MPs to represent him in TV debates. And he has come up with a series of weak excuses for his absence. First, it was said he was carrying on “the business of government” in London. Then he said he was attending to constituency duties – although opponents claim he has not been seen on the ground in Stirling. But he is finally expected to make his first public appearance at a manifesto launch on Wednesday. And Stirling Tories will go through the motions and adopt him as their candidate on Wednesday night.


Lang                                               Forsyth                                        Rifkind




31 March 1997: Gay mafia buries Scottish Tories – Homosexual links lead to downfall of Scots party.

A gay mafia of young Tory blades has all but buried the party in Scotland. The homosexual links stretch from the party’s grass-roots through to the highest ranks. Scots Secretary Michael Forsyth’s agent Simon Turner – the man running his election campaign – is openly gay. And it was two other ambitious young gays who brought about the downfall of Scots Tory chairman Sir Michael Hirst. They are his former researcher Andrew Barnett and campaign worker Paul Martin.

Barnett yesterday tried to deny any close relationship with Hirst – but a Tory insider said: “The affair was well-known.” The relationship between Hirst and Barnett ended in tears two years ago. Devastated that the affair was over, Barnett poured his heart out to Tory grandees at the Brighton conference in 1995. One Tory source said: “Andrew was made a fool. He was very upset. He is a decent man and I felt sorry for him.” Another Tory close to the debacle at the time said: “Andrew doted on Mickey. But when it was time for him to move on he, understandably, felt spurned.”

Despite the sleaze that has engulfed the party in recent years, there are still some old- fashioned Tories determined to stick to their tradition of family values. It was they who blew the whistle on Hirst because they were sickened by his double standards. The complaint arrived at the desk of Ian Lang, Scots Secretary at the time. Another party insider said: “The matter was referred to Ian Lang, but Hirst denied the affair.”

Barnett’s affair with Hirst began in the early 1990s. The former chairman of the Tory Association at St. Andrews University, was working as a researcher in Hirst’s office. It was the second time Hirst, the promoter of family values, had been embroiled in a homosexual affair with a young Tory hopeful.

He struck up a relationship with Paul Martin who worked in the campaign team in 1987 when Hirst lost the Bearsden and Strathkelvin seat to Labour’s Sam Galbraith. Martin was given the elbow when word spread that he had been talking openly about his fling with father-of-three Hirst.

Concern was growing within the constituency association and Hirst was advised that Martin had to go to avert a scandal. Instead of taking action against Hirst, they moved swiftly to ensure that he was protected and Martin was sent packing.

One source close to the situation at the time said: “The Association was alarmed at all this loose talk and Michael was told he had to get rid of Martin. “He did, but gave him a very good reference to help him get a job. Soon after he stood down he got a top post in the CBI.”

Martin, now 40, had been a Tory councillor in Edinburgh at the age of 21. Three years ago, while employed by the Ministry of Defence, he was at the centre of allegations that he was part of a gay love triangle with English Tory whip Michael Brown and 20-year-old student Adam Morris. He was quite open about his fling with Hirst and boasted about it at a Tory conference. One insider said: “Martin is trouble. He is a vindictive old queen.”

It has been revealed that the gay links with the Tory party stretch from grass-roots wannabes to the very top of the tree. Top Tories have always been uncomfortable with Forsyth’s choice of an open homosexual like Turner for such a high-profile job.

They were also critical of other gay appointments made at the Scottish Tory HQ when Forsyth was party chairman. One source told the Record: “There is always the worry that even a whiff of scandal attached to these people would reflect badly on Forsyth.”

As events unfolded in the Eastwood constituency last week, a small band of high- ranking Tories gathered to make sure Hirst didn’t try to replace Allan Stewart. It was they who tried to get Hirst sidelined two years ago when the Barnett affair broke.

One senior Tory said: “We thought if we didn’t get rid of him he would get rid of us. “No-one listened to us although we tried hard to get him moved to a more junior post. The powers that be are now reaping the inevitable result. “It would not surprise me if someone in our own party shopped Michael to the press because of his own open arrogance.”…-a061018639