The Near Death and Signs of Recovery of the Tory Party in Scotland
Murdo Fraser first stood for election to Holyrood in 1999 but was unsuccessful. Undeterred he turned his sights to bigger things and fought for a seat in the Westminster election in 2001(and failed). Never one to give up easily he lowered his expectations once again and sought to be elected to Holyrood in 2003, 2007, 2011 and for a record fifth time in 2016. On each occasion he failed succeeding only in garnering a lower share of the vote each time his name was entered onto the ballot paper.
But the Tory party were determined that talented Murdo would never be lost to Scottish public service and added his name at or near to the top of their proportional representation list which provided opportunity for a number of failed candidates to be elected to Holyrood as second class MSP’s. Murdo was so elected in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2016. A record unsurpassed by any other nominee.
It is noteworthy that the Scottish devolution Bill’s inclusion of proportional representation (so vehemently opposed by the Tory’s) saved the party from oblivion in the first four terms of government. But the practice of retaining the same persons for election, time after time resulted in an ageing pool of candidates (old talentless Tory’s) and subsequent recurring failure at the polls.
The party desperately needed a complete overhaul if it was to command a place in Scottish politics. This was facilitated by a “night of the long knives” in 2011, bringing with it a change of leadership (Cameron acolyte Ruth Davidson) coupled with the introduction of new office management, staff and Central Office financial support and the establishment of clear and unambiguous lines of communication with the office of the Tory Party in London.
Autonomy was a dead duck. Scottish Tory party members would toe the line or suffer the consequences. A new agenda was then put in place tasked with ensuring Holyrood’s independence from Westminster would be marginalised, reduced then eliminated over time.
Getting Rid of the Deadwood – Three Strikes and You’re Out
Jackson Carlaw (Deputy Party leader) announced that long-serving Conservative MSPs would be forced to stand down from the Scottish Parliament from the 2015 election if they failed to win a constituency seat. They would only be able to serve three or four consecutive terms as list MSPs, who are elected using a complicated system of proportional representation to represent one of eight regions of Scotland.
He said the change would be applied retrospectively, meaning a series of the party’s most high-profile figures would have to win a constituency at the next election or step aside if a three-term limit was imposed. They included Murdo Fraser, (the bookies’ favourite in the contest to succeed Annabel Goldie as Tory leader) who is serving his third full term as a Mid Scotland and Fife regional list MSP.
The change aims to address the situation whereby the same people are nominated time and again, regardless of their performance, (such is the loyalty of the party’s rank-and-file that they consistently choose the same people no matter how poorly they perform). Carlaw said “I realise it’s going to be unpopular with some and it is controversial, but I believe we have to substantially renew the face of its party, not its name. Leadership requires the taking of tough decisions.
Only three MSPs of the 15-strong Conservative group at Holyrood have constituencies of their own, with the remainder relying on the regional list for their seats. Some have used the system to win re-election since devolution started in 1999. (The Telegraph)
That’s it. Murdo has been sponging off the Scottish taxpayer for around 18 years at a gross cost of approximately £2million. Contributing nothing of substance he seems to spend an inordinate time (well he’s got plenty of it) twittering nonsense. But surely he is deadwood and what the hell happened to the 3 strike rule policy???