The Mantra of Unionist Supporters in Scottish Politics
“Ask not what I can do for Westminster,
But, what can Westminster do for me?”
Mundell to get a peerage for selling out his country? Ruth Davidson after? and what about the rest of them It’s all me me me me me!!! Oh and Annabel Goldie got her reward.
October 2011:Tory Party in Scotland in Crisis
The Scottish Conservatives are looking for a new leader after Annabel Goldie decided to step down from the post in the wake of the party’s poor performance at the last UK and Scottish elections. As the Scottish government’s referendum approaches, the Scottish Conservatives are now fighting their own battle for independence, over whether the party should carry on as it is or disband in favour of a new, right-of-centre political group. Here is a look at the 2 leading contenders for the leadership of the party:
Key backers: Lord Sanderson, Lord Strathclyde, leader of the House of Lords, John Scott MSP, and deputy Holyrood presiding officer, John Lamont MSP, Murray Tosh, Lord Forsyth, Michael Ancram.
As a 32-year-old, newly elected, openly gay Tory MSP, Ruth Davidson has been described as the fresh-faced, new generation of the Scottish Conservative Party. But can looks be deceiving? When compared to Murdo Fraser’s radical plans for the party, Ms Davidson almost seems more of a status quo candidate. The former BBC journalist opposes further new powers for Holyrood, describing those to be delivered through the Scotland Bill as “a line in the sand”.
Ms Davidson, who became a Glasgow list MSP in May, says the leadership campaign has become distracted by the debate over disbanding and rebranding the Scottish Conservatives, arguing that real change only comes from asking people what matters to them, and bringing fresh thinking to important issues, such as health, education and justice. At a time when increased powers for the Scottish Parliament has become a popular issue, Ms Davidson is hoping party members will want a leader intent to make the best of what Scotland already has.
Key backers: Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP, Jamie McGrigor MSP, Liz Smith MSP, Gavin Brown MSP, Alex Fergusson MSP, Alex Johnstone MSP, Nanette Milne MSP, David McLetchie MSP, Struan Stevenson MEP.
As the long-serving deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Murdo Fraser was seen a frontrunner – but has he scared the horses too much with his radical plans? Essentially, Mr Fraser wants to get rid of the “Scottish Conservatives” – the so-called toxic brand – in favour of a new, right-of-centre progressive party. He says the Conservatives carry too much baggage in Scotland and splitting from the UK party means they stand a better chance of attracting more voters. Not only that, but the former UK Young Conservative chairman has taken a very different tack to his opponents when it comes to the constitutional question, currently all the rage in Scottish political debate. Mr Fraser favours more financial powers for Holyrood, but stops short of backing full fiscal freedom – “independence in disguise”, as he puts it.
The former lawyer, who became an MSP in 2001 after a vacancy arose on the mid-Scotland and Fife list, is seen by colleagues, commentators and others as a skilled debater and politician. His plans to set up a new party, which would ally itself with the UK Conservatives come election time, has been praised by many. But while the UK party leadership seems relaxed about the idea, Scotland’s sole Tory MP, David Mundell, has his reservations. Questions still remain, the biggest one being whether the approach will chime with long-serving Tory party members in Scotland when the time comes to vote in a new leader?
Glasgow Conservatives Reject Davidson
Davidson is facing hostility from party activists in what should be safe home turf in Glasgow. Of the city’s five constituency association chairmen and women, two are supporting Davidson’s main rival, Murdo Fraser, two are behind Jackson Carlaw, and one has nominated Margaret Mitchell.
Supporting Fraser are Richard Sullivan, chairman of Glasgow Central & Eastern, and Archie McIntyre, of Glasgow South West association. Barbara McCulloch, in Glasgow North West, and John Anderson, in Glasgow North, back Carlaw. In Glasgow South, Alastair Mackenzie signed Mitchell’s nomination papers, though it is understood he will vote for Fraser.
In contrast, Fraser is backed by three in his Mid-Scotland and Fife region, while Carlaw is backed by two in West of Scotland. Sullivan said: “Ruth’s support does appear to be lacking in Glasgow.”
Ruth Gets her Feet Under the Table – Malcolm Macaskill (35 years a Tory Party stalwart in Glasgow) on being deselected from the “Party List” in Glasgow in favour of Ruth Davidson:
“The Conservative party in Scotland is rotten to the core and I serve notice to Davidson that I intend to seek a judicial review of my dismissal since in my view the meeting leading to my removal did not have the quorate number of officials present to make the dismissal ruling. It is also my contention to prove that party rules do not contain any provision to remove a list candidate, therefore the party acted unconstitutionally.” Despite protestations from many party members Davidson was confirmed as the number one list candidate for Glasgow and was subsequently elected to Holyrood then later to party leader.
Commenting Macaskill said: “Some have suggested that there was perhaps always a greater plan. In dismissing me, the next in line on the regional list was Ruth Davidson, who had earlier failed to be selected as a constituency candidate in other parts of Scotland. History shows that not only was Ruth elected in my stead, but she also went on to become the party leader in Scotland.”
Macaskill was also scathing of Davidson’s experience “I can’t help but feel that the leadership role requires greater experience and that it may have been better suited to any one of the other three candidates. It remains to be seen how she will fare as leader. Early signs are not promising. she has damaged her authority with ill judged comments about drawing a “line in the sand” over devolved powers to Holyrood.” Prime Minister David Cameron later contradicted the novice leader by suggesting more powers could be devolved.
A few weeks later, in a statement confirming he had quit the party he said: “All I ever wanted from the party was an apology. An admission that they were wrong in dismissing me and that they had on this occasion failed to follow their own procedures. This was never forthcoming. After discussions with my family, friends and legal team, I decided not to go to the Court of Session. This decision was made because I have now decided that I’ve had enough of the Tory Party. Over the past year, the treatment that I have been subjected to, along with the evidence that I have gathered, has convinced me that the party machine in and around Edinburgh central office is rotten to the core. I no longer wish to remain a member of such an inept and morally corrupt organisation.”
It is believed the Conservatives gave Macaskill a five-figure sum as an out-of-court agreement. “Rotten to the core and corrupt” the Scottish people realised this years ago after Thatcher laid waste to our industrial infrastructure”.
A Leader without the Backing of a Majority of Party members has no credibility in the eyes of the electorate.
There were 8000 eligible Party member in Scotland at the time of the leadership election: Murdo Fraser secured 2,096 (26.20%) first preference votes against Ms Davidson’s 2,278 (28.48%). A win by 182 votes. Hardly a landslide victory. But she claimed it was that anyway. Only stretching the truth a little bit.
In an early statement she said: “I campaigned with a pledge to fight against further new powers for Scotland. The Scotland Bill to increase Holyrood’s financial responsibility, currently going through Westminster, is “a line in the sand and I strongly oppose Mr Fraser’s vision for a new party.”
Al fair in Love and War, If You’re Blessed
In the campaign for the Scottish Tory leadership, Ruth Davidson was accused of illegally accessing party members data by searching and utilizing email lists to contact potential voters to her cause. Despite warnings from the party chairman reminding him of the need to remain impartial the party’s spin doctor, Ramsay Jones, was suspended. then sacked after attending a meeting of campaign strategists at Davidson’s Glasgow home. The sacking did not last long since he simply transferred to London taking up a £65K + expenses post within David Cameron’s inner office. All courtesy of the Taxpayer. She was also fined by the Electoral Commission after donations she received were not formally declared within the regulation time period.
Other Davidson Boobies
She claimed (on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Good Morning Scotland’) that Conservatives were part of Stirling’s council administration saying: “We think that there are areas in which local councils can make a difference, for example in Stirling we are part of the administration.” The Stirling group of SNP councillors rebutted her assertion reminding her that Conservatives have only four out of 22 councillors in Stirling, which has been overseen by a minority SNP administration since 2008. An embarrassing gaff!!
Davidson Supports Use of Sterling in an Independent
A few day’s before David Cameron’s visit to Scotland she said she supported the use of the pound in an independent Scotland, directly contradicting briefings by her Westminster colleagues. In comments made in the Sunday Post, the Scottish Tory leader “seized on” a YouGov poll showing that a large majority of Scots favoured Scotland continuing to use the pound. However the poll in question was about an independent Scotland continuing to use sterling – matching SNP policy – and also showed that there was support across the UK for an independent Scotland to use sterling.
SNP MSP John Mason, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, said at the time: “Ruth Davidson has now created even more confusion in the ranks of the anti-independence parties by endorsing the SNP’s policy for sterling. Sources at Westminster have briefed that Scotland wouldn’t be able to use the pound, followed by Michael Moore conceding we would. Now Ruth Davidson backs sterling as the answer to the poll question “Which of the following do you think would be best for an Independent Scotland?”. Just what is the position of the Tory party on this?”
Davidson Supports Alex Salmond’s Referendum Question
Amid attempts by anti-independence parties to claim that the Scottish Government could not be trusted to propose a fair and straightforward question in the independence referendum, when First Minister Alex Salmond revealed the question to Holyrood, Ms Davidson responded that it was “a fair and decisive legal question, which I welcome.” Ms Davidson’s statement seriously undermined attempts by the Conservatives in Westminster to claim that the question was biased and unfair.
An SNP representative commented: “The Tories don’t know if they are coming or going when it comes to Scotland. No wonder Mr Macaskill walked out on them. You might think it wasn’t possible for the Tories to sink any further but that is exactly what is happening here.”
Paul McBride (high-profile QC) Quit the Scottish Conservatives following the election of Ruth Davidson
Voicing deep concern about Tory opposition to the SNP’s legislation to tackle sectarianism he was also critical of Ms Davidson’s campaign manager, MSP John Lamont, (the party’s justice spokesman) who recently called for an end to faith schools in Scotland. He described the party as “a bunch of unreconstructed morons” and said: “They have replaced one nice woman with one not so very nice woman.” Following up he added: “The Scottish Tories are no friends of the people of Scotland. The MSP group is divided and dysfunctional. Their only policy is to oppose everything and contribute nothing. Half the membership wants the party abolished and 87% of the electorate despise them. Their naked opportunism regarding the minimum pricing bill and the offensive behaviour bill demonstrates why they will remain unelectable. Nothing suggests they have the insight to change and I want nothing to do with them.”
Credits to: Newsnet, BBC News