Saturday, 3 September 2011


So where is Dean when you need him for the inside info?

I read in the Daily Telegraph that Murdo Fraser has indicated that, should he become the new Scottish Conservative leader when Ms Goldie stands down next month, his stay in that position will be brief, for he will disband the party and launch a new Scottish centre-right party.

Murdo, quite rightly in my opinion, has the idea that the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party is a toxic name. His will launch his campaign on Monday in Edinburgh with the slogan “A new party for Scotland”.

He says that he has spoken to senior English Tories including Munguin’s Republic’s dear friend Francis Maude. Maudie is apparently wildly enthusiastic about it. (Perhaps he will volunteer to do something for it as part of his VAST big society commitments?)

Reading through Murdo’s claims, the word “NEW” appears as many times as it did in Tony Blair’s early rantings about NEW Labour. A NEW party; a NEW belief in devolution (how can you have a new belief in it when you grasped it firmly before?); a NEW approach to policy making; a NEW name; NEW supporters from all walks of life; a NEW positive message about staying in the union; a NEW party; a NEW unionism; a NEW dawn... Oh Poleeeeze! (And no, I didn’t make that last one up!)

But, one of the OLD party’s problems was that it required funding from England to continue to survive. Indeed reform was a must if it was to continue to receive the bounty of the English membership. Will it still need Tory funding?

But would a new name and a new party and a new...well, you know the list... would it be enough to change the party’s lack of support in Scotland? Murdo says that it would. But he also says that its members would take the Conservative whip in London and would be eligible for posts in a Conservative government, and so, for possibly the first time in my life, I find myself in agreement with the old windbag, Michael Forsyth. Mr Forsyth thinks that it is naive and simplistic in the extreme to imagine that a change of name can bring about electoral success. I do think that distancing themselves from the toxic name and record...and the association with an English cabinet of multi-millionaires from English public schools and Oxbridge might make a slight difference to their Scottish image. But is the Scottish public going to believe that it is all that NEW when one of its members (David Mundell) is a junior minister in the Conservative party?

It would be difficult for David (I want to be prime minister of all the UK) Cameron. Dave would be the first prime minister to have no members in two of the four constituent lands of the UK, leaving England and Wales the only countries in which the Tories still existed.

Northern Ireland, already more Irish than British, and Scotland with its own legal system, seem to be slipping farther away with every step.

Of course Murdo may not win the leadership. Jackson Carlaw and Ruth Davidson are also standing.

But if he does, what effect will this have on the fortunes of the centre right in Scotland? And what effects will that have on the SNP, and on independence?

Any thoughts?

Pic: Dave, on the left, looking a tad jowly. You just can't get the botox these days. And Murdo, on the right (or not as the case may be) erm... with a very very nice tie.


  1. No Murdo is right,

    For one thing, a separate Scottish Party, free of the Heath merger will enable us to pursue more uniquely Scottish policies free from London interference (i.e. Murdo wants to push for full fiscal autonomy, unless he can run his own ship up here, they will NEVER let him).

    As for the idea that we will depend on English Tory money, nonsense. Scotland is crying out for a SCOTTISH centre-right party, not some attache of a wider English branch. Thus, I am positive that a new party, free from interference from Mssrs Cammie et al will receive the appropriate Scottish support.

    And Tris ... agreeing with Forsyth? Hang that head under the cold water tap and come back once you've calmed down!

  2. p.s. It is good to come back, especially on a topic like this one.

    This REALLY excites me, especially as a pro-fiscal autonomy, pro-separate party Scottish Tory:)

  3. It's an interesting idea for several reasons. The Conservative Sanderson review wanted to change several elements in the management set up of the current Scottish region of the Conservatives and that was going to be voted on before they actually voted for a leader at the next conference.

    In fact that said leader would be created by the Sanderson vote as the Conservatives in Scotland are in exactly the same boat as Labour at the moment as they've only got a parliamentary group leader not a genuine leader.

    So Murdo's plan is as follows.

    1. Get the new conservative party regional structure in Scotland in place.

    2. Win the leadership of that region. (Powers as yet undetermined)

    3. Get everyone to leave the Conservative party Scottish region and join a new party of his own.

    4. Hope that the Conservative party hand over all the assets they hold in Scotland because they own the lot, there is no separate Scottish party.

    5. Find the pot of gold under the rainbow.

    6. Find out how to undo a lace up the back white jacket.

  4. Tris/Dean

    This confirms what I have been thinking all along, Fraser does not want to be the leader of the torys in Scotland.

    This move has confirmed that he will be last in the election for a new tory branch manager in Scotland as the "blue rinse" brigade will never vote for anyone who wants to disband Margarets party in Scotland.

    He will be able to say after he comes last "I had the guts to stand, and I had radical new proposals but no one backed me" Under his breath he will be saying thank god no one voted for that crap. No money, no organisation, no premises and still toxic torys.

    The used car salesman will take you back to the future with a revival of Micky Forsyths agenda. Go back to your constituencies and prepare to continue to be as irrelevant to a modern Scotland as you have been for many years.

  5. Tris, I don't think Murdo is centre-right. His position on the scale is nothing to do with it. He's a unionist and whether he's centre right, centre or centre left is immaterial.

    Murdo is a very nice man and I've been at many meetings in which he's spoken. Heather-on-fire in the tory party if he was elected? Not even petrol would help.

    As for the other candidates I can't comment as I don't know anything of them other than which is mentioned in the MSM and I have little faith in press releases.

  6. Ahhhhh... there you are Dean. It's good to have you back.

    I thought you would probably be interested in this proposal.

    I know so little about the Tories and their arrangements that I'm not sure how it would work.

    It seems to me that despite the 'nice' image of Annabel (we're on first name terms you know), the party is blasted by the image of that dreadful old Thatcher woman. Every time anyone says Conservatives, or Tories, this blonde head and the ghastly voice come to mind...

    OK, so although it's not my cup of coffee, I understand that there is a place in our politics for a sensible right of centre party.

    Certainly there is no place for the current one, as David Mundell will testify.

    In my opinion, in the future (which as you know, I see as an independent Scotland), we will need one, and in the last parliament, the Tories formed the only proper opposition.

    You might like to comment on the other comments up here...

    PS... My hair is wet, and I'm gasping for air. (The water in Scotland is COLD). You're right, it was a momentary muddle. Forsyth is an old blether. He and Margaret spend too much time together!

  7. LOL @ Doug.

    The last one is the most difficult I suspect. I've tried it on a few occasions... never mastered it yet.

    So the time scale for this change over envisaged by our Murdo is what exactly. He doesn't have long, does he?

  8. Dubs:

    Dean seems enthusiastic about it. You clearly don't think it will fly because the membership, or at least the older membership won't have it.

    But surely they must see that they have gone downhill farther and farther over the last 20 years. Things must change or, as you say, they will become less and less relevant to the country. And the English Tories are becoming more hated by the day with Dave seen as being as bad, if not worse than, Maggie.

    We elected 1 Tory, but we are getting their policies anyway. I should think at current rates Mundell's seat is on a shoggly peg.

  9. No SR, I didn't mean HE was centre right, just that the party (according to the Telegraph) would be centre right.

    I take it then you don't think he has much of a chance as a leader?

    There was someone you fancied to take over from Annabel a few months ago... but I can't remember who it was.

    I have to say that I'd never heard of the other two before today, but then I'd never heard of Willie Rennie until he became the leader ... unopposed too... of the erm, what are they called again?

  10. What name will they use to convey the dynamism of the NEW party?

    Scottish Unionists

    Not The English Tories

    New Tartan Tories

    None Of The Afroesaids

    The Whistling in The Dark Party

    The Progressives (just maybe)

    All contributions welcome

  11. Tris

    If you watch conventions of the North British branch of the tory party the average appears to be between 65 and 70. If they have stuck with the torys in all that time their political hero will still be Thatcher.

    They will never change their views now, and I do not believe that they will ever vote for the disbanding of Margaret's party.

    A change of name is just that, the old name was not working lets rebrand, just think Marathon/Snickers, same product different name. Murdo is playing games, he needs to be seen standing, he is the deputy at present, but he knows the torys are as toxic now as they ever were and the leaders position with the torys is as bad as the other branch managers positions in the other London parties.

    Now the other London branches would have a chance to pull something like this off, I think their membership would support such a move. Will that ever happen? no chance the Lib Dums MPs now think they are important, and the Labour placemen will never change, a quick read of the Bay City Rollers tribute site highlights that.

  12. Your Snootyness...

    There's some possibilities there.

  13. Aye Dubs:

    That's why I was interested in getting Dean's view of what the old folk in his party are thinking.

    As I said, I'm with Mental Mickey Forsyth, at least to an extent. I mean HE's just being loyal to Maggie, but that aside, changing the name is not much good if the policies remain the same.

    And if they are going to coalesce with the Conservatives in London and sit as ministers in a Tory government, how different can their policies be?

    I'm having difficulty seeing a Unionist Right, or Christian Democrats in Scotland taking a totally different line to that of London Tories.

    And if it doesn't work, and we end up with Carlaw Jackson, will Murdo have to leave? Will all the young reforming types (Dean's age) in the party leave with him?

    Will there be two right of centre parties in Holyrood? How will Cammy work with that when he's not on holiday?

    Oh, we live in exciting times.

  14. PS: Talking about mental... I'm tempted to buy the Sunday Times to get the low down on Brown and Darling.

    It's sounds fascinating.

    Don't worry, I won't shell out a halfpenny for a Murdoch title, I'm sure the other papres will cover it.

  15. EEEEEEK no, CH.

    They'll never have the word "national" in it.

  16. Hmm! Murdo will probaly end up nicking 55% of the snp membership

  17. You overestimate the extent to which ideology will impact on the 'blue rinse' brigades decision when coming to vote.

    They will firstly vote for the 'one they KNOW' (so to speak), and they will also vear towards the one known to be good on conservative values like 'family values' 'church goer' that kind of thing. It is Murdo by a mile.

    Then you have his big rivals, all of which are beyond the pale for the old hands.

    1. Ruth Davidson
    She will NEVER secure their support for obvious reasons..
    2. Jackson Carlaw
    He has lost a lot of support from his sniping at Goldie over the years of her leadership, plus he failed to win Eastwood constit last election, which counts against him seriously.

    So, again, what alternative to Murdo? The blue rinsers will vote Murdo partly because they know him, partly because he is the only one offering a radical shakeup of all the pathetic little self-interested elements of our dying party. But also because he, by comparison to all is rivals, is the only one they could stomach voting for.

    But you didn't ask about the youth vote, and the Conservative Future Scotland caucus isn't all that small, and everyone of those under 31s registered party members...

  18. OK Dean, thanks for that.

    Is the obvious reason that they won't vote for Ruth Davidson, that she is a woman? Or is there something else I don't know?

    It's good to have an inside view, and of course I didn't even know about CFS. Ta!


  19. Oh, I meant to ask, Dean, who gets a vote?
    MSPs obviously, and party members, so that will include MPs and councillors, and MEPs...

    Does it also include members of the English Tories, or is it restricted to Scottish members?

  20. Oh dear, I seem to have mixed up one of the candidate's names. I'm told that he is Jackson Carlaw and not Carlaw Jackson...

    Woops. That's how well known he is!!

    I wondered what kind of a first name was Carlaw, but then...what kind of a first name is Jackson.

    However, my apologies to him.

  21. Only members of the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party get to vote ... obviously :)

    ---And no---the reason well known about Ruth isn't that she is a woman...

  22. Ok Dean. I looked her up on Wiki. She's gay.

    OK, so the English MPs don't get a vote. Fair enough.

    Thanks for your help. It's surprising how little I know about how the other parties work!

  23. Niko:

    I missed your post there. It was rather a short one compared to your usual ...

    Well, yes, that's a possibility. That's why it's interesting.

  24. lol, I don't want to be harsh, but its time to face the facts, the blue rinsers won't vote for her because of that reason. Most of these old buddies still support section 28

  25. Ha ha, Dean. Oh well, she's toast then.

    But she's come out with all guns blazing.

    From a realistic point of view and disregarding the old biddies for the moment, she's too inexperienced. She only arrived in parliament a few weeks ago and she wants to be leader.

    At least wee Willie had been an MP for a couple of years.