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?
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.