Scottish Conservative cut loose by Cameron

When David Cameron took the reins of government, within a week of doing so, he made a point of visiting each of the devolved governments, seeking to highlight his new mantra of respect between Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont. Little did they know; it now transpires that the respect is not, it seems, applicable to relations between Conservatives in London and Scotland.

When David Cameron took the reins of government, within a week of doing so, he made a point of visiting each of the devolved governments, seeking to highlight his new mantra of respect between Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont. Little did they know; it now transpires that the respect is not, it seems, applicable to relations between Conservatives in London and Scotland.

Writing for Scotland on Sunday, the paper’s Scottish political editor, Hamish MacDonell, has reported on the fresh “crisis” that has engulfed relations between Conservative HQ and its colleagues in Scotland.

In his article, Macdonell details how members of the Scottish Tory Party have been effectively locked out of key policy and strategy making sessions, with the Conservative leader at Holyrood, Annabel Goldie, having not spoken with David Cameron at all since the General Election.

This is despite Mr Cameron having held almost half a dozen conversations with Scottish National Party first minister Alex Salmond in the same period.

The latest exposé of the state of the Conservatives in Scotland comes after a torrid few months for the party north of the border. The general election saw Labour improve its electoral support in Scotland, with the Conservatives retaining just one seat in the entire country. This despite William Hague’s prediction that it would be a breakthrough election for the Tories in Scotland.

In June, the party established a review into its future in Scotland, under the chairmanship of the former Scotland Office minister, Lord Sanderson – whose views on a host of controversial subjects have been questionable to say the least – and just last month, the Herald was reporting that Ms Goldie was being lined up as the likely casualty of the party’s internal review.

Responding to the news, Alex Massie, writing for The Spectator online has starkly concluded:

“The sorry truth is that the Scottish Conservative & Unionist party is perhaps the most useless political party in Western Europe.”

For Hamish Macdonell meanwhile, the future for Goldie is simple:

“If the Conservatives do well at the Holyrood elections next year and add to the party’s 17 MSPs, Goldie will (probably) have done enough to silence her detractors. But any slippage will signal the end of her leadership.”

If this is her fate, then new polling, commissioned by the Scottish Mail on Sunday will be depressing the Goldie camp. In asking people who they would support in next year’s elections to the Scottish Parliament, on the constituency vote Labour were on 39 per cent, the SNP 29 per cent, Conservatives 19 per cent and the Liberal Democrats 11 per cent. On the regional list vote, Labour were on 36 per cent, the SNP 26 per cent, the Conservatives 15 per cent and the Lib Dems 12 per cent.

Conversely, as CCHQ seeks to distance itself from Scotland, there are increasing calls for the Welsh and Scottish parties to have a greater role in Labour’s operations. Speaking ahead of the elections for the party’s National Executive Committee, current member Peter Wheeler concluded:

“The current arrangements just don’t provide enough representation for the different parts of the UK. It’s important that members in strong Labour areas like Scotland and Wales are directly represented when decisions are made about our Party’s future. Labour can sometimes be seen as being too dominated by London.”

6 Responses to “Scottish Conservative cut loose by Cameron”

  1. TheBiPolarBearMD

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scottish Conservative cut loose by Cameron: //bit.ly/93A2wI

  2. Daniel Simms

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scottish Conservative cut loose by Cameron: //bit.ly/93A2wI > Tories never recovered in Scotland after 1997.

  3. Kristofer Keane

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scottish Conservative cut loose by Cameron: //bit.ly/93A2wI

  4. Andy Sutherland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Scottish Conservative cut loose by Cameron: //bit.ly/93A2wI

  5. Mike

    cut lose
    just like the UUP in Northern Ireland ????

    he who pays the bills dictates policy

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