09 October 2006


I thought I'd turn my attention to the Tories, who are, after all, still there and discuss Brian Monteith's suggestions that Annabel Goldie has to get the Party's tally of MSPs into the 20s next year or face the sack. Now, the first response is that he's already been (at least partly) responsible for David McLetchie's downfall, so he might want to restrain himself unless he wants to be known to future generations as "Monteith, Slayer of Tory Leaders", which, on reflection, is actually quite a cool title. Secondly, this continual carping about the Party is turning him from one of Scotland's least inconspicuous right-wing thinkers (my first draft had the phrase 'most prominent', which didn't seem right, and I'm not happy about the word 'thinker' either, though I've said before and will say again that he knows how to analyse a situation) into a right-wing equivalent of Campbell Martin. As you can see from my previous rant about the former SNP member, I am not a fan of him, and by comparing Monteith with him, I'm suggesting that the ex-Tory is in danger of having his sole contribution to political discourse in Scotland being a whinge about his former party.

But there are a few wider points, that show this whole discussion to be proof that the Scottish Conservatives haven't arrested their decline, and that David Cameron and his squiggly tree are having a total impact of zero north of Carlisle and Berwick. Firstly, this discussion of putting the Tories in the 20s: in the present climate, I'd say that's overly ambitious, but McLetchie would at least say in public that he wanted to be First Minister. Now there's talk of the Tories propping up Labour in 'constructive opposition'. It sounds like they've basically given up on either a return to power or even the prospect of catching up the SNP. Secondly, Annabel Goldie has struck me from the beginning as a caretaker leader, as Michael Howard effectively was at Westminster, to get the Tories through to the Election without any major crisis or outbreak of internecine warfare. Whatever happens in May, expect Goldie to quit, and expect a full-on contest to replace her. That is, if they actually have rules drafted for one by the time she announces her intention to resign.

While we're on the subject of leadership, the SSP are reconsidering their leadership structures, apparently to avoid any future 'cult of personality'. Frankly, they should have thought about that before their candidates informed voters that they were the "Scottish Socialist Party - Convener Tommy Sheridan" candidates. In any case, they needn't worry. Out of the four remaining MSPs, I don't see much in the way of personality for them to have a cult surrounding it, least of all in Colin Fox, whose one memorable contribution to Parliamentary business was to get chucked out of the Chamber for singing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are right abour Goldie being a caretaker leader, much like Michael Howard. But the Tories in England have, since Cameron took over, been able to decide on an alternative strategy of sorts, even if it is one noticably short of policy detail, and regarded with suspicion by many Tory activists. The problem in Scotland is that no alternative strategy has yet been invented. Or at least, the one visionary possibility, of declaring UDI and rebranding themselves as something less openly anti-Scottish has been still-born, as I argued here.