David Cameron took a little trip over to Northern Ireland today, to endorse the Conservatives' candidates in the Assembly Elections. The Tories are alone among the mainstream UK parties in fielding candidates in Northern Ireland. However, their success rate isn't good (mainly as their natural ground is already occupied by the UUP): in 2005, Conservatives received 0.4% of the total vote there. It makes Scotland look True Blue! And with comments like this, then perhaps you can see why. He did point out that Tory MLAs (as if there'll be any!) will designate themselves Unionist. Seeing as they're from the Conservative and Unionist Party, this makes sense.
However, he goes on to say:
"One of the reasons we are standing is to say to people in Northern Ireland politics doesn't have to be like this."
"It should be about the quality of your school, the quality of your hospitals, the choice you get in public services, supporting the rule of law, backing the free enterprise system.
If that's the case then firstly, they might want to stop being the Conservative AND UNIONIST Party. And as well as that, he's just effectively told people to vote for the Alliance Party, who designate themselves as 'Other'.
But Scottish Tories should consider this: given that he has just weighted free enterprise above the Union, has he just backed those Conservatives in Scotland who are want more powers (or even all remaining ones) being transferred to Edinburgh, in order to focus on things like a low-tax, low-spend Scottish government? Could this even be a message to the UK Conservative Party, to the effect of, 'Forget Scotland, we'll only be able to implement a Tory manifesto if England goes it alone'? Annabel Goldie might want to phone Cameron and ask him about that.