Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Scottish Conservative Party

The Tories are finished in Scotland. They've been finished in Scotland since 1997 (actually, before that, but that was the election where we kicked them out). And there's really no way back - at every election they'll always be "the same old Tories".

So Murdo Fraser is absolutely right when he says that the best way forward is actually to dissolve the party. Where he goes wrong is that he then suggests they should reform with a different name... but as essentially the same party. Do that, and they're still "the same old Tories", whether they call themselves "Conservatives", "Unionists", "Progressives" or whatever else. And it's especially the case if, as is expected, they will formally ally with the Conservatives in England and take the Tory whip while serving in Westminster.

No, what they need to do is dissolve the party, and then reform several smaller parties each reflecting different aspects of the centre-right agenda. Then, over the next few years, gradually merge some of these new parties into a single entity with a new centre-right agenda. Also (and this is the important bit), they absolutely must not have anything to do with the Tories in England. They have to operate within Scotland (only) for the people of Scotland (only). And even if their MPs in London could prove the difference between a Tory majority forming there or not, they must resist that temptation, because the moment they form that alliance, they're "the same old Tories" once again.

The funny thing is, it doesn't actually make all that much difference to me, since I wouldn't vote for such a party anyway. On my prioritised list of parties to vote for, they actually come after "don't bother voting at all". (Along with Labour, the Lib Dems, and a great many 'minor' parties. At the moment, the SNP have my vote. Failing that, I might just be persuaded to vote Green.)

But the reason it's important is that there is a large group of voters who are rather more right wing in outlook than the SNP, Labour or Lib Dems (or, actually, the modern Tory party), but who cannot bring themselves to vote for "Thatcher's Party", and who are not the racist caricature of the BNP. And those people are currently left without anyone to represent them, and that is wrong.

So, yeah, I hope Murdo Fraser gets his way. I hope the Scottish Conservative Party winds up, and soon. But not because I want it gone; because it's important to have it back.

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