Regular readers of my old blog will know critical I have been of Scottish Conservatives and their poor leadership over the last few decades. Back in April 2007 I wrote…
If reports are true the Scottish Conservative Party is to be given its freedom to go its own way. It is likely to be called the Unionist Party. With devolution now irreversible I see little alternative and it offers the Scottish Tories the best chance of reviving after two decades in the doldrums. However, and it is a big however, I have to say I have not yet seen anyone north of the border who is likely to provide the ideas and inspiration for such a revival. As a group of politicians, Welsh AMs are far superior to their Scottish MSP counterparts and in Wales they are about to reap the rewards. Those of who don’t live in Scotland do not realise the extent to which the UK Parliament has already become an irrelevance to the Scottish media. In some ways Scotland already is a separate country. The Scottish Tories have got to not only live with that but develop an identity which recognises it and to some extent embraces it. They cannot achieve that if their every move is second guessed by a London based party which doesn’t understand the new Scottish politics. Let’s hope that someone in Scotland emerges after the May elections who can kickstart a right of centre revival in a country that so desperately needs one.
Well, four years on, there seems to be hope in the form of Murdo Fraser. The key to winning an election is to fight it on your own terms. I am very impressed with the manner in which Murdo has set the agenda for this election campaign. Scottish Conservatives need a radical new approach. Yes, it’s a risk, but most things in life are and there is little doubt that just carrying on the failed campaigns of the past won’t be good enough. Scotland needs bright, fresh radical thinking and from what I have seen, Murdo Fraser is in a good position to provide it.
I am afraid that for all her undoubted qualities, Annabel Goldie outstayed her welcome. I remember seeing a Scottish Conservatves PEB in the last Scottish election campaign in which she talked to camera for five minutes. It was nothing short of an embarrassment. A new Scottish leader needs to do something radical. The Tory brand in Scotland is tarnished beyond repair. They should now adopt a CDU/CSU type relationship with London, embrace devolution and aim to displace the Labour Party as the main opposition to the SNP. It won’t be done overnight, but they’ve got to believe it is achieveable. Otherwise, why bother?