4 November 2011

Where now for the Scottish Tories?

The news that David Cameron's candidate has won the Leadership of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party could prove a watershed for the party and Scottish politics.

For the best part of a quarter of century the Tories have been considered toxic in Scotland - and part of the Lib Dems current struggle north of the border is simply our association with them in coalition at Westminster - a body increasingly marginal to the lives of most Scots.

Over the years the Tories have tried almost everything to re-establish themselves - more right wing policies, less right wing policies, blank sheets of paper and open policy making, supporting Alex Salmond and the SNP, opposing Alex Salmond and the SNP and none of it has worked.

Ruth Davidson represents more of this same headless chickenry - running around hoping that they randomly stumble across a game changer. Murdo Fraser at least recognised that a strategic rethink was required - even if he didn't communicate how a new Scottish right of centre party that took the Westminster Tory whip would (and could) be considered any different from the current arrangement.

But from what I hear his defeat has left those who want to try a radically different strategy disillusioned and with little hope of ever winning the argument in the confines of the current Scottish Tory straightjacket.

Cicero - who I had a pleasant, albeit brief lunch with earlier this week, in an interesting post, reckons this could be the end of the once great Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. Whatever the outcome - politics north of the border is set to get even more interesting.

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