Friday, November 26, 2010

In defence of Tory MSP Annabel Goldie, top Tories demand Scots leadership election in six months; short sighted vision doesn’t solve problems

Dear All

Desperate people do desperate things, for example the Scottish Tories have done a review to try and make them electable.

To that end they have looked at the party’s leadership and structure in Scotland.

You would think that the review by party grandee Lord Sanderson would focus on the real problem, policies.

But it wasn’t really part of the mix.

The current leader of the Scottish Tories is their Holyrood leader Annabel Goldie; she has done what must be considered a great job treading a very fine line of what is called ‘principled opposition’.

Her problem is that she can’t despite the best will in the world build a house without materials and the correct manpower.

In Scotland, it is difficult to name a Tory MSP and what they do if anything.

The ones that come to mind are Annabel Goldie, Murdo Fraser, Bill Aitken and Derek Brownlee.

The rest are pretty much, who, followed by are they?

Sanderson in his report fails to recognise what is the Scottish Tories most prized asset, Annabel Goldie.

Instead he cites need for a replacement of “the weak leadership and governance framework with a streamlined, transparent and accountable structure”.

So; what else is Sanderson up to as well as undermining Annabel Goldie?

Sanderson Recommendations are:

Replace the weak leadership and governance framework
Elect a Scottish leader to have overall responsibility for the party’s performance in Scotland
Develop a clear and distinctive Conservative vision for Scotland
Introduce balloted motions and debate at party conference
Increase support for local associations
Create regional campaign centres staffed by professionals
Recruit a chief policy adviser
Overhaul candidate selection and reform MSP ranking system
Establish a process to identify and develop future party leaders
Contest every local government seat in Scotland

Some of these suggestions I already called for in the party I am a member of.

But no one listens to George Laird, like Sanderson I also wrote a report.

Trying to elect someone is really a professional job and considering that people expect to get an entire country if successful, it beggar’s belief the way that some people carry on.
Of course some people who become Party Candidates and eventually MSPs are unelectable no matter how professional a job can be done on the ground.

The list system is full of people who the public repeatedly reject and in some cases even their own branch rejects as unsuitable.

One such person will become an MSP next year after being rejected by the branch they were a member of.

What is funny is that the Tories are supposed to be smart but the review flags up poor accountability and decision-making.

They have no clear vision for the party’s future and no clear strategy for its delivery; this is because they don’t want to adopt policies that ordinary people want.

It is their vision or nothing!

And the public are saying we will take nothing.

At the General Election the Tories managed to hold on to one seat in Scotland, David Mundell was returned to Westminster.

In Newton Mearns which is affluent the Tories were in with a chance but Richard ‘goofy’ Cook couldn’t do the business, the Tory vote although high wasn’t high enough.

What was Richard Cook and that branch up to for 5 years?

Truth be told; no one knows because everyone in branches wanders about doing their own thing!

Have a read of Cook’s diary:

What are looking for?

A clear strategy, what I see is a series of events which don’t link up.

Although creeping about in the dark leafleting and canvassing serves a purpose, who sees the Tories out and about?

And when other than election time do you see them in sink estates like Pollok, Possil and Easterhouse?

This point is proven in the Sanderson Report when he writes about the operations of constituency associations across the country.

Tories in Scotland are very much an election time only party in some areas, particularly deprived ones.

The Holyrood election 2011 will not bring the Tories any real success, they have nothing to offer.
So, moving swiftly along the knives will be out for Annabel Goldie after that election. Sanderson wants a leadership election should take place directly after the Scottish Parliament elections in May.

The Sanderson Report is titled Building for Scotland “because that is what the Scottish Conservatives must do”.

To build you need the right foundations, the right policies and the right people.

Annabel Goldie is a keystone not just of the Scottish Parliament but of Tory image.

Throwing her on the scrapheap is short term, naïve and plain silly, who could have done better?

No one is the answer, she has done extremely well.

I say this as a plain speaker looking at the facts; she isn’t a lame duck leader by any stretch of the imagination.

She doesn’t have the tools, policies and manpower to do a better job and that isn’t her fault.

To win seats the Tories have to adopt Scottish centre left policies which are more radical that anything previously on offer.

Sanderson got the title of his report wrong, “Building for Scotland because that is what the Scottish Conservatives must do”.

When it should have been ‘Building for the Scottish People because that is what the Scottish Conservatives must do”.

Infrastructure doesn’t vote; people do!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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