Friday, December 3, 2010

Annabel Goldie seeks re-election as Scots Tory leader, policy connection with voters is the only way to keep the 'nest of vipers' in their box

Dear All

Everyone loves a fighter, especially when the person is an underdog facing vastly superior forces.

That is why Rocky was such a hit.

Annabel Goldie is an old dear who has managed to steer the poisonous Scottish Tories through the Scottish Parliament with little bits of success here and there.

Truth be told, it is a remarkable performance given she hadn’t much in the way of talent sitting behind her.

Or policies!

Or ideas!

Or the ability to connect to ordinary people!

And the Tories run shit campaigns.

It is rather like someone coming to a high powered meeting and when asked what they are bringing to the table they hold up a wooden spoon.

Annabel Goldie is planning to seek re-election as leader of the Scottish Tories next May.

She has been forced into this unhappy situation not because an heir apparent is waiting in the wings but in order to shore up her position in the party.

Senior Tories in the shadows have been muttering about the weak leadership and lack of success at the ballot box.

At the Westminster 2010 election only one Tory MP was elected in Scotland, the bill for fighting that contest was £1.3 million.

£1.3 million is an expensive price to get only one person elected, in this case David Mundell, who was a sitting tenant anyway.

Goldie has told friends she intends to stand in an internal leadership contest but other than rallying around the flag what will this accomplish?

Not much, it would be business as usual with the same old policies that are rejected time and time again.

This is tactic to quash damaging criticism of her party’s electoral failures to date, and quell speculation about her future.

The Sanderson Report of last week showed that she has no future as leader and even if she wins she is still a caretaker leader.

A commission led by Lord Sanderson called for a root-and-branch reform of the Scottish party but Sanderson Report doesn’t acknowledge the elephant in the room.

And it is hard to miss the elephant is called ‘policy’.
The Tories had swings across the rest of the UK due to the unpopularity of the Labour Party and Gordon Brown; in fact the Gillian Duffy episode probably destroyed a good portion of the Labour vote.

Sanderson in his report says the Scottish party had no clear vision for the future; this is because of the type of people they attract who are disconnected from ordinary people’s wants and aspiration.

76 recommendations for reviving party fortunes and not one addresses policy change.

If the public don’t buy it don’t sell it.

Seems simples enough!

Other parties are claiming Annabel Goldie is now a “lame duck” but to be fair there are a lot of ducks sitting in Holyrood across the spectrum.

The question isn’t that she is a lame duck but is there a hunter who is prepared to shoot her as she is flying through the air?

Three names of possible hunters are mentioned as taking her crown, MSP Jackson Carlaw, former MP Peter Duncan and Murdo Fraser.

Jackson Carlaw, no chance!

Peter Duncan looks like a clone of a supermarket manager and with less sparkle.

Murdo Fraser, possible, has a recognisable name as a spokesman but the charm of an oily snake oil salesman.

I look at him and think:

Ohhhhhhhhh he is a weeeeee shite!

So, Annabel Goldie has two major fights, Holyrood 2011 and the fight from her own party who have the knives out.

I can recommend several Errol Flynn movies, Captain Blood, the Sea Hawk and Robin Hood, Goldie needs big screen panache accompanied by the music of Ernest Wolfgang Korngold.

She is only going to get one shot in the leadership contest and her campaign should be about policy, radical centre left policy.

In the archery contest in Robin Hood (1938), the opposition hits the centre of the target, Errol Flynn steps and splits the arrow.

She needs a strategy that goes well beyond a leadership contest; she needs policy that splits the opposition’s arrows.

She needs George Laird type thinking.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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