It must be hard being in the Scottish Conservatives, 20 years of defeat after defeat at the polls.
Kind of makes you wonder if real soul searching has been going on, or they have just privately accepted that they are not relevant.
20 years in the wilderness is pretty hefty, but then voters do punish for a reason.
Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, has rounded on “apologetic” colleagues who have a “sackcloth and ashes” view of the party’s future.
At this point, I have to say in politics, there is a lot of talk about hope and aspiration, personally when I hear that kind of talk, I know a party is bankrupt, the better tomorrow is only a day away, and just out of reach in Scotland.
In politics, people want to know facts, detail as well as vision; if you are saying you are going to do something, it has to be deliverable.
The Tory Party has a tradition, when a leader can’t deliver or is seen to be useless, they get stabbed in the back, Margaret Thatcher and Annabel Goldie found out the hard way.
Ruth Davidson has been the new leader of the Scottish Tories, she has experienced criticism, at present there is hardly a personal test to judge her on; the European election next battle ground isn’t the eastern front at Stalingrad.
And the independence referendum isn’t the test either; as it is cross party and Labour has a more developed role.
The real test of her leadership is in 2015, Westminster election, at that election, she has to produce the goods.
There is one Tory MP in Scotland.
If there were two, it would be used as declaration of success because the magic 100% stat could be used.
But one and one still means two.
The Conservative Conference will be a success for them, usually, party members put on a united front; it’s the same in all parties.
Ruth Davidson says that the Tories need to stop and ditch “the navel gazing” about her role and insists her reforms are starting to reverse “19 years of stagnation”.
You can change the logo, you can do internal reform; and a million and one other issues but at the end of the day, if you can’t connect, it is rather academic.
I know one thing about the Scottish Tories, they lose, they don’t really carry the ordinary people with them.
You may have noticed that recently it has been stormy waters for the last two weeks within the Scottish Conservatives.
Senior party figures have criticised her leadership following her decision to support a policy of handing more powers to the Scottish Parliament.
Ruth Davidson drew a line in the sand, and promptly stepped over it, it seems that lines in the sand; don’t have the same meaning as they once held. In politics it helps to be flexible, but generally if you U turn, if has to be for some good reason and not just because events drag you along.
As to her parliamentary style, it is rather long winded with the emphasis on spinning out a question to keep the cameras on her, it would be better if she was more short and sharper on questions.
After all who wants to be forgetting what the start of the question is or get bored to death, before someone from the ‘cheap seats’ shouts get a move on.
Lord Forsyth, the former Scottish Secretary, described the recent u-turn on more powers as a “suicide mission”.
A tad over dramatic from Michael Forsyth!
Ruth Davidson is seen as the London Tory HQ choice, Prime Minister David Cameron, wants to greater devolution in the party’s next election manifesto.
Recently she said on the criticism:
“What annoys me is that people don’t see or acknowledge the fact that, as a party, we have got our tails up at the moment. We have an issue [the independence referendum] that we can really fight for.”
“No more navel gazing and no more sackcloth and ashes, because sometimes we have been, for me, too apologetic. I am proud of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party. I joined it for a reason. I believe in Conservatism.”
If she was of the opinion that nothing wrong has been done, then she is living in the days of a bygone era.
And it doesn’t bode well for the ‘revival’ that she thinks it is just round the corner, and I suspect that those in her party wouldn’t be rushing out to proclaim that 20 years in the wilderness has now ended.
On the issue of the party debating extending devolution that has been put in the long grass, delegates will not be allowed to debate the issue.
Pro-reform MSPs said the decision by party chiefs was a “missed opportunity” for proper discussion, but Davidson says today she does not want to “preempt” an internal review she has now set up, being led by the Tory peer Lord Strathclyde.
Is Lord Strathclyde going to be selling this on the doors steps of Scotland?
She also says she wants the conference to focus on policy issues such as the economy, education and transport.
One issue that should be on the agenda is the vanity project of the new bridge over the Forth by the SNP Government.
Of the reforms she has been going on about, she says that the reforms she has put in place since taking over from Annabel Goldie a year ago now need time to bed in.
“We have had 19 years of decline and stagnation and it will take time to turn that around.”
However, I don’t think that her thinly-veiled warning to under-performing MSPs is helpful, if people are under-performing, then she should set up a training hub so people could learn politics and possible develop other skills such as commonsense.
But no matter what, the issue of social policies and the lack of empathy is still seen as major problem of the Scottish Conservatives, at one time there were Conservative MPs in Glasgow, then came Thatcher, and there are now no Conservative MPs in Glasgow.
To get a Conservative MP in Glasgow would be something which would rock the entire foundations of Scotland.
I therefore think it is worth remembering the classic line from Sydney Greenstreet in the movie Casablanca:
“To get you out of Casablanca would take a miracle and the Germans have outlawed miracles”!
Is Ruth Davidson seriously suggesting that she can pull off a miracle?
If she can’t, then she better go out and find someone who can, 20 years of decline and voter rejection requires acts of faith by the Conservatives…… in ordinary people.
And that means giving a new vision that people can translate on the ground, no more ‘we will engage with partner agencies’ or any other buzzwords and phrases that end up the same way, people asking for help getting shafted.
The Conservatives bang on about rights and responsibilities, but when you ask for your rights to be enforced, you are treated like you are a totally unreasonable cunt, that has to change.
Ms. Davidson needs to understand, that she has to fix the ‘Westminster problem’, that is the start point, if she botches that bunny; it is then extremely difficult for anything meaningful to happen at Holyrood.
Otherwise, while she starts navel gazing after a few defeats under her belt, the Scottish Conservatives will simply politically stab her in the back and dump her in a ditch.
Politics is like football, the Scottish Conservatives need to enter the transfer market and get a few new sign ins who know how to score goals, then these people can lift the whole team.
However smart mouth doesn’t equal smart brain, they need people persons who will fight their corner for the biggest untapped voting area that they have more or less been excluded from, the working class.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University