Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Scottish independence: senior Conservatives in London criticise Alistair Darling for not using enough force in his case to save the Union, he is doing a marvelous job; he has the wits to step back when Alex Salmond and unpopular Nicola Sturgeon are burying themselves

Dear All

The Former Labour Chancellor Alistair Dearling is having a simply marvelous Scottish independence campaign.

That is a fact, he has gravitas.

Compared to him, Alex Salmond and unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon are clearly second division players in a Premier league.

However, not everyone is happy with Alistair Darling doing such as good job, some senior Conservatives have labelled Alistair Darling as “comatose”.

It is called having a light touch, latest opinion poll put independence support at 27%, every poll has seen no movement towards the Nationalists whose campaign has been an epic disappointment not just to the public but among their own supporters.

SNP activists must be absolutely gutted how inept and amateurish this has been.

But senior Conservatives are quoted in a report by the Financial Times slamming the way the Better Together campaign has been run.

One senior Tory figure said:

“The man has never run a campaign. He is comatose most of the time.”

This unhappiness raises an interesting question, who would be a better choice?

David Cameron?

Ruth Davidson?

Johann Lamont?

These three are immediate names that come to mind.

Cameron wouldn’t debate, Davidson isn’t experienced and Lamont isn’t a good public speaker.

Do the Conservatives therefore want a Conservative fronting the campaign, how about Michael Gove? You don’t have to know anything much about Gove to automatically dislike him intensely.

How about Boris Johnson?

The facts of the case are these, the Conservative Party in Scotland is a toxic party, they have one single MP at Westminster, in the previous parliament; they had one single MP. However there has been a ‘big change’ with the appointment of Ruth Davidson but that will probably result in them having a single MP in 2015. Davidson is seen as London’s preferred candidate for leader at Holyrood. Since she has taken over, the Tories haven’t made a breakthrough or any real headway; the Scottish Tories just follow London’s lead.   

A Downing Street source describes Alistair Darling as a “dreary figurehead” for such an important campaign.

Has the all singing and all dancing, Alex Salmond made any difference to the Nationalist fortunes at the polls?


In a hurried damage limitation exercise this morning, Number 10 quickly dismissed the anti Darling claims, saying the criticism was “completely untrue” and “100% not the case”.

There is a reason why Labour is the main opponent against Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, people in Scotland hate the Tories; their brand is so toxic, that turning it around is one of the biggest challenges in Scottish politics.

So far the current leadership has failed and it will keep on failing, why the party is seen as the ‘fuck the Scottish working class’ party.

Ruth Davidson never stood up for Scots against the bedroom tax, Ruth Davidson never stood up for Scots against the bedroom tax.

I know, I wrote that twice, but you should remember, Alex Johnstone Conservative MSP highlights to me that you can be a rich farmer and still not give a fuck about the poor, he is doing alright, the Johnstone family can get EU subsidies for their farm, 

God bless their cotton socks!

In trying to drive a wedge, the reports of unhappiness where seized on by the pro-independence side as evidence. Evidence that the cross-party pro-UK effort was divided over what is the best strategy!

One thing that won’t work is putting a Tory in charge to front the campaign; everyone already decided that would be a disaster.

The right choice was made and Tory figures should be backing Alistair Darling’s appointment to the hilt, he is the head of the Better Together campaign for good reason. You can’t have anyone but a senior Labour figure leading the pro-UK run in Scotland.

Some Conservative figures in London say that their backing has now been withdrawn because Darling has not been attacking the pro-independence case with enough force.

Who cares?

The Labour Party hit back at the ill judged attack, suggesting Conservative attacks were motivated by party political concerns which seems reasonable to conclude, do the Conservatives really think that 30 years in the wilderness can be turned around by Ruth Davidson who slavishly dances to London’s tune?

No, no, and no!

A member of the shadow cabinet said of the outburst:

“They are playing with dynamite playing with Alistair like this. This is not some political game; this is the future of the union.”

The fight for Scottish independence is between the SNP and Scottish Labour, everyone else is a minor player, senior Conservatives in Scotland aren’t part of the equation, Murdo Fraser who stood for the leadership of the party was right, the Conservatives need to disband and set up a new party, leaving some of their attitudes to the working class behind.

Labour MP Alistair Darling has done an incredible job, he has gravitas, he has pitch and he has experience; if the Conservatives in London can’t understand that simple concept then they should remember, Labour has a track record of winning, something that the Scottish Tories can’t point to especially in Glasgow.

No Conservative MPs, no FPTP post MSPs, one list MSP and one councilor, an aging party, no real traction, and despite having London’s choice at the helm, Ruth Davidson hasn’t really achieved any meaningful success.

56 per cent of Scots intend to vote No to independence; 17 per cent are undecided. That is the success that Alistair Darling has achieved by his careful handling of the Better Together Campaign.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

No comments: