Monday, August 17, 2015

Scottish Conservatives in Crisis, Ruth Davidson failed her first test of leadership in Westminster 2015 election, no gains in seats; add to that the Conservative share of the vote fell, now her Chief of Staff quits, Scotland is crying out for a centre right alternative to the SNP, but they aren’t looking to Ruth Davidson

Dear All

Politics has been not very interesting since the Westminster 2015 election despite a spat of recent by-elections, they produced no surprise winners.

In the Westminster 2015 election, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson badly lost in her first major test of campaigning, the Euro election generate no real data because of the low number of seats, it wasn’t worth considering it as a test of her leadership.

One MEP was returned, Ian Duncan, I thought he would do well given his background and interest in the fishing industry. The Scottish Conservatives ran a rather low key affair of a Westminster election politically; it was rather dull, the campaign centred on Ruth Davidson. 

It looked like an advert to build her personal profile rather than any serious attempt to win seats.

And less we forget, despite high hopes, the Scottish Tories failed to make progress at the election, their vote share fell from 16.7 to 14.9 per cent. I didn’t think they would win any new seats and they didn’t, the campaign was a failure, it was also a benchmark of failing her first real test of leadership.

In politics, it helps to make progress, but you can only make progress if you have something to offer the voters. Ruth Davidson had nothing to offer and in return she got nothing, except slippage of the vote. So, that’s a lost, and when you keep losing, your position becomes untenable because the men in the grey suits wants results; and the Conservatives have a track record of getting rid of leaders who fail to shine. 

Annabel Goldie’s leadership was mostly steady and she did ‘hold the fort’ rather well, but that isn’t progress.

In 2016, there will be the Holyrood election, already it has been announced that Ruth Davidson is abandoning Glasgow to shift over to Edinburgh to live, this is said to because Glasgow can only elect one list MSP and in the Lothian area there is a chance of two seats being up for grabs.

And she might not get elected on the Glasgow list.

After deciding to seek life elsewhere, this prompted some people to use the “carpet-bagging”, I think I even used this myself when she was on the list to try and be an MP in the Bromsgrove seat of Julie Kirkpatrick down in England. An expenses scandal prompted Julie Kirkpatrick to leave politics after it made national headlines.

Anyway, to move on, it transpires that Ruth Davidson has lost a key aide ahead of the 2016 elections. It seems that her Chief of staff Lindsay McCallum unexpectedly quit, apparently there are rumours of unhappiness and a rift with Davidson. It seems that Lindsay McCallum was supposed to be a future party high-flier, to show how well in with the bricks she was, she stood in the Ross, Skye and Lochaber seat. In politics, main parties sometimes put people in seats where they have no chance to see how well they do and perform before they get a chance at a possibly electable seat.

In post less than a year, standing for election and baling out, all seems rather dramatic, especially when one bright spark Tory MSP said:

 “I heard there had been a furious bust-up with Ruth.”

McCallum said her decision to go had been a “personal choice”.

Same for everyone else dear!

McCallum said:

“I wish Ruth well. I hope that the party increases its MSPs next year. I think they have a good opportunity and Ruth is a good leader.”

Presumably she said this without the benefit of looking at polling. Given the drop in share of the vote at Westminster 2015, how exactly did she arrive at ‘good opportunity’?

If going backwards represents a ‘good opportunity’ what does increasing the vote mean?

I only ask in my search to understand the logic given recent events.

A Tory spokesman said the departure had been “amicable”, adding:

“There has been a restructuring of the office and as part of that Lindsay is no longer employed.”

Quite so ma’am!

“I heard there had been a furious bust-up with Ruth.”

Recently, I was talking to someone who said to me that there was a ‘strategic disengagement’ going on by the Westminster Conservative government in regards to Scotland. An example of this is EVEL, English Votes for English Laws, which is wrong, as it will be bad for England and its people, not to have a Scottish voice being heard in drafting and voting on legislation is a weakness. Of course, the SNP bring absolutely nothing to the table when you look at their catalogue of failure of 8 years.

Policy replaced by spin, hype and short term gain, a party of protest but not of Government.

If there is a ‘strategic disengagement’, it may also be happening in the Scottish Conservatives by Ruth Davidson giving up Glasgow to head to presumably a better situation.

I hope that the Holyrood election for the Conservatives isn’t a re-run of Ruth Davidson using it as a platform for raising her profile. If she does, she may find that her leadership and judgement will be called into question.

And then the hunt will be on for a new leader of the Scottish Conservatives which would have to include a commitment to seeing all Conservatives policies to be re-written.

Scotland needs a new strong centre right party to take on the Nationalists, led a new type of leader who is able to bridge the gap and make people believe in a new future.

The low turns outs in by-elections clearly show this is the case.

If there is no improvement in Holyrood 2016 than Ruth Davidson is damaged goods, you can only coast for so long before too many people notice.

The vote share fell from 16.7 to 14.9 per cent so even her own supporters are disenfranchised with her leadership.

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University  


Anonymous said...

nice but a bit twee Georgieboy


G Laird said...

HI Crookie

Floating the notion that the Conservatives need to change rather dramatically to cope with the new challenges they face.

Also know some Conservatives so didn't want to make it too harsh.