Monday, July 24, 2017

Don’t stick all your eggs in one basket, if you drop it you will be rather unhappy, frustrated Ruth Davidson challenges May Government to lead or lose, the problem with shouting the odds is that it can all turn bad, Scottish Conservatives did well 2017 because they got ‘votes on loan’, they aren’t standing on bedrock by any means

Dear All

If you have learned anything about politics over the last few years, you will know one thing about what is happening in Scotland; everything is up in the air. You can take nothing for granted and huge success can turn easily into epic disaster. 2015, the SNP using the tidal wave of indyref took 56 seats at Westminster, it was a reaction to defeat, no sooner had the SNP settled into the Commons, they started making an arse of themselves, which translated in 2017 into losing 21 seats.

The public is fickle.

2015 vote for the SNP was an emotional vote, after all how can you explain massive voter drops like 9,000 etc in seats, you could be tempted to say that the opposition had ran a great campaign but in the main that wouldn’t be accurate as luck certainly played a part, and also the weather.

It is said that Ruth Davidson is leading a Scottish Conservative power surge at Westminster. Firstly, she isn’t an MP so isn’t leading anything, she doesn’t have a vote, it is true she can claim credit for the wins, but, the public is fickle. The Scottish Conservatives were given an opportunity, an opportunity by Unionist voters who traditionally voted for other parties.

Those votes are on loan.

If she thinks that Theresa May needs to start winning the battle of ideas, then it seems to me at least that if there is a battle, there by definition needs to be troops.

Ruth Davidson has 13 troops, two of whom, I helped get into Westminster in a relatively minor way, Paul Masterton and Bill Grant. So, Theresa May made a mistake, but the mistake wasn’t just down to her, it was a team effort down the road, with the Conservatives having a 20 point lead, they thought that they would win a huge majority.

The public is fickle.

If you remember my back posts, I said, I didn’t understand the logic of going again, to me it seemed a silly thing to do, why have a fight with someone you don’t have to, and for little gain and much risk.

If, I was Ruth Davidson, I don’t think I would be warning Theresa May's lieutenants that the Prime Minister owes her position in Downing Street to the party's resurgence in Scotland. This makes her a hostage to fortune, because if there is an upset, the entire blame rests at her feet.

And once you nail you colours to the mast, you make a rod for your own back, I have to say her statement of her urging May to "lead or lose" is rather odd, it certainly isn’t what I would be saying either in private or in public. The Scottish Tory leader is arguing that “capitalism needs a reboot”, that might be a trendy thing to say but there are also other issues which do so as well, and they are equally as pressing.

Davidson is said to be keen to use her influence to direct Tory policy towards a more socially liberal approach, a softer, "open Brexit" and policies that address directly the concerns of younger voters. Corbyn managed to get the young vote in large numbers for Labour down south.

If we are talking about a socially liberal approach, then by definition the place to start must be the DWP and how they treat people. As to a softer, "open Brexit", if that in any way detracts from leaving the EU or hanging on to policies like the disaster that is freedom of movement, that will be not acceptable to the British people. A majority voted to leave the EU, to take back control of our laws and to restore social cohesion which has been badly damaged not just in the UK but also in the rest of Europe.

Some times being a leader means you need to stand back and be a team player which is essential and also learn to not shout the odds because sometimes things don’t need to be said.  

This comment should be remembered from a well-placed insider, they said:

“We met Gavin Barwell,[the PM’s Chief of Staff in No 10], and made clear to him that if it wasn’t for the Scottish Conservatives, Theresa May wouldn’t have a majority.”

Technically that is true, it is also true that the Scottish Conservatives wouldn’t have a great result if it wasn’t for the assistance given to them by others and also the failures of Kezia Dugdale’s leadership.

I assume we all know that bunny?

What I find funny is that the group of Scottish Conservative MPs would not seek to bring the Government down and would loyally take the Tory whip because they wanted to see Mrs May continue as PM “at least until the Brexit deal is done”.

Think back to the arrogance of 2015, the SNP thought at that point they were the new establishment, two years later the World had turned, who is to say that after Brexit and if there is a new election the 13 Scottish MPs would get returned again?

Their position isn’t secure by any means.

It is true to say that the public don’t like weak government which is why the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon is doing so badly, so Ruth Davidson saying the May Government "has to actually lead" if it wanted to survive isn’t specific to the Conservatives.

Some time ago, I said that Ruth Davidson has her eyes firmly fixed on Holyrood and was wanting to replace Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister at the 2021 Scottish elections.

At present, this is wishful thinking, if you were to say anything about what the possible outcome of 2021 at this juncture you would have to go with hung parliament, certainly not a win for Ruth Davidson. The Unionist card played well for the Scottish Conservatives but they need an emotional response by voters to get their 13 MPs in the door down the road.

Can the Unionist card be used again in 2021 with success?

As to Ruth Davidson being a potential replacement down the road for the Conservative Party, a sunny day doesn’t make a summer, there is a long way to go before anyone, especially the ‘men in grey suits’ sit down to discuss her future. Apparently, there are senior Conservatives who believe Ruth Davidson is just what the UK party needs to boost its chances of victory at the 2022 General Election. Maybe these senior Conservatives should pay a lot more attention to what happened to the SNP and how success turned so quickly to disaster in about two years.

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Auld Jock said...

Hello George

Right on the nail as ever. Ms Davidson has clearly allowed herself to be persuaded by her admirers that she has single handedly turned things around for the tories in Scotland and saved the government from a disaster of it's own making. All she has actually done is profit from a backlash against la sturgeon. She may continue to do that in the future. However, as you rightly point out, she can take nothing for granted.

It appears to me that there is very wide spread public discontent across the Western world and the long established political models may be modified or even swept away. I think there is likely to be unprecedented turmoil and uncertainty for some time to come,

Happily, here in the UK, we are better placed than many to ride out the storm. God bless the English channel.

Auld Jock

Aldo said...

May needs to get us out of Europe while keeping the UK together. Once she does that, she can hand over to a competent successor (hopefully David Davis), and this should place the Tories in a strong position heading into the next GE. Ruth Davidson's role in all this is clearly defined - help May achieve all of the above while continuing to run rings around the SNP. I like Ruth but she needs to keep a level head and not make things hot for her own party.