Yes, it's true; I am no longer a member of the Conservative party.
I realise of course that readers may be surprised to know that I was a member.
Let me explain.
When I first got interested in politics in the late '60s I went through a leftist phase. That was par for the course in those days. I confess, I was even a Guardian reader for several months. But something didn't quite make sense. To cut a long story short, I discovered the IEA and learned a bit about economics. I joined the Young Conservatives and attended a few meetings. I heard Ted Heath speak!
But as Prime Minister, Heath soon abandoned his free market rhetoric and, fortuitously, at the same time I discovered libertarianism. Now there was a group of people with whom I could associate who really did share my views. Like many other libertarians I did vote for the Tories during the 'eighties as Mrs Thatcher started to reduce the power of the state and created the wealth that the current administration has now almost entirely dissipated. But I was no longer a member.
In 1995 we bought our present residence in Edinburgh with a view to eventually moving up here permanently. I decided that the best way to contact folk who might be sympathetic to the libertarian cause was to join the Conservatives once again. After arriving here I discovered that there were people in Scotland who liked libertarian ideas, and they were by no means necessarily supporters of the Tories. I kept renewing my Conservative subscription each year but when it came to the Holyrood elections last May I switched to the SNP. The main reason was to get Labour out (Yeah!), although I was also influenced by those in the English blogosphere who think that all Scots are welfare junkies and that no-one up here pays any tax. So when I received the latest membership renewal notice in February it seemed a bit odd to subscribe again to a party that I'd recently voted against. (I had voted Tory for the City Council however.)
But then there's the problem discussed endlessly in the blogosphere. Should one vote for Party C because they're not as bad as Party L or should one punish Party C because they are too scared to offer a real alternative to Party L? My continuing but non-active Tory membership indicated that I'd chosen the first option. It seemed the responsible thing to do. But here in Scotland there's also Party S (so to speak). And they are the main local opponents of Party L.
But that's not the only reason that I shredded Ms Goldie.
To be frank, there's only so much nonsense a sensible person can take from Party C. As many others have pointed out, the Tories seem to dread the idea of positioning themselves more than 1% away from Labour. Why do focus groups support much of the status quo? Because the Tories haven't argued for any alternative. Does anyone seriously think that they'd retake British sovereignty? Or abolish the ID Database? Or privatise schools and hospitals? Or sort out the politicians' expense accounts? Of course not.
I've come to the view that we'll just have to wait for the fiat money boom to blow up and for the country to go broke. Hopefully something better will emerge from the resulting chaos. But it's not going to come from the current political class.