A mixture of Scottish and American guests enjoyed a talk given by Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary. This was followed by an address from Jamie McGrigor MSP, Deputy Spokesman on Rural Development for the Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament.
Congressman Sensenbrenner talked about terrorism and emphasised President Bush’s determination to deal with it vigorously.
There was an interesting split among the Scottish guests. Some thought that devolution was a disaster that would lead to more and more socialism while others sought full fiscal responsibility for the Scottish parliament as a way of making politicians face up to financial realities. Despite the domination of Labour in Scottish politics it should be noted that the Conservatives are the only party ever to have won more than 50% of the vote in a Scottish election since the war. A satisfactory settlement of the “national question” may well lead to a return of former Conservative voters from the SNP which is strong in many rural areas, small towns and suburbs.