Tuesday 3 September 2002

The Scottish Tories - the new "People's Party"?

Nick Johnston was a Tory MSP until last year. Now he calls for voters to kick out some of his former political colleagues. He thinks that the Scottish Tories are too cautious and overly dependent on party bosses in London. Opinion polls suggest that the Tories here will lose many seats in the Holyrood election due next May. Tory leader, David McLetchie, responded to Nick Johnston in the Scotsman the following day. I like David McLetchie and he was correct to remind us of the Tories' role in the shaming and removing from power of the former First Minister, Henry McLeish. Two days later, Iain Macwhirter of the Sunday Herald tells McLetchie: "Face facts David, the Tories are over." Macwhirter, a left-winger, admits that he is impressed by McLetchie's performance as Tory leader in the Scottish parliament:
It is one of the great ironies of devolution that the party which opposed the Scottish parliament has rediscovered itself through participating in it. They have repeatedly exposed the intellectual sloppiness and sloganeering of Labour and shown the importance in democratic politics of being able to mount a coherent case for legislation.
I think that Macwhirter is correct. He recommends a complete break from the London party - and that is how it is seen up here - as well as a name change. I like his suggestion of "The People's Party." Meanwhile, over on the Scotsman, Katie Grant is asking: "Where is Scotland's Mrs. Thatcher?" Ms. Grant is warming to the idea of fiscal autonomy for Scotland as the only way to discipline our spendthrift politicians. I agree. Eight months from now, Scotland votes. Let's have a strong alternative to our numerous socialist parties.