Wednesday 25 September 2002

Scottish Tories

Do the Tories have a death wish?

Ashraf Anjum has recruited a large number of new Conservative party members, mainly fellow Asians, seemingly in an attempt to improve his chances of getting into the Scottish Parliament by gaining a high position in the Tory party list. Long-standing candidates are upset, but Mr Anjum hasn't broken party rules. Indeed, some have suggested that all would-be candidates should be obliged to recruit a minimum number of new party members. That seems a good idea. The Tories held a meeting to sort things out. Some of the existing candidates had threatened to resign but received a message from their leader, David McLetchie:

At the meeting on Monday night, Mr McLetchie made it clear to the candidates that if they resigned the "full force" of the party machinery would be brought down upon them. It is understood that he made it clear that they would open themselves up to charges of racism if they stood down - and this was something the party would not tolerate.
This is unbelievable. Candidates can't resign without being accused of racism! It's hardly surprising that:
some of the candidates at the meeting felt "shell-shocked" with the way they were treated by the party leadership.