Sunday 19 January 2003

A challenge for Scottish Tories?

The Sunday Herald writes about the recently formed "New Party", which now wants to rebrand itself because of associations with Oswald Mosley's 1930s party of the same name. Its leader:
argues for martial law to be imposed, with the army running health, schools and transport, and plans to scrap the Scottish parliament.
At the UK level, the party:
wants to slash the size of government and the role of local councils, with taxation 'greatly reduced', particularly for business, and personal tax made more progressive.
With calls for the militarisation of health, schools and transport as well as more "progressive" personal taxation, it should be clear to all that the New Party is no friend of liberty. A half-competent Conservative party should have no problem against such a challenge.

But the Tories do have a problem in Scotland. This letter sums it up well:

Your article ‘Taxi for McLetchie?’ (Agenda, January 12) is right to suggest that the Scottish Conservative Party is seen as an English party. This, coupled with any reference to the Union, is a turn-off for many people. Scottish Tories need to get back to their Jacobite roots and that means becoming a party for Scotland and the people of Scotland. I believe severing links with the UK party would be a good start.

Given political independence, Scottish Tories would be free to set their own radical agenda. Ideas such as commitment to a federal Britain or Scottish independence would be vote-winners.

I have no doubt that most of the Scottish people support the existence of a Scottish parliament, despite the record of the current regime. Calling for the scrapping of the Scottish parliament would win some votes for the New Party, but only a small minority, and the same applies to the Conservatives. The Scottish Tories should break away from their English colleagues and concentrate on policies of liberty: low taxation, deregulation of business and an end to the nanny state.