The Scottish Conservatives have squandered a golden opportunity to re-shape Scottish politics and address their decline in fortunes by opting for the newly elected MSP Ruth Davidson. The timorous beasties that bothered to vote (35% did not) in the end opted for pseudo-modernisation instead of embracing real change offered by Murdo Fraser.
Despite her non-traditional lifestyle, Davidson is a Tory traditionalist on the constitution: she opposes further powers for Holyrood and sees the Scotland Bill very much as thus far and no further. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.
I’ve previously commented on the opportunities open to the Scottish Liberal Democrats in the likely event of a Scottish Tory civil war. After all, Ruth Davidson only has the backing of two MSPs with the majority of her parliamentary colleagues having supported Murdo’s vision of a new Scottish centre-right force.
It is unmistakable that most Scots want additional powers for their parliament yet a Ruth Davidson led Conservative grouping still doesn’t get Scotland – despite any nice re-branding that may take place.
The Scottish Tories may have missed an open goal but the Lib Dems should not. The Home Rule Commission headed by Sir Menzies Campbell offers an exciting opportunity to demonstrate that on Scotland’s constitutional future post-Calman, we speak for the aspirations of Scots. A seriously beefed-up parliament with the ability to raise the money it spends would go some way to curtailing the politics of soggy socialism and state-funded freebies that have characterised devolution.
“The Scottish Liberal Democrats are not “Socialism Lite”, and never have been, even if many Socialists were prepared to lend us their votes. We are a radical free market party, that nonetheless believes in corporate social responsibility. There are many economic positions that the Liberal Democrats share with many Conservatives. Where we parted company from the Tories was in our profound belief in Home Rule…
Whether Murdo Fraser achieves the leadership of the Tories tomorrow or not, in a way he has already scored a victory: he is putting forward the possibility of a positive Scottish Federalism- and that is something that the Scottish Liberal Democrats can only view with satisfaction: Murdo, it may have taken a long time, but at last you are with us.
A Federalist bloc of Liberals and those Reformers who want to jump the walls of the Unionist Tory prison may yet be able to lead Scotland away from both dead Socialism and dead-end Separatism and create a better nation: both for Scotland and for Britain.”
Scottish politics just got exciting.