Thursday, March 08, 2007

With friends like these...

The capacity of the Scottish Tories to self-destruct never ceases to amaze. After the wipe-out of 1997; David McLetchie's little confusions over expenses; Annabell Goldie's reluctant leadership and persistant attempts by a grassroots minority to throw the current MSP group overboard; it was difficult, although by no means impossible, to see how they could slip any further.

With an election coming up, the party high-heidyins must have been praying that everyone would just stick to the script and stay gaffe-free until polling day. The last person they would have been expecting to pull the plug on their campaign would have been Shadow Scottish Secretary, David Mundell MP. Alas, on the eve of their Scottish Conference, the Daily Record (I feel nauseous linking to this) has obtained a memo sent by Mundell to party leader David Cameron, which contains a damning assessment of his erstwhile Holyrood colleagues.

According to Mundell, the MSP group suffers from a "simple lack of thinkers". They are 'incapable of coming up with new policies', while "there are more obvious problems than solutions emanating from Scotland from a party point of view." The replacement of Scottish party chairman Peter Duncan should be an "immediate priority". And while "key personnel need to be identified to take on strategic roles...nobody obviously comes to mind".

With friends like these... there are conflicting views amongst Tory bloggers, with Ian Dale supportive, while Conservative Home demands his head on a stick. I think if I were a Tory activist, though, I'd be arranging my holidays to coincide with the elections so I could be as far away as possible from the impending carnage in May.

There's a place for a party of the centre-right in Scotland - but the prospects of anyone being able to hew it from the rotten timbers of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party now look not so much slim as positively skeletal. Independence and cutting the apron strings to the party in London must now be their only hope for recovery.

UPDATE - Widespread praise in the canteen for Annabell Goldie's riposte to Jack McConnell's use of the above memo at First Minister's Questions. 'At least, First Minister, my party's internal memos don't end up being scrutinised by Scotland Yard'.

Splat! Who said that Holyrood had banned bloodsports? :-)


Mr Eugenides said...

Oh, yes, very good. I'll nick that little item, if you don't mind (suitably attributed, of course...)

Richard Thomson said...

Not in the least. Loved the John Reid txt msg, btw.

Iain said...

yes the response to Joke McConnell was good...did you notice how long it took his little brain to realise what she meant and then he went pale.

Honestly, the lack of brain cells is of course one of the key selection criteria for the Labour party, particularly councillors. - you know it makes sense!

Ewan Watt said...

Still, nobody can say he's wrong. I'm conservative and it's never crossed my mind to vote for the Tories at the next election.

As for AG's retort - great stuff. I don't think Jack is smart enough to realise what she's talking about.

Richard Thomson said...

I agree, Ewan - I think Mundell's assessment was bang on the money, although quite how he reconciles these views with his own contribution to the MSP group he left barely a year and a half ago remains to be seen.

Murdo Fraser, the MSP often touted as being 'most likely to', brought out his 'Blue Book' on the future of Scottish Conservatism a few months ago. All I can say is, God help the Scottish Tories if the scribblers of that hotch-potch of sub-standard grade essays represent the future for their party.

Oh to be a fly on the wall in Perth this weekend.