Hey everyone Today, as we all reflect on David Cameron’s speech in defence of what he called the ‘brave, brilliant buccaneering United Kingdom. I am happy to announce tartantights has our first guest post which not only challenges Mr Cameron’s view that we are better together, it actually calls on to Scottish Conservatives to embrace
the idea of an independent Scotland.
Whilst this is not an idea you will hear every day it is certainly one worth listening to and which voters of a centre right persuasion should consider carefully. especially when it is being articulated by a former chairman of the Scottish Conservative Candidates Association. Yes that was the position once held by a man of principle who defected to the SNP in 1986 over the steel closures issues. So it is with great pleasure that I hand over to Iain Lawson to explain why
Conservatives should not be afraid of Independence
So far the Independence debate has concentrated on SNP and Labour voters being the key electoral groups where support for a YES vote can be secured. This is natural as these two groups form the vast majority of the electorate but I believe Independence also offers a much more exciting prospect to those remaining centre right voters in Scotland. I use the word “remaining” as the centre right vote in Scotland is hopelessly depressed and has been in this condition for several decades.
As somebody who was the Chairman of the Conservative Parliamentary Candidates Association in Scotland in the early 1980’s before I left the Party over the steel closures I can see Independence offering a path to those on the centre right for electoral progress however I think there are a number of steps that would need to be taken for this to happen.
The first step would be to completely drop the Conservative and Unionist tag. It is a toxic title, too many years of accepting policy directed from London, even when it was clearly damaging to Scotland, has left a toxic anti Scottish legacy that has been impossible to overcome (not that the current Conservatives in Scotland have really tried). Murdo Fraser, to be fair, tried to come up with a more pro Scottish agenda, but the membership of the Party, albeit narrowly, rejected his proposals. I am sure there would be a greater willingness to change in the light of a newly Independent Scotland.
The second major step would be for the new centre right Party to become wholly constructive and pro Scotland. The Independence debate often offers comparisons with other small North European nations and there are several very good examples of centre right policies being employed in some of these countries that have been successful.
A new Government in Scotland will be required and it is important that Scotland has a variety of political parties offering a range of constructive policies and ideas for the future. Freed from the existing and archaic tax system of the UK a centre right party might wish to argue for a Flat Tax System. popular policies like free internet access for all homes where at least one child under sixteen is still in school, more use of technology like they do in other countries where citizen entitlement cards and the modern use of IT systems reduce the need to ever visit a civil servant . Where, if you move home, one entry of your new details into the system and every file held in your name, by every government department, the health system, even the main utilities is all updated immediately.
I, like many others I am sure, have always had difficulty with the Left\Right categories in politics. I support policies on both sides of the classification. I like good ideas and I have been around long enough to recognise they can come from people and parties across the political spectrum. I know good democracy also relies on a wide spectrum of political views being available for debate and I would hope to see a stronger centre right in our new Scotland.
I believe there is room for that development, the centre right is depressed because the current crop of Conservatives have followed a weak leadership that is dominated by Westminster events and policies and has constantly tried to defend the indefensible at the expense of never realising the potential centre right support in Scotland. For that reason any new centre right Party cannot be just a quick change of name with the current Conservative Party dominating the new party. Of course many would join and should be welcome but it would have to attract others, including some from other parties and none, if it was to become successful.
Finally, to finish on a controversial note, what should the new Party be called? If I was choosing, I would go for the Scottish Progressive Party and I would seek to develop a party that argued for high growth, fair taxes and which encouraged business development. Above all I would seek to make it constructive and positive about the future and very, very, pro Scotland.