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Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The Scottish Conservative Party not only did very badly at the election they were unique in doing badly. The Welsh Conservatives, by comparison, made a significant recovery. The Scots Tories now, admittedly on 17% of the vote, got only 1 seat.

When you consider that all the other sizable parties here are openly very leftist. Labour, SNP & Greens describe themselves as socialist. The LudDims having passed, almost unanimously, motions calling for most of Scots industry to be controlled by political correctness officers with powers to ensure business is managed according to the "expectations" of every leftist "special interest group" are even further from traditional free market liberalism (& arguably sanity). So why don't the Conservatives profit from that.

The common answer is that Scots are inherently leftist but polls on most actual issues show us only about 3% to the left of the UK average. The real elephant in the room has been the SNP whose electoral heartland, the north & east of Scotland is largely where demographics would expect to see Conservative votes. The SNP is led by leftists but largely voted for by natural Tories.That is not so surprising - nationalism has always been a rallying cry for the right while leftists claim internationalism.

The politically correct "left" have, though the media, largely captured the Scottish self image & the Conservatives have done little to stop it. A long series of upper class candidates with anglified accents have not helped, not did Thatcher's very middle England manner. The fact that Gordon brown is quintessentially a dour Scots son of the manse has worked in Labour's favour here where it worked against him elsewhere.

If Cameron, who, as the name makes clear, is of Scots extraction if no more, now faces Clegg & Miliband that may change. I don't think much of Scots Tory leader Annabel Goldie but she is as quintessentially a middle class Scotswomann as Thatcher was English.

My opinion is that to gain ground the Scots Conservatives have to take on the SNP on the nationalism. That cannot be done simply by symbolic flag waving but by taking them on over issues in which they are not serving the national interest.

Specifically the SNP's Luddite but typically politically correct objection to nuclear power will, at best, mean that we will be importing much of our power from England (at worst England will have massive shortages too & will naturally put local customers first). It certainly already means our electricity costs far more than it need.

One of the major policies the SNP went for in the last election was a promise to try to cut Corporation Tax as Ireland had done with remarkable success. I voted for them in the constituency vote for that reason. Since then they have done nothing. Again the Tories not only did nothing but promised nothing.

In the same way the LudDims recently promised they supported cutting Scots income tax, without any costings. As soon as this action prevented the Scottish budget passing the immediately dropped it showing they never meant it in the first place. It is nonetheless a policy that would encourage many of Britain's most enterprising to settle here.

Results over the Labour & SNP governments have shown Scots educational achievements falling below the English ones. This is probably the first time this has been the case since the 15th Century when we had 4 universities & England 2. This should be a matter of shame about which real Scottish nationalists should never be silent.

I believe that if the Conservatives made their strategy to make specific promises of what would give us a growth rate higher than England's they would strike a chord - after all the SNP did. This would cost us some government spending but, considering the amount of waste we have, little real hurt.

This is from my 9% Growth Party election address. I have highlighted things which I think would be particularly useful for bringing our economy ahead of England's & thus making people proud of Scotland. I have asterisked a few I have changed slightly.

1) Stop blackouts. Act before we lose 50% of our electricity.
2) 9% growth using the methods that gave Ireland 7% on average & 10.5% in a good year.
3) Reform planning regulations. In 1907 a house & car cost the same - the difference is that planning regulators restrict housebuilding.
4) Stop subsidising windmills. Save £1 billion.
5) The smoking ban is an illiberal restriction on individual freedom. End it.6) End fuel poverty. France produces 80% nuclear at 1.3p a unit. We can do the same.
7) A needs based transport policy. The previous Executive were committed to spending 70% of their transport budget on public transport (code for railways) though it makes up only 3% of traffic.
8) Tunnels project. Norway built 740km of tunnels at £7 million per km. We should do the same making it a short drive from Glasgow to Dunoon, Rothesay, Kintyre, Jura, Islay & Mull etc.
9) Fully automate Glasgow's subway allowing it to run at lower costs, greater capacity & 24/7.
10) Fully automate the Glasgow-Edinburgh train with the same effect.11) Ultimate aim of a fully automated Scots rail transport system.
*12) 4% cut in civil servants annually. was 2% but the economy has done badly since
*13) 4% government efficiency savings. Almost any private business trys to incresae efficiency at least that much & their is more scope in Holyrood.
*14) Make sure government projects at least come close to making economic sense.
15) 3p cut in Scots income tax after funding of business tax cuts to provide growth.
16) No new politically correct vindictive bans. The smoking ban was NOT in manifestos at the last election.
17) A Holyrood committee to find & abolish counterproductive laws & regulations.
18) A schools vouchers system.
19) Allow schools to impose discipline.20) Make a DVD of Scotland's history & post it to Scots, or those with Scots names, over the world. Include links encouraging Scottish tourism.
21) Establish a £20 million X-Prize to encourage space satelite industry to locate in Scotland.
22) Establish an X-Prize foundation funded from the Scots contribution to the lottery to encourage high technology in Scotland.
23) Widen & improve the M8.
"24) Repeal the law requiring us to destroy 505 of our electricity supplt & thus GNP over the next 10 years. Show a little backbone over the global warming catastrophisy lies
*25) Over 60% of all money spent in Scotland is government money. Cut this.
*26) deleted - to late

The other thing is to get the Scottish budget directly related to our tax receipts. I shall deal with this soon but so long as we have a "needs based" budget payment rather than productivity based one we have a morally debilitating pressure to always demand more.

The final thing the Scots Conservatives have to learn is that they live (at least in Holyrood terms & probably soon in Westminster) in a Parliament where they are never going yo have 51% of MSPs but then neither will they face a total wipeout. The FPTP system encourages parties to fight solely over what is considered the central ground. Under PR parties establish & hopefully extend their niche of support. This also gives them much more space to embrace policies which do not command mass support & to try & sell them. One of the most depressing things about the last Holyrood election was seeing the Tories refusing to offer income tax cutting, serious business tax cuts or new nuclear power & instead making their unique selling point more council houses & more money for drug addicts because this fits closely with what all the other parties consider the consensus. That did not pick up votes from swing voters & actively discouraged their own vote from coming out. Even under FPTP getting your own natural vote out is more effective than picking up opponent's ones - under PR with multiple parties it is much moreso.

And they could do worse than asking Brian Monteith.

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Neil, you wrote this which I think is the heart of your argument on Scottish politics:

The common answer is that Scots are inherently leftist but polls on most actual issues show us only about 3% to the left of the UK average. The real elephant in the room has been the SNP whose electoral heartland, the north & east of Scotland is largely where demographics would expect to see Conservative votes. The SNP is led by leftists but largely voted for by natural Tories.That is not so surprising - nationalism has always been a rallying cry for the right while leftists claim internationalism.

You can claim that such people are only 3% to the left of England, but I think that the Scots in those regions will continue to vote for the Left regardless of what they claim to believe on individual issues. Throughout the past century the one common trait of all national independence and national liberation movements has been leftism. To use Ireland as an example, the Irishmen in the Republic have clearly elected a pro-market, right-wing government, while the papists in Northern Ireland have a long history of voting for the communist aligned Sinn Fein. Despite the large differences in political behavior I would bet that on moral issues both groups of Irishmen would have slightly negative to extremely negative view of abortion, socialism and other left wing stupidity. But since the Left is considered the patron of minorities across the globe the Irishmen seeking union with the Republic vote for the Left.

Another good example of this phenomena would be Vietnam. Under the leadership of the Communists the Vietnamese fought the French, my country and later the Chinese when they invaded. Later, the communist party itself would work to open up Vietnam to capitalism and foreign trade, but only did so once the country was secured against outside powers.

Personally, I think that proportional representation is just a way to circumvent the one big issue that no one is willing to talk about, and that is that the Scots want their independence. Hopefully the current coalition in London fails and Britain is plunged into a horrible constitutional crisis that results in Scotland being cut loose. For England the big risk in Scottish independence is that Scotland will become an ally of Europe and will therefore leave England surrounded militarily. The big risk in independence for Scotland is that the Protestants in Northern Ireland will become your dependents and your military responsibility.

Regardless, I think the only real solution to the whole mess in London is for Scotland to become independent. Once independent, the Scottish state will have to either balance its tax revenues against receipts or else beg for foreign aid.
Ireland is a good example of leftism not commanding the anti-Imperial movement. During the original war for independence left/right politics played virtually no part, possibly partly because Marxists of that era saw industrial workers as the flagbearers of the revolution & they were all in Ulster. Even today the Irish political divide is not between left & right but about whose grandfather shot whose in 1921.

I see the later adoption of "Marxism" by various IRA groupings as more a matter of political fashion than any active belief - as shown by their thoroughly non-Marxist behaviour now they share power. Indeed I think of the "leftism" of independence movements as more being forced into a cold war mould than anything inherent.

Communists, at least since WW1, have seen colonialism as "the last phase of cpitalism" & have thus supported independence movements. For that reason & because the independence movements were largely seeking independence from NATO members the NATO powers tended to align against them. Both sides armed their friends & demanded at least some genuflection towards their political ideas. In Zimbabwe for example, the 2 geurilla leaders were Mugabe ("Marxist") & Nokomo ("moderate"). Previously the Rhodesian whites had run an election which was won by Bishop Muzorewa who was "moderate" enough to please the whites. When his vote collapsed it all went from him to Mugabe. The reason was that both he & Mugabe were of the majority tribe & Nokomo of the other. Left/right politics though the nominal issue had nothing to do with it - it was strictly tribal.

However, as you will see from my post about Ulster Scots I am coming round to favouring independence (though polls show the large majority of Scots don't) for exactly the reasons you give in your last paragraph.
Speaking of Scotland specifically, the problem is that a large percentage of the Scottish electorate professes beliefs that are completely at odds with how they vote. It's worth noting that Canada also has the British disease of a national minority that votes for the Left as a vehicle for independence. The Quebeckers are honest enough to field a pro-independence party, but from what I have read online the major left-of-center party is also a Quebecker front too. So those clueless English speakers in Canada that vote for the leftist party just end up voting to subsidize Quebec instead of benefiting themselves.

I think in the case of both Canada and Britain the real question is whether the national minority will secede or be expelled. A failed coalition government would probably precipitate the crisis that could destroy the United Kingdom.

Back to my question, do you think that Northern Ireland will become Hollyrood's responsibility in the event of a breakup?
The above post was from Ronduck
I don't know the Quebec political scene but I suspect what has happened is that politics there, like much of ours, revolves around promising to extract more money from the central government rather than running a wealth creating society. If so "leftist" parties are naturally ideologically better placed for begging for government money. That would explain why the 2 parties vie to be in that position.

The seccession/expulsion option is what happened to Czechoslovakia. The Solvak communists metamotphised into Slovak nationalists threatening indepedence if they didn't get more money from the richer Czechs. The Czechs held the door open for them & bid them good-day though a referendum for separation would probably have failed in both parts.

A successful coalition government will certainly cause calls for seccession here because with only 1 Scots Conservative MP we have little influence. We may see Scots Labour MPs turning nationalist. I am certain that the Scots as a whole do not want separation (& don't think the English yet do either) but if we cannot get an agreed & relatively unbiased way of dividing the tax money & spending it may be culturally better for us to split.

I don't think there is any chance we would take Northern Ireland. The Catholic 40% would be unalterably opposed; since we have histories of separate government & no land link I don't see the Protestants wanting it; & since it is an economic basket case I am certain Scotland wouldn't. Theoretically Eire claims it as their unredeemed territory & they are now richer than us but I don't think even they really want it.
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