Shame on Scottish Tories for Their Vicy Sell-Out

By Warner, Gerald | The Spectator, April 12, 2008 | Go to article overview

Shame on Scottish Tories for Their Vicy Sell-Out


Warner, Gerald, The Spectator


The Scottish Play has degenerated into a farce and the indigenous Tories have lost the plot. When the constitutional future of the United Kingdom moved centrestage in late 2007, Unionists were heartened by the deftness of touch David Cameron brought to this issue. It contrasted with the directionless drift of his supposed allies in the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party, which is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Scottish separatist tendency.

The Scottish Tories have gone native. In the run-up to the devolution referendum on 11 September 1997, they proclaimed vociferously that the creation of a devolved parliament would end civilisation as we had known it. By 12 September, in the immediate wake of the success of the devolutionist campaign, Armageddon was magically transformed into the 'settled will of the Scottish people' and a welcome reform in which the Scottish Conservatives would enthusiastically participate.

Conversions do not come any more Damascene. A strong incentive was supplied by the voting system created for the Scottish parliament. Of the 129 places at Holyrood, 73 are directly elected constituency seats on the Westminster model, but 56 are so-called 'regional' seats, allocated to parties under the D'Hondt system of proportional representation, with Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) appointed off closed lists by party leaders.

So, when the Tories failed to win any constituency seats at the first Scottish election in 1999 but were compensated with 18 list seats, these unelectables quickly recognised a system under which they could prosper. Soon they were enjoying the salaries and allowances (only a complete duffer could fail to earn at least £100,000 a year from Holyrood's generous provision) and even queuing up to collect the medals that MSPs modestly awarded themselves at the inauguration of the parliament.

From that beginning, Tory MSPs have bedded in comfortably. It was a symptom of their successful acclimatisation to the political dependency culture that party leader David McLetchie had to resign when his travel expenses, largely consisting of taxi fares, were found to have exceeded £11,000. His successor, Annabel Goldie, has expanded collaboration with the enemy to Vichy proportions.

'I think my vision of Conservatism is largely moulded by a desire to make it relevant to a devolved Scotland, ' she has said. Yet devolution has been disastrous for Scotland.

Holyrood is a joke, its MSPs the butt of bitter humour in every pub and club. The Tories are in the unusual position for any political party of having been proved right in their predictions, but now they are ashamed of the fact.

Whenever you hear anybody in Scotland say, 'We must make devolution work, ' you know it is a Tory MSP speaking. Nobody else talks like that now.

The rot lies within the parliamentary party at Holyrood, which has created an increasingly fissiparous schism between itself and Conservative voters. Well-cushioned MSPs have found it convenient to subscribe to the myth of devolution as the settled popular will. Yet that is a Labour lie. At the first devolution referendum in 1979, only 33 per cent of the electorate supported a Scottish parliament. At the second referendum in 1997 it was still endorsed only by a minority of the electorate (1.7 million out of 4 million). At no time has devolution ever commanded the support of a majority of the Scottish electorate.

Nobody suggests it would be serious politics today for the Conservatives to crusade for the abolition of the Scottish parliament: such is human nature that Scots would probably cling jealously to a seriously flawed institution on the chauvinist instinct that, though imperfect, it is theirs. Yet there are innumerable other scenarios the Scottish Tories could have promoted, to the discomfiture of their opponents and the approval of the public.

Instead, they have flirted with the notion of 'full fiscal autonomy', a euphemism for handing all powers of taxation north of the border to the spendthrifts at Holyrood who have already raised business rates to a level more than 10 per cent above England. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Shame on Scottish Tories for Their Vicy Sell-Out
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.