Tag Archives: scottish conservatives

Could the Scottish Tories back a #peoplesvote?

The Scottish Tories could be about to back a People’s Vote says the New Statesman’s Chris Deerin. 

He cites a “prominent” Conservative MSP as saying:

“When I look at what’s going on down south, I feel appalled and embarrassed,” one prominent MSP tells me. “I hate the English party. I’m horrified at the support for no deal being expressed by party members. I’ve stopped reading ConservativeHome.”

And they might back a second referendum if it is clear that Mrs May’s deal can’t get through Parliament:

Senior Scottish Tories believe the UK is on a trajectory to crash out of the EU without a deal, and that this could be fatal for the unity of the United Kingdom. I understand that they will back any measure that prevents no deal, and could publicly express support for a second referendum – if May’s deal can’t pass parliament – as early as next week. I’m told both Davidson and her stand-in Jackson Carlaw are signed up to this position. “No deal would be disastrous and jeopardise the union so we will reluctantly have to go back to the country and ask them,” says a source.

With Theresa May’s days already being numbered, the prospect of an ultra-Brexiteer as leader is not an endearing thought to her party north of the border:

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Scottish Liberal Democrats demand answers from Ruth Davidson over mental health cuts to PIP

The Conservatives have not covered themselves in glory on social security issues recently. The removal of Housing Benefit from young people, the totally immoral restriction of benefits to two children and the deeply objectionable 8 page form that women have to complete if they want to claim for a third child conceived by rape, the cuts to disability benefits and cutting back eligibility to Personal Independence Payments for those suffering psychological distress have all shown a cruel lack of understanding of real life.

Let’s not forget the five year benefit freeze imposed by George Osborne in 2015. With Brexit bound to increase prices, that is simply unsustainable.

The cuts are significant, but even more reprehensible is the inhumane stripping of dignity from those who need our help. A civilised society supports those in need. If that makes me a bleeding heart Liberal, as Tim Farron declared he was on Question Time the other night, then I’m proud to be so.

Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives may pretend that they are nicer than their Westminster counterparts, making the right noises on mental health recently, but we can’t forget that they are the same party. Every awful thing that Theresa May’s Brexit government does reflects on them.

As health and social security spokespeople for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Alex Cole-Hamilton and I have written to Ruth Davidson asking her to state her position on the cuts to PIP. Our letter says:

Dear Ruth,

We were pleased to see your party last week join the Liberal Democrats and campaigners in declaring that the SNP Government’s new mental health strategy lacked ambition. It was the right thing to do because the new strategy will not deliver the transformation we desperately need to see.

However, we were deeply concerned to see that, in the very same week, your colleagues at Westminster were voting to restrict personal independence payments to people with mental health and anxiety conditions, affecting tens of thousands of people both in and out of work.

This shows little understanding of the complex needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, for example those trapped in their homes because they are too anxious to leave without someone. These people can need help to leave their home every bit as much as someone suffering from a physical condition.

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Nick Clegg tells the inside story of how the Conservatives put party before country

A couple of polls have suggested that Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservative Party might just edge ahead of Labour to become the official opposition in the Scottish Parliament. That is a truly horrible thought. Just imagine it, the timid, illiberal, centralising SNP opposed by David Cameron’s representative in Scotland. Their leaflets don’t push the fact that they are Conservatives. They are trying to make their campaign all about Ruth, as if she is somehow the saviour of the union. That, of course, is an argument that does not stack up, as this video from the Scottish Liberal Democrats shows.

It was the Scottish Conservatives who pretty much kept the SNP in power during their first term of minority government.

Do we really want them, with their contempt for benefit claimants, nonchalance about inequality and poverty and disregard for human rights and civil liberties, as the official opposition to an SNP government that is already so fiscally conservative and illiberal?

Their claim to be the only ones who care about the union has been shown up to be a pile of hogwash by Nick Clegg. In an article originally published in the Times and now on the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ website, he said:

As the Holyrood elections get closer and closer, I have become increasingly bemused that Ruth Davidson and others have sought to claim that the Conservatives are somehow the authentic opposition to the SNP.

It jars starkly with my experience when governing alongside the Conservatives in Coalition in Whitehall for five years.

In that time, I witnessed an odd ambivalence in the Conservative Party towards Scotland: indifference one minute; confrontation the next.

My party frequently disagreed with the Conservatives on Scottish issues, which was perhaps unsurprising since the only Scots around the Coalition Cabinet table were Liberal Democrats.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 18 Comments

Farron challenges Scottish Tory Leader over EU Referendum

Way back in September last year, Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson made some positive noises on the idea that Britain should remain in the EU. She’s been pretty quiet since, presumably not wanting to scare the many Eurosceptic horses in her own party. Her Twitter feed was silent on the issue yesterday as news broke of the draft deal

Tim Farron is up in Edinburgh today (and so far the weather is very sunny for him) and, ahead of his visit, he challenged Ruth to take on those in her party who want to take Britain out of the EU.

He said she should stop being scared of her right wing:

In England, the Tories have been hopelessly split on the issue of Europe for a generation. Now it seems that Ruth Davidson is running scared of her right wing in Scotland too.

The Prime Minister has come back with his deal. The phony war is over. It is time for people to take a stand.

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LibLink: Willie Rennie: Scottish Tories are a referendum themed tribute act, draped in union flag, singing Rule Britannia

Willie Rennie has written a scathing attack on the Scottish Conservatives for the Scotsman newspaper. He accused Ruth Davidson’s party of being nothing but a “referendum themed tribute act.”

In contrast, he set out a strong statement of the values the Liberal Democrats stood for:

I want liberal-minded Yes voters to know they can vote for the Liberal Democrats because Scotland needs strong liberal voices in parliament to stand up for investment in opportunity through education and good health, to guarantee our civil liberties and to protect our environment. We need a strong outward-looking, internationalist, altruistic, tolerant, reformist, pro civil liberties, pro-Europe, pro-environment, pro-business party in Scotland. You don’t get that with anyone else and Yes voters as well as No voters should back us if they want that platform.

The Tories are trying to portray themselves as the true guardians of the union, trying to characterise Labour and Liberal Democrats as flimsy at best because we won’t chuck independence supporters out of our parties.

Willie says that the Tories and the SNP are feeding off each other and trying to continue the independence debate when Scotland’s focus needs to be on its own public services:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments
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    @Arnold Kiel, There are individuals who receive a good response amongst those who already agree with them. There are others who recognise that the issue...
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