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Wings Over Scotland

Conservative, but not so Unionist?

Posted on April 02, 2014 by

We noticed a rather unusual story on Conservative Home on Monday. “One in five party members want Scotland to leave the United Kingdom” ran the headline above a piece about a survey the site had conducted.

In fact the title was an understatement – 22% of respondents who were Conservative Party members had answered Yes even to the somewhat loaded proposition “I want Scotland to become an independent country, and leave the United Kingdom”.


The numbers got even more dramatic when extended to the site’s readers as a whole (not just signed-up party members), with a whopping 30% agreeing with the statement.

And obviously, there’s something quite interesting about those numbers.

Because if you ask Conservatives that question in Scotland, you get a MUCH less enthusiastic response to the idea of Scottish independence. We’ve never seen a poll that has Tory backing for Yes in double figures, and the usual range is 5% to 7%.

The obvious conclusion, then, is that Tories in the rest of the UK are an awful lot keener on the idea of getting rid of Scotland than their Scottish counterparts are.

It’s long been suspected by some elements on the nationalist side that this was the case, and that in fact the Tories were secretly trying to “throw” the referendum in pursuit of electoral advantage in England. The survey, of course, doesn’t prove that. But it might cast some interesting light on why the party keeps making apparent “blunders” (sending Bullingdon Club Chancellors up to lecture and bully Scots and then scurry off without facing any questions, having senior ministers anonymously brief journalists about currency union) that play into the Yes camp’s hands.

But there’s another twist. This morning’s Scotsman reports a rumour that the Tories might be about to pave the way for a radical overhaul of devolved taxation powers. The claims, denied by the Treasury, suggest Holyrood being granted the ability to individually alter the basic, higher and top tax rates, rather than having to move all bands at once as is currently the case.

Such a reform would be far more dramatic than the proposals in Scottish Labour’s anaemic “Devo Nano” plan, and would open up an intriguing scenario where, if Scots voted No in the independence referendum, they’d go into the 2015 general election with the Tories promising the Scottish Parliament significantly more powers than Labour.

We’re sceptical about whether that would be enough to bring about substantial gains for a party that’s still overwhelmingly toxic in Scotland. But it would certainly put a cat amongst some pigeons, and with everyone expecting a hung Parliament even a handful of extra Scottish seats could make a rare difference in determining the makeup of the Westminster government.

(As it happens, one such case could be Edinburgh South, where Labour’s Ian Murray currently holds a wafer-thin majority of 316 over the Liberal Democrats, whose votes the strongly-3rd-placed Tories would credibly seek to target in the event of the anticipated crumbling of Lib Dem support.)

These snippets are all trivial in themselves. Whether they combine into a scenario where Scotland is persuaded to vote No and then rely on the Tories as the only party offering even vaguely meaningful new powers for Holyrood remains to be seen.

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78 to “Conservative, but not so Unionist?”

  1. john allan says:


  2. Andrew Morton says:

    Some seriously mixed messages there then! “We’re pissing you off so that vote Yes so the Tories get in in 2015” alongside “Here’s some stuff to make you vote No so that the Tories can get in in 2015”.

  3. Alt Clut says:

    Rather than being devolutionist compromisers isn’t it more likely that the 22% and the 30% are just primitive ‘little Englanders’ who want to ‘punish’ us for our affrontry ?

    If so they would probably be queueing up, after a no vote, to give us a ‘damned good thrashing’ as they ‘carpet bag’ their way across a defeated Scotland a la Thatcher.

    It’s also probable that the influence of such types in Tory circles is about to rise as Farage precipitates a rush to the right in the Tory party to protect their flank against him in the run up to the 2015 UK general election.

    Seems to me that the lesson of this snippet is simply yet another reminder that we have to win on September 18th to keep this lot off us !!

  4. goldenayr says:

    I foresee a lot of “squirrels” in the highly unlikely event of a no vote.
    And deaf/blind ones at that.

  5. Ravelin says:

    So according to Darling support for a Yes vote amongst Scottish voters is running at 28%, but amongst English Tory Party members it’s 22%…who’d want to guess what % you’d get if you asked the rUK voters?

  6. Clootie says:

    Forget 2015 – focus on 2014
    It doesn’t matter who wins Westminster if we vote YES – positive future.
    It doesn’t matter who wins Westminster if we vote NO – negative future.

  7. K1 says:

    Vote yes or no…either way we’ll spin it to our benefit to win the 2015 GE.

    Rev, what’s the title of the article you wrote a few weeks ago wherein you outlined the scenario of why the Tories would want us to win, and how this effectively wipes out Labour?

  8. Truth says:

    But if I vote yes our Parliament will have the power to set and amend any tax rate possible anyway.

    Why would I want to complicate matters voting no?

  9. scottish_skier says:

    the numbers got even more dramatic when extended to the site’s readers as a whole

    I wonder what they look like for MPs…

    Whole lot of additional leak potential here.

  10. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    If the Tories offered that general tax variation powers it would be a punch on the nose for Labour but, we all know that whatever is offered it will be taken away, in spades, by other caveats.

    I am with Scottish Skier in this. I believe that there is a strong element within the Tory hierarchy who would not bereft if Scotland votes Yes. They of all the Westminster parties have something to gain from it.

    So let Darling organise the clusterfuck in Scotland for the No side and every so often give him a wee googly to help him on his way.

    The thread some posts earlier on Trident allowed me hypothesise that the UK, never mind the rUK, cannot afford Trident 2 and a well armed modern conventional force. The only real reason that the Yanks suffer the UK is that they contribute conventional forces, not Trident.

    The Yanks would rather have a bigger conventional UK military than a Fred Karno’s equipped depleted deployment partner. If the rUK wants to dick wave and keep their seat the UN Security Council, and photo ops on Air Force One, the Cruise missile submarines could be retro-fitted with mini nuclear warheads. This may take some time but, if the rUK announces during the Faslane negotiations that they have already achieved that, who would know it was all a bluff?

    Finally on the energy front, there will be cheap US fracked gas being shipped in a couple of years time. That will be a stopgap allowing UK fracked gas (?) to come on-stream and maybe N Sea coal deposits to be exploited. Remember there was a reason that the N Sea off Berwick was annexed, and it wasn’t for fish which can move at will.

    My guess is that AS has worked that out and DC has given him a nod.

    Always give your enemy a Golden Bridge to retreat over.

  11. Les Wilson says:

    Does it really matter what they say, they will never satisfy whose who now believe in total control of the levers required to help Scotland go it’s own way in the world.

    At the end of the day, whatever they say, you can NEVER trust them, something previous promise defaults can prove. They have a history of lies. Whatever they could propose will still, in some way, be in Westminster’s interests not Scotland’s. They will get the deaf ear!

  12. john allan says:

    I don’t know how others see this, but in light of this statement and yesterdays mr Darling statement yesterday. maybe politicians are now hearing from their voters we are subsiding them so leave them alone and let them vote yes.
    If this is so better together are being to see a problem of their own creation and the more they ignore the we subsiding them shout the more frustrated RUK voters will become.

  13. Grouse Beater says:

    Shock horror

    I almost posted this observation last week.

    It’s my experience Tory voting friends, from landed gentry to “posh Jocks,” are more open to Scotland gathering back its democratic powers than those on the hard Left.

    Labour, on the other hand, hold on to the doctrine they represent the working class everywhere, from north of England to comrades in Europe, hands over the sea, and all that. They see nationalism as isolationism.

    Holding tight to that notion gives Labour here the excuse to offer scant attention to their nation, forgetting they are called the “Scottish Labour Party.”

    It is an extension of the detestable maxim Margaret Thatcher promoted embodied in the phrase:

    “Are they one of us?”

  14. TD says:

    There has always been a significant anti-Scottish element in England. Typically, this element resents the fact that Scottish people have a different (non-English) perspective on life and they think we should all just fit in with the English way of doing things. We see trivial examples of this all the time e.g. saying England or English when they actually mean the UK or British. But we also see more serious examples e.g. the arrogance over the currency issue, or trampling rough-shod over the Act of Union which stated that no English court would ever have jurisdiction in Scottish criminal proceedings (Ref: Cadder). They resent the differences in Scottish language, culture, law, values and aspiration. So now that many Scots people are seeking to express their Scottishness independently of rUK, some English people deal with this by just saying “well good riddance – we never understood them anyway.” They do not value diversity amd they will typically believe the propaganda that we in Scotland cost them money. So as well as getting rid of an irritating “lodger” they think they will be better off as well. If only they knew.

  15. Jimbo says:

    It’s long been suspected by some elements on the nationalist side that this was the case, and that in fact the Tories were secretly trying to “throw” the referendum in pursuit of electoral advantage in England.

    Hence their choice of Alistair Darling as the person to lead Better Together.

    The Tories must be laughing at Darling behind his back. If you want to lose a referendum find a gullible buffoon to front your sham of a campaign. Then, when it fails, you’ve got a ready made fall guy.

  16. Tartan Tory says:

    I realise that I’m in a bit of a minority(!), but I’m not convinced about traditional Scottish right-wing thinkers being against independence! Here is a piece from The Herald about how Scotland needs a centre-right party to fill the void:

    Whilst ‘Tory’ may be a swear word to many, I think it’s a mistake to imagine Scottish conservative minds as basically ‘Thatcherites’. Don’t forget Adam Smith was from Kirkcaldy and he wasn’t what you would consider to be a Tory Toff. Furthermore, his works include “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” as well as the “The Wealth of Nations” and I don’t imagine he would have been keen on WMD’s over foodbanks either. I believe there are many more ‘caring conservatives’ in Scotland. IF we can get a Scottish Conservative Party (without the Unionist element) in Scotland, they would probably carry about 20% of an election vote!

    They even have a depute leader who is a bit more pragmatic about the options post independence:

    My point here, as I’ve made before, is don’t tar everyone with the same Westminster Tory brush. Some of us are very-much on your side!

  17. heedtracker says:

    Trust a Tory for “radical overhaul of devolved taxation powers”. They probably weigh up pros and cons in devo taxmax for Scotland.

    So Holyrood runs most of Scotland’s economy, England keeps nukes in Faslane and Scots oil, balance of payments no change for sterling value, UK credit rate holds, they do all the war stuff, evil and cruel Salmond defeated, Cameron victorious/triumphant/historic saving of said union and above all else, Tory landslide 2015 and the Union Jack flaps away over Scotland, everyone happy the BBC in Scotland insists. Huuzaah.

    Rule Britannia, or we run our own country. Its a toughee!

  18. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    In a survey which we distributed to over 25,000 homes in this constituency about a decade ago over 20% of those indicating they were Tory supporters indicated that they would vote YES.

    No assumptions should be made about the natural Tory vote in Scotland much of which has not voted Tory in recent years.
    An independent Scotland would probably see a revival of the Tory vote in Scotland (which on grounds of political principle I would not support under any circumstances I hasten to add) but I honestly feel we need to give it more encouragement to vote YES

  19. scottish_skier says:

    The most important thing for the Tories is that Labour get the blame for a Yes vote. Darling is so the fall guy.

    Would be clever of the Tories to ostensibly offer Devo Nano+, whereby out-devoing Labour.

    That makes Labour’s Devo Nano look even worse while at the same time, the Scots electorate don’t trust the Tories at all on delivery and nano+ is still nothing like what they want ( i.e. the 1/3 Devo Max + 1/3 Indy).

  20. Robert Whyte says:

    The parents are about to split and they will be trying hard to bribe the children.

  21. scottish_skier says:

    The electorate in England understand well enough that the Tories can’t hold the union together, only Labour could do that. They know who’s running the pro-union campaign; Darling / Labour.

    A Yes and Labour gets the blame. Right wing press will pounce on them with no mercy.

    Labour loses Scotland and its MPs from there. English electorate rallies behind the Tories who win 2015 with a majority.

  22. Desimond says:

    Somewhere Scottish_Skier is stroking a white cat and smiling wondering when he should type the one word ‘THIS’

  23. Garry Henderson says:

    Right wing party Wealthy Nation – Tories for indy.

  24. The Man in the Jar says:

    Is this OT or not I don’t know.

    A bit of good news for Yes and a warning not to judge a book by its cover.

    This item from Newsnet regarding The Dowager Duchess of Hamilton.

  25. john allan says:

    The labour party knows it cant offer to much to Scotland without taking a huge hit in middle England and the tories know it. I suspect both labour and tories private polls are showing a YES win and both parties are now starting to play political mind games on how to get the maximum middle england effect, which takes me back to my previous comment. How do stop voters in England who you have constantly told subsidize Scotland, forget them and tell the to bugger off.Tories labour and lib dems are trying to deceive two electorates at the same time.

  26. john allan says:


  27. Thepnr says:

    Control of all income tax in Holyrood is worth precisely diddly squat. Much the same as Labours offer of “more” powers over income tax is worth diddly squat.

    The issue is income tax makes up only 26% of total tax revenues, so the vast bulk of tax revenues would still head to Westminster and we would still be beholden to some sort of modified Barnett formula, we would also still be powerless over welfare, pensions immigration etc.

    Regards Tory chances in 2015 they are certainties in my view, Labour could lose 1/3rd or more of their Scottish MP’s. Currently 25% of Labour supporters will be voting Yes with many more to come before the election, I believe. If Yes fails and No prevails the bulk of the Yes voting Labour supporters will not go back to them by 2015.

    They will go to the SNP, SSP, Greens or not vote at all rather than vote Labour who they will see as having betrayed the ordinary Scot in the referendum. They are doomed to the same fate as the Lib Dems for siding with the Tories.

  28. john allan says:

    “McCluskey insisted that his party’s position on independence is “neutral” because “if we came out for or against independence we would split our union almost down the middle.”
    He added: “Our internal polling tells us that at the last Scottish Parliament election 40 per cent of Unite members voted SNP. That’s a huge shift. In Scotland Unite members would normally vote about 80 per cent for Labour.
    “That huge shift of course is what enabled the SNP to take power in a parliament that was not designed to give power to any overall party. So that is an important factor.””
    Our job now is to convince the Scottish Unite members to vote for Scottish Independence.

  29. sionnach says:

    @Scottish Skier: I like your reading of the apparently shambolic approach of the NO campaign. A while back, I wondered when they would realise all this negative scaremongering wasn’t working, and change tack.

    They never have. Even when the big boys fly up from London, it’s more of the same. It does seem that they want to throw it all away: any other reading simply suggests gross incompetence at all levels. And that could never be, could it?

  30. john allan says:

    labour cannot be seen to appease scottish voters or they will lose middle england. Herein lies labours problem.With this statement today the tories may deliberately using that weakness.

  31. jon esquierdo says:

    they are Eton us alive

  32. mathlete76 says:

    I’d be very interested to see if/when national news reports start showing polling intentions for 2015 with/without Scottish votes.

  33. Macs Adams says:

    If it’s such a United Kingdom should Ireland and Wales not get a say on sharing the pound
    A bit off subject but hey…

  34. sionnach says:

    BTP says: the UK, never mind the rUK, cannot afford Trident 2 and a well armed modern conventional force

    I think a lot of people are with you on that hypothesis. About a year ago, the New Statesman published an article by Kate Hudson (of the CND, so not entirely unbiased) saying pretty much the same. She quotes an earlier International Herald Tribune article, which said:

    As for Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron is insisting on keeping a nuclear deterrent on a new generation of submarines, even as U.S. officials are pushing London to consider abandoning the idea. As one U.S. official said privately, “They can’t afford Trident, and they need to confront the choice: either they can be a nuclear power and nothing else or a real military partner.”

    Full article here:

  35. bookie from hell says:

    So I have to vote NO to get more powers from a Tory gov—(FCUK THAT)

  36. Fiona says:

    Does ” a real military partner” mean “they will put the boots on the ground and we will stay safe but sell them equipment and send drones”?

  37. fergie35 says:

    If the Tories had rebranded under Murdo, and Labour didnt have such a pathetic and attrocious Scottish and UK leadership, there may have been some shift to these 2 parties, but it probably would not have made any difference on the referendum?

  38. tartanfever says:

    I just don’t see the Tories being able to offer anything credible. They had their Scottish conference a couple of weeks ago, where Ruth Davidson promised to scrap free prescriptions. That was their opportunity to offer an increased devolution settlement and they didn’t.

    Further talk of vague ‘increased powers’ will juts be laughed at by Scottish voters, they simply don’t buy it.

  39. Peter Brown says:

    I have said it before and I will say it again, the Tories could double their support in Scotland overnight by declaring for Yes. Philosophically it is a lot closer, as other posts have noted, to that of labour, who have historically been driven by the “international socialist” idea. And as previous posts have noted there is an unsatisfied demand for a centre right party in Scotland as evidenced by Wealthy Scotland.
    But devo max from the Tories? They would never get it passed by the English majority. So they can promise what they like. The only way is Yes.

  40. Bugger (the Panda) says:


    You got it in one. In fact the “British” defence industry is not really British any more. BAE are effectively integrated into the Pentagon’s procurement system.

  41. faolie says:

    168 days to go. Too late, too late, too late.

    Though if the Tories do think that the Union is lost, then throwing this particular cat into the pigeons would cause Labour some apoplexy (which would be fun to see). But it’s never in a million years going to cause the electorate to pause in the booth and think:

    “Wait a minute, so if I vote No the Tories will give us lots more powers. That’s great. But hang on though, that means they’re going to need every vote they can get to win the 2015 GE, including mine! Aye right, that’ll be chocolate.”

    Cross in Yes box. Job done, Labour’s Scotland seats toast.

  42. Thepnr says:

    If you thought the government elected to “serve” from 2010 to 2014 have been a disaster for the average Scot and much worse so for the poorer Scot. Then think of another 5 years!

    Putting them in power again will really urge them on, Welfare won’t be capped, it will be slashed. Already they are making noises as to how universal pensions are unaffordable.

    The Scottish block grant will be slsahed, forcing the scrapping of tuition fees, free prescriptions ect. ect.

    Anything not nailed down will be sold off cheaply to make their friends in the establishment richer and the rest of us poorer. The Scottish NHS will come under Westminster control, and the selling of the family silver will begin.

    I’m perfectly serious, I really believe much of this will come to pass if we don’t get out now. This is what Project Fear really looks like. We should all be shittin ourselves in the event of a No vote, I know I am.

    We will need to be all working our socks off from now until September 18th in order to prevent any chance of this ever happening.

  43. Dougthedug says:

    But there’s another twist. This morning’s Scotsman reports a rumour that the Tories might be about to pave the way for a radical overhaul of devolved taxation powers. The claims, denied by the Treasury, suggest Holyrood being granted the ability to individually alter the basic, higher and top tax rates, rather than having to move all bands at once as is currently the case.

    The Conservatives could quite easily offer this as it’s no skin of their nose as it doesn’t matter how Scotland arranges its income tax bands because it’s the total amount of devolved tax which is important.

    The top up block grant in all devolution schemes is calculated using the convention that the devolved tax take in Scotland is exactly as it would be if the bands and tax rates were exactly the same as the rest of the UK.

    Since the top up block grant is fixed by this calculation then if the devolved tax take is smaller than that calculated by Westminster it means Scotland is effectively subsidising its lower tax regime by diverting money from public services.

    If the tax take is higher then Scotland can keep the difference.

    It’s no different in principle from any other devolution scheme and central government neither loses nor gains any money.

    The only thing it does do is give a little more illusion of power to the devolution settlement by allowing the Scottish Government to play with tax bands. In addition, if it is like the current tax varying powers then any extra cost on HMRC for administering a separate tax system in Scotland will be charged back to the Scottish Government. Again no cost for Westminster.

  44. john allan says:

    Torys offering more powers at this time would be a deliberate act to make labour address the Scotland v middle england question.

  45. Marker Post says:

    “But it might cast some interesting light on why the party keeps making apparent ‘blunders'”…

    Like Carmichaelmoore. All thud and blunder.

  46. Alan Mackintosh says:

    Marker post; “Thud and Blunder” Fantastic

  47. john allan says:

    This brings me back to my suggestion yesterday. the best way for the tories to take advantage of the polls at the mo is to jump ship. force a no confidence vote and hold a general election early.

  48. Ken500 says:

    If Scotland votes YES, the rest of the UK will be worse off, this will increase Labour voters in the rest of the UK.

    Westminster would try and keep the Oil and Whisky tax revenues at 80%, while multinationals in the City of London evade tax. Equal taxes in the UK are a myth.

  49. Dcanmore says:

    Peter Cruddas, exTory treasurer, gave the game away a couple of years back, of the English-conservative mindset, by being caught saying most in the Tory party would be happy to see Scotland off but only make it look like they are trying to keep the union together. Most Tory interests lie in the SE England and that is where their comfort bubble is. To them Britain is London and the Home Counties, anywhere else is a distraction and only of interest for tax collection, natural resources and a dumping ground. Protect London and the financial square mile and concentrate on foreign investment from the East, what exciting developments is happening outside of London and SE these days, not a lot I bet, ‘austerity for all’*

    *only applicable to those north of M25.

  50. Helena Brown says:

    I think there might be more chance of Tories voting YES before the Labour Party I still do not think there is any chance that anything which would be worthwhile would ever materialise and hey ho I know that nobody remembering 1979 would ever believe a word said.

  51. Indy_Scot says:

    I’m not sure the message, we are Tories you can trust us, would be an easy sell north of the border.

  52. CameronB says:

    IMO, additional devolved powers will be insufficient to improve Scotland’s circumstances, as the UK planning system is not designed to allow such to happen. It would undermine the position of those at the top.

    It is all piss and wind until infrastructure investment decisions are based on ASSUMPTIONS that have BETTER relationship to reality.

    Obviously this problem is not solely confined to transportation but ‘passenger-mile-benefits’ are killing Scotland.

  53. CameronB says:

    Tartan Tory
    IMO, Adam Smith wasn’t on the political right. He promoted a market economy and BALANCE. People just think he was on the right because the Tories found it useful to tag the disillusionary policies with his name and reputation.

  54. a2 says:

    win win for them, lose lose for their Labour Patsys . Vote no and they’ve got more on the table than Labour who many of us up here won’t be voting for again anyway.

    Vote no and it’s labour’s fault with Darling and McDougall at the helm. Interestingly very similar to Labour’s tactic of blaming everything possible on Salmond, even when he’s not in the room.

  55. a2 says:

    “I’m not sure the message, we are Tories you can trust us, would be an easy sell north of the border.”

    Don’t agree, it’s been said on here many times, you know what you are getting whether you like it or not. I dont actually buy that but the impression is that they are more straight up about things and Labour are sneaks)

  56. a2 says:

    Worth another look at David Meikle’s piece from a while back?

    (which of course i can’t now find)

    The jist being – ‘I’m for a no because I’m a unionist but a yes vote may well be in the interests of the Scottish conservatives’

    O.T. Grammatical question. should one use quotation marks when paraphrasing?

  57. Tartan Tory says:

    CameronB: IMO, Adam Smith wasn’t on the political right

    You must be a bit older than me – I never actually knew the man to suggest anything like that about him!! 😉

  58. Cath says:

    “It’s long been suspected by some elements on the nationalist side that this was the case, and that in fact the Tories were secretly trying to “throw” the referendum in pursuit of electoral advantage in England.”

    I can’t imagine the Tories are together enough on Scotland to realistically do that. There may be one or two deliberately undermining the campaign though. Also, one thing I suspect they could agree on is doing anything at all to harm Labour. And Better Together is a horrible bear trap for Labour. Their basically reliant on the Tories in government not stabbing them in the back, even if things are going wrong.

    And if things are really going wrong for the pro-union campaign, the UK government almost have to stab Better Together in the back. That’s what that cabinet minister saying a CU will happen demonstrates. As the UK government they have wider and longer term interests than just trying to win the referendum. They have to plan for if the result goes the other way.

    One other thing I suspect they and their Lib Dem partners probably could agree on is that the worst case scenario for them would be a very narrow no vote followed by decades more demands for more devolution and an on-going constitutional crisis.

  59. CameronB says:

    Tartan Tory
    I’m middle-aged tbh. I’m talking with you but others might overhear. 😉

  60. Gary says:

    I remember reading on John Ward’s “The Slog Blog” some months back that this rumoured “conspiracy theory” had been doing the rounds in London and that it was the Conservative leadership behind it. I don’t believe that the leadership itself is behind a YES vote but I do believe that a large section of the party, even those not in favour, would not be heartbroken to see Scotland go. The consensus being that they would be considerably better off and worst case scenario the balance of the UK would be more right wing and easier to govern. I believe that they are unconcerned about oil revenues being lost as they feel that fracking will save the day

  61. No No No...Yes says:

    a2a at 2:26pm

    Brilliant stuff.

    This is a fine example of Batter Together…?!

  62. Bill Walters says:

    “It’s long been suspected by some elements on the nationalist side that this was the case, and that in fact the Tories were secretly trying to “throw” the referendum in pursuit of electoral advantage in England.”

    I don’t know a single sensible individual – pro or anti-independence – who believes that. A limited number of English nationalists take a knee-jerk ‘sod the Scots’ emotional response on this issue – 22% sounds about right – but the idea that senior Conservatives actually support independence and are secretly plotting to undermine the No side is just completely batty.

  63. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    People should not confuse Toryism with political ideology. It is not. It is a continuing conspiracy against the public interest by which those who hold, money, power and influence adapt continuously to current circumstances to ensure that they retain power, money and influence.
    To do so they run campaigns on law and order, social security scroungers, immigrants and aliens etc etc etc and persuade a large number of people, some of them ambitious to join the Tory ruling club and some of them nice and naive, to support them.

    This conspiracy can only effectively operate in the midst of plenty which is why it is successful in the south of England but withering elswhere because by and large most people recognise poverty and want when it comes up close.

    The Scottish Tory of the post war years that I remember bore no resemblance to what we see in the mean spirited Scottish Tory party remnants today and the behaviour of a couple of businessman over the last couple of days indicates blind panic as they see their power inside a UK construct which allows it about to be taken away from them.

    When it becomes evident a short while from now that independence is inevitable the more practical Tories will be on the bandwagon to save what they have – if they are not already there. Then we will know we are winning.

    What will the vinegar faced wee Tory ladies that come to all the debates do then? I think most of their men are probably already with us.

  64. While I don’t doubt the results of the oplnion poll, please don’t believe any promises of “jam tomorrow”. We’ve been through all these lies before, and that is all they are, lies. After we gain independence, the unionist partys’ will implode with infighting the norm, with various factions blaming each other for their defeat. Who cares? Certainly not me.

  65. K1 says:

    @David McH, NuLabour and Tories being now interchangeable, ergo ‘blind panic as they see their power inside a UK construct which allows it about to be taken away from them.’

    The ‘practical’ Labourites will jump on that bandwagon too.

    Unfortunately there’s no yet a Vinegar Faced for Independence group set up for either of the narrowset bedfellows of unionism.:-)

  66. Robert Peffers says:

    Sorry Rev, – Off topic:
    Just back from a Yes Scotland meeting in the Tabernacle Hall in Keltybridge. Being disabled I underestimated the time to get there and just managed to get the last empty seat in the hall. The team on the platform were excellent, (Annabelle Ewing SNP MSP, Louise Batchelor Journalist, Broadcaster and Green Party Member, Ian Muirhead, Farmers for YES and a working farmer). Chairperson was Councillor Ian Chisholm. The written questions from the floor were both germane and intelligent. However, there was no time left for further impromptu questions from the floor. I stayed back afterwards to attempt to gauge the mood of the audience. Frankly I couldn’t find a dissenting voice in the hall. Remember that Kelty is in the heart of Labour heartland with Gordon Brown as the, (ex)– politician MP.

  67. Patrician says:

    The 30% wanting to Scotland to leave will be the ones who frequent the Mail and BBC online. This isn’t as bad as you would expect considering the length of time the scrounging jock meme has been around. IIRC Mr Paton’s book indicated this meme started sometime in the late 1950s, early 1960s. So 30% isn’t making a great inroad in all that time.

    The Conservative and Unionist low polling for independence in Scotland is because those on the political right who support independence have already left the unionist party.

    I have always been more than sceptical about the theory that the Conservatives want to lose the referendum. IMO the leak from within the Westminster club is caused more by the fact that they have said that there will be no pre-negotiation of terms for independence than trying to undermine the No Scotland campaign. The no pre-negotiation statement was done when independence didn’t look feasible, but Scotland is a different place now. If the leaker was Mr Hammond*, then the reason for the could be as follows: Mr Hammond spent some time in USA recently and it is safe to bet that Trident was discussed more than once. The Americans won’t be taking the laissez-faire attitude to the future basing of Trident that Westminster appears to take. I would think that Mr Hammond was given some strong advice to get the negotiations started. So what do you do when you have two masters to serve, neither of whom you can cross? Mr Hammond has taken what is probably a typical politician’s approach, and leaked the details of a possible future deal. He hasn’t come out formally and asked for negotiations to start now (pleasing Westminster) and leaked that Trident is up for discussion (keeping the American military happy). Sir Humphrey would be so proud.

    *I wouldn’t be surprised if the leak comes from even higher up in Westminster. This could be a way of opening pre-negotiations talks not with the Scottish Government but with the Scottish people, an attempt to get them onside for keeping Trident for a few more years in exchange for something that isn’t really in Scotland’s interest, namely a Currency Union.

  68. K1 says:

    Given that head honcho civil servant in his published advice to Osbourne et al stated that: “Successful currency unions are based on the near universal belief that they are irreversible,” Nicholas Macpherson kinda gave the game away in regard to your point above about the trade off that they may want, which is to keep Trident for x amount of years and the quid pro quo is an eternal currency union.

    But as you say it’s not in our interest to have an ‘irreversible’ currency union. So it does seem odd if they think seriously that we, the people, can be persuaded by their logic. That’s not even a trade off. They want to keep Trident indefinitely and tie our hands indefinitely too, re currency.

    I find it really difficult to get inside their mind set, I can’t figure out whether it’s me that’s just naive, which I am on lots of fronts. Or whether they think we are too gullible to see through this obvious a trap! They have nothing to trade as far as I can see, and in fact just pushed this currency crap to create the illusion that they had, so they could then present this as their big concession in the Trident deal.

    We really don’t need anything from them and they know it. But my f***kin’ God do they need everything from us!

  69. ian foulds says:

    ‘Tartan Tory says’ –

    Good points for further consideration.

    However, maybe greater progress would be made after September if ‘Tory’ was dropped and a new Party/Meeting of minds collective presented a manifesto more in keeping with the natural aspirations of the Scottish people.

    I hope that will apply to not only the ‘left’, ‘centre’ and ‘right’ political parties(let’s maybe do away with these words too!) but that the ‘non-political’ / ‘humanitarian’ parties (as I see them) – eg Greens and the like also look at an inclusiveness (sorry for this awful touchy/feely modern word) in our society

  70. ian foulds says:

    ‘They (Really) Want Us to Go’

    Based on the above comments, could this be a ‘Yes’ slogan??

  71. Garry says:

    Bitter Together doing letter drops in the Auchterarder area, perhaps targeting single mums. My partner got a letter through the post yesterday from “working mother” citing how the “not being able to use the pound” thing has made her vote no…then it goes on and contradicts itself (surprise surprise) throughout…..then to add to the insult, there’s a form asking if you’d like to make a donation to the BT campaign. You just couldn’t make it up ! Where are these broad shoulders of the UK we hear so much about, that they need to chib the very people they’re putting into poverty for even more money , in the hope they get the no vote so’s they can continue screwing said people into the ground even further ! Laughable if it was even funny.

  72. Muscleguy says:


    “Always give your enemy a golden bridge to retreat over”

    We didn’t at Bannockburn, they got all snarled up in the canyon of the burn and those that passed that got bogged down in the marshes beyond. Meanwhile King Teddy banged on the doors of Stirling Castle and was denied entry. His party had to ride off sharpish as the Scots cavalry was in pursuit. A bit of a pity that, we could have captured Ted in Stirling after the battle and ransomed him back for a very large sum after forcing him to sign documents acknowledging our independence in perpetuity and avoided much subsequent unpleasantness.

    So sod giving them a golden bridge to retreat over, trap them in the briar patch and finish the bastards off at long last should be more like it.

    Referring of course merely to unionist politicians, those inclined to vote no are merely civilians and should be left to won around later by the society we shall build.

  73. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    We should probably be offering a coalition Government following a YES vote for the negotiations

  74. Big T Bone says:

    I have to say that I was gobsmacked when, on my first day “active” in January, the fellow next to me on the YES stall introduced himself as a tory (ex-deputy chairman of local party too).

  75. lumilumi says:

    An independent Scotland will need to evolve a home-grown political culture. Ditch the Westminster parties and be a better democracy.

    It won’t be easy because the Westminster political culture is so ingrained in the psyche of all UK voters. Scots will need to step back, take a look and realise that things can and should be different in an independent Scotland.

    The Holyrood parliament already is geared towards a different and more democratic political culture because of its hybrid first-past-the-post (FPTP) and proportional representation (PR) system, which gives roughly PR parliaments. One-party absolute majorities are a rare exception in PR systems and all governments tend to be coalitions.

    Scottish voters haven’t quite caught up with this fact yet. Even many indy supporters seem to think that FPTP constituency MSPs are somehow “better” or “more legitimate” than regional list MSPs. That constituency MSPs are the “real” MSPs and list MSPs are somehow “unelected” place-fillers.

    Finland has never had FPTP constituency MPs, our system has always been a list PR system since the beginning in 1906 (Finland got its own “devolved” full suffrage Parliament in 1906, 11 years before independence) and that has affected our political culture. For instance, a one-party government would be abhorrent (it’s dictature, isn’t it?), we WANT all our governments to be coalitions (usually of 3-6 parties) so that many voices can be heard and national consensus sought.

    Nobody knows yet what an independent Scotland’s written constitution will be like, but if you take the present Holyrood setup as a starting point, there will be a PR system parliament.

    That will almost always result in no one party having an overall majority – the SNP landslide in 2011 was an anomaly and actually tells something about the mood in Scotland at the time – and it’s to be expected that future governments will be coalitions.

    That’s why an independent Scotland will need a vibrant political scene with many different parties, left, right, centre, green, rural, urban, islands, whatever. For the parliament to work for the people.

    In Finland, the leader of the largest party in Parliament is given the first pop at forming a coalition government with other parties, a government that would command a majority in the 200-member parliament. He/She then becomes PM, the leader of the second biggest party usually becomes the Finance Minister, the Foreign Minister is usually from the biggest party, the rest of the cabinet made up of people from the coalition parties (Greens often get the environment portfolio) after negotiations on the coalition government programme for the next four years.

    To someone reared in the UK political culture this might seem like “horse-trading” but to someone reared in a PR political culture is all par for course and a good thing. Nobody naively expects a party to keep all its election promises. It’s not a cynical stance, it’s an acknowledgement of the fact that election promises are the things the party hopes to promote in coalition government negotiations.

    Sorry to have gone on for so long but I’m just trying to explain differences in political culture and something that would have to change in an independent Scotland (if it kept the more democratic PR system).

    The danger is that Scottish voters can’t get away from the Westminster mindset and try to replicate Westminster FPTP yaa-boo in a PR Holyrood.

    If the vote on 18 Sept is YES, three of the four largest parties in Holyrood will have to cut the cord to Westminster and their party HQs. Cue confusion and recriminations (especially within the Labour Party..?)

    What should emerge, in time, are truly Scottish parties all along the Scottish political spectrum. I think “tories”, i.e. right-leaning voters and politicians will be able to reorganise themselves sooner than “labour”. The remnants of the “great” British Labour party will be besieged by the SNP on the one hand and the SSP and other small real lefty parties on the other. That happens to a party that doesn’t know what it stands for anymore (except greedily grasping power in Westminster). Oh, and the LibDems… Maybe an independent Scotland will see a rebirth of a truly liberal, centrist party?

    That said, I hope that if there’s a YES vote (which is looking increasingly probable), I hope the SNP become the biggest party after the first indy Scotland GE in 2016. They’ve got experience and they’ve thought about indy matters more than any other party and by that time they’ve led the indy negotiations so I think they’d be a safe pair of hands in the first few years of a new independent country.

    Can you imagine the nightmare if a still shell-shocked, internally-riven “Labour” became the bigget party in 2016? They might not have completely cut the umbilical cord to London by then. [shivers]

    As this thread is about (Scottish) Conservatives, I’d say that Scottish independence offers opportunities to the conservative and Conservative voters north of the border. Murdo Fraser was trying to tap into this in the aftermath of the SNP landslide in 2011 but the Tory party HQ in London would have none of that and got faithful lapdog Ruth Davidson to lead the party in Holyrood.

    OK, I seem to have written another essay, sorry… Well, nobody will read this anyway because it’s in an “old” thread. 😀

    PS. One of the ironies is, of course, that at the moment FPTP Westminster has a coalition government and PR Holyrood a one-party government. Each contrary to what the respective systems are designed to do! 😀

  76. bobdog collie says:

    I’m sure that if Scotland votes no , Westminster will dust their hands and say well that’s that battle won lets shelf everything and fanny about and filibuster for the next 10 years, fuck em how dare they challenge us.

  77. lumilumi says:

    @ bobdog collie

    That’s exactly what they’ll try to do but this genie will not go back into the bottle.

    A NO vote, followed by no new powers or miniscule, irrelevant powers, swingeing cuts to or abolition of the Barnett formula (because that’s what English MPs want) isn’t going to kill Scottish independence aspirations stone dead. Quite the opposite. (I cannot understand why unionist politicians don’t see this – maybe they’re too wrapped-up in the dream of the Empire?)

    The Westminster parliament can, of course, vote to take back devolved powers. If I was them, I would. Just to make sure the uppity Jocks never ever again are in the position to democratically “break up the Empi… the union”.

    The sad fact is that a lot of English tory and now UKIP voters think Downton Abbey is something to aspire to. The Empire and civilised Lords and owners of all they survey and the half-civilised, grateful servants who are happy in their servitude and love their overlords.

    Downton Abbey is a big hit on Finnish TV (they’re now showing reruns of the previous seasons in anticipation of the new season) but I think it’s viewed quite differently here. It’s lavish, visually attractive but it’s foreign, a fairytale, just like Russian aristocracy, except “western”. Nobody would want our society to be like that.

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