Sunday, August 6, 2017

Westminster bubble yet to catch up with the Scottish Tories' slippage

James Forsyth had a very silly article in the Sun yesterday portraying Ruth Davidson as the kingmaker in any potential Tory leadership contest.  No-one would deny that Davidson is currently enjoying a spell of considerable popularity among the Tory grass-roots (especially south of the border, where the myth of a "Scottish Tory victory" has taken root), but the bottom line is that everyone knows she's on the Europhile wing of the party, and that if she backs Amber Rudd for leader it'll be obvious she's doing it for Europhile reasons.  Anti-European Tory members will listen carefully to what Davidson has to say, and then think "no, actually, we need a Brexiteer in there".

There are also a couple of side-remarks in Forsyth's article that had me scratching my head.  He claims that Jeremy Corbyn would now be Prime Minister if it hadn't been for the Tories' mini-revival in Scotland.  As I pointed out in the immediate aftermath of the election, that simply isn't true.  We'd certainly be in a very different place if it hadn't been for the Scottish Tory gains, because the Tory-DUP deal wouldn't have been arithmetically viable, and as a result we'd be heading towards a second general election in the autumn.  However, there would currently be a Tory caretaker administration, not a Labour one.

And Forsyth notes that Davidson doesn't want 10 Downing Street for herself, because her "immediate aim is to be First Minister of Scotland, not PM".  OK, where to start with that one?  First of all, it can't be that much of an "immediate" aim, because she had a chance to stand for First Minister only last year, and declined to do so.  Incredibly, Willie Rennie stood but Davidson didn't.  There isn't another Scottish Parliament election due until May 2021 - almost four years away.  If she does have longer-term designs on a senior Cabinet position at Westminster, she may have to start planning her escape from Holyrood sooner than that.  Her moment in the sun won't last forever.

But let's assume Davidson is still committed to Holyrood in 2021.  How exactly does she become First Minister?  There are only two realistic ways it could happen -

a) The Tories become the largest single party in the Scottish Parliament and form a minority government with the help of Labour and Lib Dem abstentions.

b) The Tories finish second in the election, but form a government after at least one other unionist party backs Davidson in the First Minister vote.

We can pretty much rule out option b) straight away.  Yes, we all know Labour and the Tories are close allies in Scotland, but their cooperation has largely been of the deniable variety.  The moment you have Jackie Bird telling Reporting Scotland viewers that Labour actively voted for a Tory government, it'll be game over for Labour.  The problem may not be quite so stark for the Lib Dems, but I'm fairly confident they would also regard it as too much of a risk.

Which means the only way for Davidson to become FM is to 'win' the 2021 election - ie. for the Tories to become the largest single party.  Well, right now we're in the afterglow of the Scottish Tories' best election result since 1983 - and the limited available polling evidence suggests they've slipped back to third place.  How are things going to get any better than they are now?  Tired Westminster governments generally lose support, not gain it.  Perhaps Davidson's best hope would be for the Tory government to fall quickly, for Corbyn to become PM and then have time to fail...but there's no guarantee that turn of events wouldn't help the SNP more than the Tories.

Let's face it - Davidson is highly unlikely to ever become Scotland's political leader.  Kenny "Devo or Death" Farquharson got carried away with the thrilling motion of his pom-poms a few weeks ago and announced that Kezia Dugdale is the next First Minister.  He was getting way ahead of himself, but it's certainly fair to say that Dugdale as FM is now less implausible than Davidson as FM.

56 comments:

  1. It is not just 'southern Tories' who think Ms Davidson is the bee's knees. There are plenty on the self-proclaimed 'progressive' side of politics in the south who pay homage. The New Statesman (which supported Mrs May at the last election) and the previous editor of the website, Left Foot Forward, for example have been breathlessly admiring.

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  2. I am starting to lose count of how many unlikely political events have come to pass in the last three years or so.

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    1. True, but one that didn't come to pass is Le Pen becoming President of France. Davidson becoming FM is in that kind of realm of improbability.

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    2. Le Pen and Knickerless in a right wing Auld Alliance against the English!

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    3. Davidson and the torys are the only thing that's going to save the british from Knickerless and the separatists. GSTQ FTP WATP

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    4. The rise of Labour means that the next FM will be either Kez or Neil Findlay, if Labour gets sick of Kez and dumps her. Sturgeon might scrape back but it really will be the dog days of the SNP - outnumbered, tired, and with their erstwhile pals, the Greens, sucking up to Labour.

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    5. You're John McTernan and I claim my £5!

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  3. I think Ruth Davidson would make an excellent Prime Minister. My only concern is taking her away from Holyrood, where she has ran rings around the SNP.

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    1. If the SNP are so hapless, why does Ruth keep losing elections to them?

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    2. Everyone lost the last Scottish election James (no overall majority).

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    3. If everyone lost, why do we have an SNP government?

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    4. We don't. We have a minority SNP Scottish Executive. The government is made up of the Tories and DUP.

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    5. Sorry, Aldo, but you're several years behind the times (on this as on so much else). The "Scottish Government" is now the official legal name. The "Scottish Executive" is a thing of the past. So to return to my question : if everyone lost, why do we have an SNP government?

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    6. It's not the proper government of Scotland though. Scotland has one government, in London, and Holyrood is a subsidiary of it. That will remain the case until independence. Come on, you know this!

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    7. There is only one Scottish Government - this is correct. Britain has its own government. It's great to hear you debunking the silly Tory claim that "Scotland has two governments".

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    8. The British government is the Scottish government. It has delegated some low level tasks to a regional parliament that can be dissolved at any time of its choosing.

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    9. "The British government is the Scottish government."

      Does that mean the so-called "Scottish Government" runs another country? This is terribly confusing.

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    10. It controls certain aspects of a region of Britain known as Scotland, but only with the blessing of the British government - who can revoke, suspend or overrule the so called Scottish government at any moment. The people in Scotland were consulted on this a few years ago and are fine with it.

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    11. Aldo, if the British government decided to disband the Scottish Government,What do you think would be the reaction of the majority of the Scottish population?

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    12. The majority would simply go on about their business, as they did prior to 1999. A vocal minority would protest for a while and then eventually grow tired of it.

      Aldo

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    13. You really are a slavering cretin.

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    14. But also, most likely, correct.

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  4. The Dug is too emotional and mind changing more so over the Union. Labour need stabilty and she is not it. Labour surely must have some talent that can counter this pretend socialist Yellow Tory bunch of
    foodbank scumbags.

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    1. I don't see Labour flirting with Nationalism any more. There is a trend here with SNP going down and everyone else going up. Labour just have to wait it out now. But they should probably do so with a more left wing, Corbyn style leader - just to make sure that Holyrood benefits from the Corbyn effect.

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    2. "There is a trend here with SNP going down and everyone else going up."

      Not at all - the Tories are going down at the moment.

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    3. Can you call it a trend though? Proper, full polls and election results have shown a meteoric rise for the Conservatives in the last 2 years. You're talking about subsamples from the last two months showing something like a 2 point decrease.

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    4. Hmmm. Good to seek you acknowledge it, even if you're in denial about its significance.

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    5. The Tories have doubled their vote, after decades of being a swear word in Scotland. It doesn't bother me if they fluctuate by a few points up or down. A quarter of the population support us and we are here to stay - with a clutch of Westminster seats and enough MSPs and councillors to make a real impact on Scotland's way of life. Government is the next step but you don't do it all at once and success Isn't linear.

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    6. Dream on.

      You and your kind will be whaling into eternity.

      Never really understood people who would rather be like someone else instead of standing on their own 2 feet.

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    7. "You and your kind will be whaling into eternity"

      He says whilst governed by a Tory Prime Minister.

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  5. Aldo are you even Scottish? I ask because i wonder what can make any real Scot deny Scotland being a country and lower it to just a Region of Britain dominated by Westminster... is this really why people voted No? Or was there maybe a sizeable chunk of No voters who were simply too scared to vote Yes because of a barrage of frightening messages daily from the media machine? ! Just to put you right (as you seem to have your own way of looking at things which are quite unique to you... and maybe GWC2) History Lesson... the UK you favour so much was formed when 2 Kingdoms United and these are still the ONLY 2 constitutional COUNTRIES that form the UK today, there is no written constitution and i wouldn't call Scotland nor England Regions as either COUNTRY can choose to regain its independent state any time of its choosing . The case for Wales is not so easy as they were assimilated into the Kingdom of England before the UK was set up, and Northern Ireland elite at the time of Irish independence was given a get out clause to remain in the UK and used it and Northern Ireland today is only regarded as a Province that is now in the UK. So there you have it ... THE REAL FACTS and state of play. But i am guessing you will choose to continue your hateful brainwashed way of thinking and behaving nevertheless. Good Luck to you as your a lost cause and more to be pitied

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    1. Never got the obsession with 'it's a country!'.

      Scotland, population 5m, GDP 216bn$
      California, population 39m, GDP 2,440bn$

      We're a country because some medieval warlords made a line on a map and fought over it. There's no inherent value or specialness in it.

      Scotland is not the newest country to hold these lands. Nor is it the biggest one. It's not first one, nor is it the longest lasting one. It's not even the democratic one, given Scotland itself was formed by conquest of the kingdoms that preceded it.

      It's like religion. 'All the other nations that lived here were wrong, but this one is right'. No reason, just because.

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    2. And to pre-empt the inevitable whataboutery, all of that applies to the UK as well. Nothing special about it either.

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    3. The years 1037 to 1707 were extra special. Everything else in the history of time is irrelevant. We must return to that time because....well, because....eh....tories, or something...

      Aldo

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    4. "Aldo...are you even Scottish?"

      As Scottish as a haggis supper washed down with single malt. Born in Glasgow to a working class, Catholic family, I've spent my entire life here, save for the odd week or two in Spain or day or two in the Lake District.

      I am also British though, first and foremost - and refuse to be the walking stereotype of yes voter / republican / hate "ra Tories". I've always been a bit of a contrarian, but never without just cause. I'm reasonably well read and support Conservatism and Unionism based on merit.

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    5. Ane trumpit. Blaw.

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  6. Kangaroo says
    I think Aldo is referring to the outcome of the Miller case at the Supreme Court which suggested that the Scottish Parliament's authority is delegated by wastemonster and any powers they have can be changed at the whim of wastemonster. Hence the suggestion that scotland is a "region" of britain, and we voted for it in 2014.

    FYI http://lallandspeatworrier.blogspot.com.au/2016/12/sewel-no-constitutional-safeguard-just.html

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  7. The lie that some people like to peddle about Scotland being a region was put to bed when Cameron agreed to an independence referendum.
    The government at Westminster is only allowed to legislate on matters affecting Scotland with the consent of the people of Scotland.
    The referendum was "won" by the No campaign on the basis of certain promises being made.
    The equivalent situation with Brexit would be the EU campaigning against it and promising full control over immigration (at the last minute of the campaign) only to renege on that promise within hours of getting the result they wanted.
    As a country,now internationally recognised thanks to the efforts of HM government during indy1,we have the right to determine the form of our future governance which will be recognised as legitimate by the international community.
    Scotland,as a country/nation,rejected Brexit and is no longer represented by Westminster in that respect.
    It will be up to Scots to decide what they want to do about that.

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    1. The brexit vote was a UK wide vote on the UK's continued membership. The overall result was to leave and, as a region of the UK (our choice) we must accept this. In fact, whether you actually accept it or not, it's going to happen. So you might as well make peace with the idea. After all, one third of Scot Nats are eurosceptic. It's why Salmond and Angus got blootered by the Tories in June.

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    2. Yes Aldo,we will just have to accept that as a "region" of the UK we will have no say in what happens to our "region".
      That will always be decided by those living in the England "region".
      Don't think that is even what No voters in our referendum were voting for,at least those who were not committed unionists.

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    3. Aldo the Nat sis will never make peace with the democratic wish of the British or Scottish electorate... They are fanatics... Blootered was a well chosen word.

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  8. Is it my imagination that Aldo enters the fray when Tories are in trouble?

    BRexit is going to cause all sorts of serious trouble for the Tories, and when politicians return from holibogs we will see more and more dire warnings that cannot be kept quiet any longer. So, Davidson will have hee-haw chance of becoming a PM...shame

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  9. Aldo: The Govt. are not giving you Brexit because it dislikes laws which it agreed in Brussells, it is shafting you with Brexit in order to steal your assets and mine. Why: Because the EU want the UK to pay up for taxes dodgers. i.e. People with Off-Shore accounts. Don't take my word for it, google it, it's not difficult.

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    1. The EU cannot balance a budjet. The Parliament is a gravy train and the Commission is an unelected dictatorship. And what assets do you have that can be stolen! The British taxpayer has funded EU projects to the detriment of our own infrastructure. No wonder the Irish piss themselves laughing at the British taxpayer. The Greek ruling class fleeced our money into private accounts while their working class suffer poverty.

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    2. And did those feet in ancient time,
      Walk upon Englands mountains green:
      And was the holy Lamb of God,
      On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
      WATP FTP GSTQ

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  10. She won't become first minister but don't discount the Labour lib dem treachery. They are w ankers of the highest order and would elect her over social justice and nuclear weapons to preserve their union.

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    1. Nat si Tartan Tories far to the right of the Libs and Labour and vying with Tory pals to see who can lenghthen food bank queues. The punters have twigged you scum.

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    2. JTRIG. That is all.

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    3. The GFIS would be the Jock Nat si choice.

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    4. JTRIG. That is all.

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  11. Sometimes I think gwc or gwc2 is my braer

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  12. Is gwc a natsis?

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    1. I think ultra-right-wing authoritarian is closer to the mark.

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