Monday, 26 September 2011

Why I'm supporting Murdo Fraser

Murdo Fraser.
Much has been written in the Scottish media about the leadership election for the Scottish Conservatives.  Some have asked for my views. Here is an extract from an email conversation I had recently with a local Conservative.
I have warmed to the Fraser proposals.
First, there was a new element of leadership about this.  He was well placed to win - to coast into a position of modest esteem in Scottish society.  The very act of taking the risk to his sinecure suggests to me two things.  Vision and boldness. 
As to vision, it suggests to me he is serious about searching for and seeking the environment for electoral success.  It suggests he is looking for the bigger prize of a right of centre representation at the Scottish decision making it to the table.  That ambition is attractive to me.

As to boldness;  "Who dares wins".   I admire someone who puts vision above personal security.But what of the issues.  (The change of name, whilst not of no moment, is certainly a minor consideration in the issues at stake.)  Such management/ governance experience as I have makes me warm to the break from our London based party.  It is healthy to cut the umbilical cord of life-support from London. Because, actually it suffocates rather than supports. He who pays the piper calls the tune and the situation in a devolved, SNP dominated Scotland,  requires a nimble and self confident party of Scottish Conservatives to take the cut and thrust to the enemy.  You do not engender either of those qualities by looking over your shoulder to a big brother or paymaster for every decision.  Rather be joined by common principles.
What of finance?  Financial dependence often paralyses.  It has been a contributory factor to our demise.  If we cannot raise money here in Scotland  I doubt we are worthy of anything.  In any case, there are potential supporters aplenty who have not given to the Scottish Conservatives or who have given their money to other parties.   Some have given their money to the SNP to break the oppressive Labour hegemony in Scotland. If the argument was that the SNP are a lesser evil, then they have succeeded.   Some, I suspect, will be more than happy to come back to a party of conservative principles.
And let's talk of coming back to the party.  Rather than the gradual haemorrhage of membership and support that has been seen over the last generation, the Fraser proposals offer an intriguing invitation.  It is to those (languishing) Lib Dems who are unhappy with their party.  It is to those tartan Tories who have uncomfortably sidled over to join the SNP.  I say invite them back and give them a say in the big tent and in shaping our right of centre policies.  This is an opportunity to bring in new blood we have kept out of our Conservative club in recent years.

Update 1400hrs: Apologies that the full article did not show when originally posted. 

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