2007 - 2022

The Tory Fraud Crisis

ruthdThe number of Tory MPs under investigation for Electoral Fraud is now greater than the working majority in Westminster and escalating into an explosion of corruption. David Cameron is personally in a weakening position over Europe, largely because the result of the referendum will likely not put the issue to bed, especially as growing numbers in the Tory ranks become more enraged by the ‘Project Fear’ approach adopted by Cameron’s Remain campaign. The internal rifts are not going away – there is a fracturing on the right. The junior doctors strike has galvanised a big part of the population against the Tory government. They trust doctors many more times than the trust the government. They have been exposed on disability benefits cuts, and by the Panama Papers. Things are not going well with be economy – and as a result more people are beginning to grasp that austerity is an ideological choice.

The Tory party is in crisis. Though they are good crisis managers, it can get much worse. And that has real strategic implications for how we build an oppositional movement to Ruth Davidson’s Tories here in Scotland, and prevent any concessions to the right.

Ruth Davidson is aware of the toxicity of the Tory brand. Her election campaign literature majored on her as a personality and sought to harvest the No vote. Reports from hustings across Scotland showed time and again Tory candidates distancing themselves from Westminster. They failed to even turn up to a major hustings hosted by the Glasgow Disability Alliance focusing on disability rights, attended by hundreds.

They now have a very difficult task on their hands to prevent the overlapping of Cameron and Osborne et al onto their Scottish operation now that they are the opposition rather than simply a sideshow. Our job is to make that overlapping an inextricable political fact.

Every element of the Tory crisis in Westminster has to be laid at the door of Ruth Davidson’s new Tory cohort. Every toxic policy that comes from the Cameron cabinet must be put directly to the Scottish party in equal terms. If they fudge questions as they did during the Holyrood campaign – that is their choice. But it is a choice that results in opening another fault-line in the UK Tory party.

We can therefore get going right from the start by exposing the one trick pony they have deployed at this election. In doing so, we can add to the overall crisis that could engulf them in London.

This can be done in imaginative ways. Demonstrations and action to highlight the umbilical chord that ties Cameron to Davidson can raise awareness and develop a more entrenched and mobile anti-Tory movement. But we also require a relentless campaign intellectually, in the media and in alternative and social media that puts the Scottish right into the centre of the crisis and rifts in the UK party, as well as ensuring they are linked with the same intensity as the Tory Cabinet in Westminster with the brutality and injustice of the austerity programme.

The Scottish Tories have made a big mistake in their triumphalism and in their belief that they are the best standard bearers for the union. An oppositional movement that plants Ruth Davidson, Murdo Fraser, David Mundell and so on as part of the austerity machine has two consequences. On the one hand we can expose the Scottish Tories for what they are, and build the ideological left and anti-Tory, anti-austerity movement a result. On the other we can marginalise unionism by hoisting the Tories by their own petard. They have made themselves the poll of attraction for the Union – now we have the opportunity to explicitly bind Toryism and Unionism together in the coming years.

To achieve this we need to keep a close watch on Westminster, and not become parochial in outlook. Just as we need to integrate the Westminster Tories with the Scottish Tories, we need to be working with the anti-austerity movement in England to calibrate our own anti-Tory moves to best expose their key weaknesses. SNP MPs should be in action mode – but in both Westminster and Holyrood but that won’t be a given. In both circumstances extra-parliamentary activity is needed to show that there is mass support for left wing ideas and anti-austerity politics.

Just as talk of a Tory revival in Scotland begins to simmer, they will soon have to confront reality. That is a reality we can shape – and the strategic advantage we have is that our message that ties Tory corruption and austerity with Ruth Davidson and the Scottish MSPs is simple. It can be deployed both inside and out of the parliament, on the streets, in the press and on social media. That will entangle Tory strategists in Scotland who have spent a lot of time and money on trying to prevent an overlap. And as well as us making a big contribution to the struggle against the Tories and austerity UK wide, it can advance the cause of independence.



Comments (23)

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  1. Bert Logan says:

    The unionists shot themselves in the foot with Tory love. Libliars the joke option, Labour the sad option. So it had to be Tory and thus the corrupt option.

    Its like supplying the SNP with a huge pile of material in the fight and typically destroying any chance of a unionist voice meaning anything other than Joke/Lie/Corruption.

    But we all knew this huh?

  2. Pat says:

    “That is there choice” Mmmm I think that should read “their choice”.

  3. scotty says:

    Well said Jonathon, Scotlands future doesn’t belong to tories or parties that act like tories. The people who live in Scotland know this but some just need a bit more assurance that we can be like any other country in the world, making its own decisions and building it in a way that reflects our own values and at the same time having a good social union with all of the other countries of this island. This can only be done by having the courage to take the power out of the hands of the traditional ruling classes and the mega rich who predominantly don’t even live here. The people of England should bin them as well.

  4. Tony Rozga says:

    Brilliant piece.

  5. Steven Milne says:

    There is “mass support for left wing ideas and anti austerity politics” in Bella Caledonia and similar echo chambers but not in the wider world.

    The majority of people are not hugely interested in political ideology but simply want the opportunity to improve their lot in life without massive intervention from the state.

  6. Alex Beveridge says:

    Excellent summation Johnathon. Our major hurdle, as always, is the M.S.M. The present “alleged” Conservative electoral fraud is a case in point. Very little, so far, in the media about these allegations, which, if proved, could result in up to 28 Tory M.Ps losing their seats, and of course, their party’s majority in the House of Commons. Of course it depends on the various Police forces finding enough evidence to mount prosecutions, and I’m afraid the cynic in me thinks that most, if not all, will never see the light of day.
    That said, the Tory Leadership Referendum on June 23rd, and probably more so the fallout on the 24th, could bring the internal strife in the Party, of which we have heard very little so far, with, hopefully, open warfare taking place between the various factions.
    As you say, we must try to make sure that the Scottish Tories are engulfed by the conflagration that surely will take place South of the border.

  7. Robert says:

    Wishful thinking and understandable, but drivel nonetheless.

    About 0ne in three Scots regularly voted for Mrs Thatcher, but no one has ever met one.

    The truth is, lots of people in Scotland understand that Salmond,Sturgeon (who hasn’t been reading Thatcher’s biography for entertainment) & Co are opportunists who might accidentally lead us into the middle of nowhere. Salmond has been wrong about almost everything, all the time.

    Their ludicrous position on the EU can only be explained by the fact that the bigger the lie, the less it is noticed. Only Jim Sillers has any credibility.

    Your are beating up the Tories here, because of their name: as though they were black guests at the wedding of a southern belle, many years ago.

    The left in Scotland keep on fighting this illusion that they can win against Thatcher by digging up the past constantly: it’s over – move on. We are where we are.

    No one,apart form the finge and including the SNP, was in favour of not dealing with the deficit at the last election. In fact, the Tories have implemented Ed Balls manifesto, not their own. They have done much to curb the excesses of their own people, but we have to live in the real world, not the reimagined past.

    I don’t know how effective ‘the Ruth Davidson Party’ will be, but it would be no surprise if Salmond and Sturgeon’s legacy was the ironic achievement of something thought hitherto impossible:the rebirth of the Scottsih Conservative Party

    1. Coul Porter says:

      If we are talking ‘legacy’, history will judge the impact of David Cameron’s decision not to allow a third (‘Devo Max’) option on the 2014 Referendum ballot. He single-handedly* brought about the binary status quo. Thus far, it hasn’t worked too well for him

      * leaving aside Nicol Stephen’s decision to run away from forming a coalition with Alex Salmond. Wimpery for which he (Stephen) was subsequently ennobled.

    2. Ed says:

      the Scottish conservative party never died ,it was just hiding under the bed, to afraid to come out, and still is, their litrature for the hollyrood election proved that. what was elected to the Scottish parliament is the Ruth Davidson party. Some rebirth ! ! !

  8. Rosalynd Pio says:

    I trust Brits will not be so stupid as to cut themselves off from Europe, just because so many Tories are so corrupt and have made so many bad decisions. Britain has much more to lose by exiting from Europe than by staying in the European market. Get rid of this Tory government, do not rid Europe of Britain.

  9. JohnEdgar says:

    Dahn sath the Tories are at war. Most people equate Ruth’s little band with the toxic Tories dahn sath. Do not be fooled by the result of Holyrood, 2016. The yoons are all languishing at the bottom, some bobbing up or down. They are all on the slide.
    The only hope for the yoons is to de-yoon and focus on Scotland north of the Tweed. As they accepted grudgingly for different reasons the re-establishment of a Scottish Parliament and proportional representation at Holyrood and for local government, so they will gravitate Scotlandwards. EVEL and the fracture of the Tories together with the cold war within Labour will render the yoons north of the Tweed rootless. Their branch offices see them as “useless” with one MP EACH. The msm spouting snpbaaad, adding more “a”s by the day have not been able to help.

    1. Steven Milne says:

      Can you name me 3 specific things which the SNP have done in their 9 years in power at Holyrood which have benefited Scotland more than these Tory policies from the 1980’s:

      Reducing basic rate of income tax from 33% to 25%

      Allowing council house tenants to purchase the homes they lived in

      Selling off inefficient nationalised industries which were costing the taxpayer £billions per annum

      1. Ken Fisher says:

        You are off-topic, my man. You are also in some kind of parallel universe.

        1. Steven Milne says:

          Can you explain why I am off topic?

          This article, like many others which claim to support Scottish independence, is simply a rant against “the Tories”.

          I am asking for logical and well thought-out evidence that SNP have done more for Scotland than the Conservative Party have.

          There is a great deal of noise from the Left about how toxic etc the Tories are but when you ask specific questions on this subject of Leftists/Nats they have difficulty in providing coherent answers.

          1. JohnEdgar says:

            You are really off topic. Ruthless Ruth wanted to introduce prescription charges, tuition fees and ape Tory austerity from dahn sath. In fact, the Tory caucus of the yoons, that has only one MP in Scotland trumps the Tory regime Scots did not vote for.
            Scots Tories do not act, they are deceptive – too afraid to put the Tory tag on their election leaflets!! They are ciphers waiting for the next script to come out from London head office.
            You cheer lead the Thatcher successes. You did not mention the poll tax! The fact that the Tories only gained one MP since they were wiped out in Scotland in 1997 says it all.
            The Tories opposed all reforms that led to the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament. Opposed the Vow to bring maximum devolution to that parliament. Introduced EVEL in a Parliament where all nations were meant to be Better Together. One could go on….
            However, the Scots Tories need to watch their back. As the Tories increase in toxicity and their current open civil war is getting nastier, their position in their homeland – England – ( the Scottish tribe are a mere appendage) – their position in the HoC could be in danger at future general elections. They nerd to ensure there will always be an (Tory) England with EVEL. They will ditch the Union. After all, only one Tory MP in Scotland is no loss! The loss of the rest of Scottish MPs means no chance of coalitions with anti Tory parties at Westminster!! Watch this space! You Tories in Scotland will be ditched as the Russian communists ditched the Eastern European communist regimes after glasnost and perestroika. When your (Tory) lobby fodder from Scotland makes no difference, then you are passé. In other words, your position as Tory bag carriers is on a shoogly nail.

      2. Thomas Ritchie says:

        The Tories are rotten to the core and Sturgeon a Salmon with the SNP have far more to offer Scotland than any other party at the present time. Some of your criticisms are beyond comprehension. I think you have been living with head up your backside.

        1. Steven Milne says:

          Please supply specific details of what SNP have to offer Scotland.

  10. Thomas Valentine says:

    As you have mentioned the Tories in Scotland are well aware they have to create the appearance of distance between themselves and their bosses in London. Ultimately it we be whether that is possible in the long term. They are prepared for attempts to high light this and Labour will certainly assist them in hiding their colours.
    So when we talk of exposing them to the full light, what should we focus. That they are Tories? Better to expose what they are actively doing and let them misrepresent. If they try to distance themselves talk of a fractured divided Tory party with an extremist wing taking over the Scottish branch. If they try to defend against this they have to assure they are just at one with the Party even while never mentioning their leaders names.
    Also the fact some in their party see Protestant sectarian groups as defenders of the union and burst with encouraging tweets to Rangers fans, can certainly be used. There are those comfortable with the English brand of Conservatives but would actively be repelled by the version available to them if it was representing itself as more like the Ulster Unionists.
    Force a choice. Are you Ulster Unionist types or are you the hated poisonous Tories of Thatcher? If they quibble and fudge, let the voters suspect them of hiding whatever they fear most. Either Or Maybe. We win each time.

    1. Broadbield says:

      Good comment. We have to be cleverer than just saying Tory Bad (the constant refrain of SNP Bad doesn’t seem to working too well) and don’t let them frame the debate in their terms. This means we have to use appropriate language to get the message across. Thatcher used TINA (“there is no alternative” for younger readers) ad nauseum (and other bon mots) and it was so effective because nobody dared challenge her with an alternative vision and a different way of presenting the argument.

      We see the way the debate on immigration, tax, welfare and so on are framed entirely in Tory terms, which is by appealing to the lowest of human instincts. We need politicians to lead, not to fall into the gutter. We could start by calling Tories the “far right” or the “extreme right”, because that is what they are.

  11. JohnEdgar says:

    Steven Milne us off topic on another matter. He adulates Thatcher. Was he born recently? Thatcher was ditched by her party after the Westland affair. There was an in house coup d’états. Does he know this?
    Thatcher was drummed out because she was the ultimate liability. Then Major ditched the poll tax!

    1. Steven Milne says:

      The Westland affair was in 1985.

      Margaret Thatcher was toppled as Tory leader in 1990 ie 5 years later.

      Leftists are not known for their attention to detail or facts.

      They are far happier bandying about meaningless platitudes on “austerity”, “equality”, “fairness” etc etc.

      1. Coul Porter says:

        Why was she toppled then?

        1. Crubag says:

          She’d gone on too long and had become too fixed in her ways – poll tax for instance.

          The forced change proved to be the right move, as Major won the subsequent election.

          Salmond standing down in favour of Sturgeon was a similar, but more astutely handled, move.

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