Cold Fury Carlaw

It’s difficult to over-emphasise the depth of the crisis about to engulf the Scottish Conservative Party. The post-Ruth era demanded that any new leader stamp their authority on the party, and Jackson Carlaw has done that by by-passing his own colleagues and imposing a radical Johnson-loyal NO Deal policy.

The Telegraph reports that: “Senior Conservative insiders expressed “cold fury” over Jackson Carlaw’s decision to unilaterally announce the major shift in policy at the UK party conference in Manchester. It is understood Mr Carlaw unveiled the about-turn despite it being neither discussed nor approved by the Shadow Cabinet at Holyrood. He cancelled last week’s meeting.”

As visions of Ruth Davidson’s imminent coronation to the office of First Minister recede like a fever-dream, a new reality dawns, that of electoral wipe-out, the return to the days of a Tory Free Scotland and the routing of a leadership clinging to the coat-tails of their deranged thigh-squeezing post-legal un-elected premier. It’s one thing to do the kamikaze reckless politics of Trump or Johnson if you are at the head of a populist surge and surrounded by acolytes. But if, like Carlaw, you are an isolated and powerless interim figure who sounds like the baddie from a Maeve Binchy novel, not so much.

To be fair to Jackson he has inherited precisely the contradictions his predecessor had: how do you interact with the madness of a government that is wildly unpopular in your own country and that is taking Scotland unwillingly into the prospects of economic catastrophe?

Davidson’s answer was threefold:  say nothing at all; engage in an endless series of meaningless stunts and photo-shoots; and repeat like a mantra “We said No and we meant it.” The problem for Carlaw is that he does not have Davidson’s “unique backstory”, he is not surrounded by a host of journalists ready to pen yet another fawning puff piece and he has a resurgent gang of MSPs who are paid-up members of the Boris Johnson Fan Club.

Having said this he has done remarkably badly in a very short period of time.

Responding to the First Ministers efforts to navigate through Brexit by offering support to Jeremy Corbyn as an interim leader, Carlaw said “That the Nationalists are prepared to do a deal with a man like Corbyn makes me sick to the stomach.” His idea that he should play to Corbyn’s alleged anti-Semitism is laughable.

But his attempts to ridicule the allegations against Boris Johnson for sexual harassment are maybe less funny.

Carlaw told Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “The whole atmosphere in politics now is very heightened, I understand that, this is a huge issue, passions are running very high, some of the allegations that are flying around are quite sensational and some are lurid, it is not for me to comment one way or another.”

“If there are significant allegations about anything or anyone, there is a process for these things to be investigated, that of course should happen.”

“But I do think that we are in a political environment at the moment where there is far more talk about all of that as a distraction from the very substantive matter of on what basis do we leave the European Union and after that who runs the country, and after that how do we ensure that Scotland carries on being an integral part of the UK . . . and bury the SNP’s plans for a second independence referendum which the majority of people in Scotland do not want?”

You’ve got to love the idea that there are big serious constitutional questions like Brexit and Independence, but things like the sexual misconduct of the Prime Minister are just “sensational”.

But while we were forced to pretend that Ruth Davidson wielded massive influence (she didn’t), Carlaw openly admits he lacks any impact at all:

The problems for the Scottish Conservatives about adopting a pro No Deal position is that it exposes the heady-days of Davidson’s pro-EU rhetoric and the reality that a No Deal crash-out will massively boost the case for independence …


Carlaw is faced with an impossible scenario. He is leading a party predicted to lose as many as ten of their 13 MPs. It was virtually re-branded as The Ruth Davidson Party and now has a large Ruth Davidson shaped hole in it. She may re-emerge as a Geoffrey Howe-like figure to skewer him from the back benches, or re-enter the fray like Farage and Salmond before. But this seems unlikely. What’s more likely is the Scottish Tories disappearing in the wake of Johnson’s hostility as he takes Britain out of Europe, and Scotland out of Britain.

Comments (18)

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  1. James Mills says:

    Jackson Carlaw has missed his calling – he would prosper as a second-hand car salesman …oh , wait ! I’ll get ma coat !

  2. Jo says:

    Carlaw has indeed shocked many but what about his immediate boss, Scottish Secretary, Alastair Jack? He’s now said clearly it’s 31st October, deal or no deal. He didn’t mention Scotland once!

    I’m astonished that all these Tories can speak so confidently in such terms. If these polls are right, that they’ll all be wiped out, why would they speak like this?

    1. MBC says:

      Because they’re toadies and there are always rewards for loyal collaborators.

      1. Muiris says:

        Too true. I’m reminded of the folk song, ‘we are bought & sold, by English gold’ (A Parcel of Rogues). Well they can’t buy everyone. Alba abú

  3. gavin says:

    Looks like a Hail Mary throw of the dice for these Toadies. I have no idea what Carlot believes in, but “Union Jack” is an out and out Brexiteer.
    They have one small advantage in that, the “Scottish” media is heavily slanted to anything they say or do.
    On the other side, it seems doubtful Boris can survive due to his many indiscretions. In the past, Fleet Street and Lobby correspondents would have sat on little peccadillos , but Boris has made enemies along the way, and pay-back is coming.

    1. Jo says:

      Incredibly, I’m beginning to think Johnson can survive anything. The BBC is still, as always, failing to challenge him or any of his shower with any gusto.

  4. Craig Devine says:

    Jackson Carlaw is a professional hustler working his connecting ticket to the next gravy train. Whence before he spoke of gazing into the abyss of no-deal-Brexit as he cowered behind Ruth’s heal, he now squeals his cheers for the candyland of WTO rules… Jackson now believes his new ballbusting Abercrombie thug act with the Scots Tory MSP’s will ingratiate him with the high corruptocracy of the new Vinny at HQ- so now he’s suddenly swigging back the Jonestown Cool-Aid being pumped out of Downing Street- surprise, surprise, Jackson’s suddenly getting high on the Brexit meth & basking in the halo of egoholic Bojo’s wow-wow optimism. For the Scottish Tories it was a case of the Post-Ruth era needing a safe pair of hands- hence a Saab driving sourpuss and rebel without a cork leader like Carlaw. Even if the furiously frightened tweed & tartan of proud-to-be-Scots but of generation gammon have went utterly jihadi concerning the constitution- for example a Daily Mail everyman like Jackson didn’t want a devolved assembly & no doubt he secretly wants it abolished and so he perfectly encapsulates middle Scotland. The difference is Carlaw is a political box-hocker who will ride any gravy train into the sunset. It’s what talentless people like him do everywhere and talentless people like him everywhere vote for someone like him for they recognise in him someone like them. But Carlaw has went rogue. He’s no longer the vanilla topping on the mainstream ice-cream. He’s abandoned Ruthism’s Thruthism’s and his Holyrood soapbox act of the hardliner, redliner telephone tough guy toward ‘that Sturgeon’ reveals a new image. Even if in reality his new leader role is all flat tyre talk that will go straight to video. He’s playing his ticket and no longer playing to his political base. It’s a frequent meme of the Unionists to remind us Glasgow and Dundee have more in common with Manchester and Newcastle that they do with Perthshire or Roxburgh- indeed these areas have more in common with Tory England than the urban Scotland- as though this is meant to be a call to solidarity for the Union. What it indeed illustrates is how much of a minority the House of Bruar SIU Barbour set are in Scotland. We know this and Jackson knows this. The eve of the next election is revealing the true terrain of Scotland’s political geography. Jackson has already hit the slopes on the bobsleigh ‘toady’. To a simple man like Carlaw the answer to life, the universe and everything is quite simple: London. Jackson is a jumped-up used car saleman with a run-of-the-mill Newton Mearns plausibility and glibness that is a hallmark of the Giffnock mammy’s boy- but he’s an ethically challenged opportunist who believes in riding the Holyrood gravy train for all its worth. He might be as hip as a plastic hip but he knows the games a bogey. He’s the Mearns woose turning into the Giffnock badass to work his angle, for when the going gets tough the tough gets thuglife. He can no longer play Ruth’s yellow-bellied lily-livered scalded dog. This is Boris’s age of new optimism with no place for wetflakes. The Bullington Bully boys have just arrived in town- Jackson has seen now he must camouflage and smear himself in the toxicity of Brexit detritus if he is to risk it all for the chocolate biscuit of Westminster and the new gravy train departing for London…

      1. Muiris says:

        Call me old fashioned, but I am uncomfortable with contributors slagging each other off. We all have blind spots in our understanding, & God knows, I can be obtuse to the point of others’ distraction, on occasion.

        I am interested in your thoughts, your reasoning, & especially your book recommendations, but decidedly uninterested in your personal comments. My ‘subscription’ to this blog may be regrettably brief.

        1. Who is slagging off who Muiris?

  5. Richard Easson says:

    Carlaw might be Scottish and might be a Conservative but the Scottish Tories suggests a party apart, somehow standing on their own two feet, proud and …well, Scottish.
    All this is bilge (I know, I used to skipper a vessel), they are all members of the Conservative and (Irish) Unionist Party , with Johnson as their leader and mouthpiece.
    There is no registered political party called the Scottish Conservative Party. Full stop.
    I don’t know what oath they took in Holyrood to serve the people of Scotland and possibly stand up for their rights, but whatever it was it seems to have fallen by the wayside ( near the ditch Johnson would rather be dead in) and is now purely default Westminster loquacity and verbiage.

  6. Derek Henry says:

    No deal brexit economic catastrophe ?

    Keep swallowing the kool aid. I suppose sound bites repeated ad nauseam every 15 mins on 24 hour news channels turn some people’s brains to paper mashe eventually.

    There is no such thing as a no deal brexit. Deals will be made after a short time on WTO rules.

    An independent Scotland has nothing to fear from a no deal Brexit. In the same way Russia had nothing to fear from sanctions. Sanctions imposed by every western country a trillion times worse than measly WTO rules. Sanctions I repeat Russia was sanctioned and used fiscal policy and monetary policy and import substitution to become stronger than ever.

    You either fall for the neoliberal globalists propaganda or you learn MMT and keep a clear head whilst the liberals of the NEO persuasion lose theirs.

    Bring on a so called no deal brexit and as soon the catastrophe has not happened. We can ask the liberals to explain why. That is why they are so hell bent on stopping it the neoliberal globalists game would be up.

    Just like they told us it would be an economic disaster if the UK did not join the Euro. It is hilarious !

    Same old,same old neoliberal globalists propaganda.

    An independent Scotland with its own central bank and currency that runs 10-15% government budget deficits. Introduced a job guarantee and does everything the SNP says it wants to do spending wise has nothing to fear from a no deal brexit. Nothing at all. Like Russia which was sanctioned we can look after ourselves thank you very much and use our own fiscal and monetary policy for public purpose. Without any need of Brussels whatsoever.

    1. john burrows says:

      The delusions and conspiracy theories of brexiteers would be a fascinating study. They rage against “globalists,” while aspiring to emulate them post Brexit. This gentleman seems to be a perfect example.

      Globalization is a natural evolution of an ever increasingly interconnected world. The harm inflicted on societies by globalization does not lie in the concept, but in its execution. Oversight and regulation of globalization, and in particular the financial sector, should be our primary focus. Not burning down the house.

      The solution is actually relatively simple – stop voting for parties who oppose regulatory oversight. In Scotland’s case, amputation from a crazed England is now the only option available to the Scots to chart a sensible path – preferably with a gateway back into the single market and customs union.

      No deal means tearing up every free trade deal Britain has negotiated within the EU for the past twenty odd years.

      The casual disregard of the dire consequences this implies, for millions of people on either side of the Brexit divide, are the actions of arsonists and sociopaths – the furthest you can get from enlightened leadership. It is particularly odious when these same arsonists and sociopaths will be completely insulated from the consequences of their actions.

      For their deluded followers, they will scream like stuck pigs when the reality of their choices come home to roost.

      For the pensioners, who provide the backbone of the Brexit movement, their children, and their childrens children, will curse their memory for generations to come for their monumental stupidity. They have set back their nation’s prosperity for decades by their actions

      History will judge them harshly for their naievity.

      But it’s harshest judgement will be reserved for the useful idiots who have led them to this tragic act of self harm.

      Your pseudo economics and conspiracy theories do not persuade. You just come accross as deranged.

      I recommend you seek professional help before your irrational fears and rage leads you down the dark path of radicalization.

      1. Derek Henry says:


        You clearly do not understand what being in the single market and customs union means. Of course you don’t because you have not even studied it. My guess is your TV tells you what to do.

        You should turn your TV and radio off and read books. It certainly sounds like understanding trade is beyond you and the words deficit and surplus has you completely fooled.

        Fiscal policy should be renationalised.

        If I was to ask you what changes are needed to make the Infrastructure of the EU work. If I was to ask you what mistakes did they make when they set it up and pushed through the Euro. My guess is you would have no idea. My guess it you would have no idea what I was talking about.

        So how on earth can you vote for or against the EU if you have simply no idea what the problem is ?

        You probably think it is fine just needs tweaked around the edges. You would wrong it needs a complete overhaul. Did you even read the Werner report in the 70’s?

        Did you listen to the governed of the Danish central bank in 1972 when he said

        ” I will begin to believe in the European economic and monetary union when someone explains how you control 9 horses all running at different speeds with the same harness”

        The very same problem exists today.

        As for a psychological study it should be done on remainers who have tried everything in the book to overturn a democratic referendum result. Some people think Scotland is independent already and should not honour the result. We are not the result should be honoured if you don’t all I can say is good luck with dealing what you will have created.

        I have wanted Indy all my life and we lost and I cried like a little baby at nearly 50 years old. However, I respected the Indy result and lost gracefully.

        I have also wanted out of the EU since Maastricht and the Lisbon treaties and I won a referendum for the very first time and you lost. So I fully expect the result to be honoured and you should learn to lose gracefully. Just because you do not like it does not give you the right to take that win away from me.

        1. john burrows says:

          Bit of contradiction to be a Scottish independence supporter and yet adhere to the one nation Tory bull. I would remind you that the Scots voted by a pretty significant majority to remain in the EU.

          But don’t fret. Your pal de Piffel will be giving it to you good and hard.

          I do take exception to the idea you have “won” anything though. Stripping people of their rights to citizenship in Europe doesn’t seem like “winning” to me.

          Then again, I’m not a deranged half wit who spends every waking moment in a towering rage over Christine Lagarde.

          On a final note, my reading skills are quite good. I’ve had plenty of time to hone them after abandoning television/radio as sources of reliable information in the late eighties.

          I must admit Herman & Chomsky’s Manufactured Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media did much to alter my point of view on these mediums. I highly recommend it to you.

          You might find it useful to escape the rabbit hole you now find yourself in.

  7. Derek Henry says:

    Of course the Junker plan was a dead duck from the get go…..

  8. Derek Henry says:

    The neoliberal globalists rag that fought so hard to stop Indy the Guardian. Has an editorial today saying use a fiscal bazooka to stop populists across Europe.

    Not to stop the car crash that has been the Euro or to help the poor or unemployed. To stop working class populists from voting against their EU empire. As if Lagarde is on the side of the working class.

    I mean how stupid to you have to be to believe these globalists are in our side?

    It is never going to happen unless they think leavers are actually going to beat the neoliberals. Then they have to change the whole structure of the EU which was flawed from the very beginning.

    Which will NEVER happen. The northern countries will never accept the changes that are needed.

    1. Wul says:


      When someone in “Comments” posts the same diatribe, no matter what the article is about, they look like a Troll. It just makes you look obsessed.

      I no longer read anything you post for this reason. I suspect others are doing the same.
      ( It is a pity because there is usually something useful in most people’s opinions)

      Best to calm your jets, make comments relevant to the article and if you have something to say about economics, explain why it is so, rather than just rubbishing opposing views; no one can learn anything from that.

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