The Tories Are Coming

It’s a Tory surge…they’re going to have more MPs…hunners and hunners o’ them…The bonfires are being lit on the hilltops and the message of despair is sweeping up the length of the country – the Tory Army is coming, led by Mad Dog ‘Fluffy’ Mundell. Bury the silver. Herd the ewes into the forest. Hide the portrait of Chairlie under the boards.

The opinion polls may just be having fun with us but I suspect not. The tsunami of 2015 has abated somewhat and the survivors are regrouping. Their dam wall is built around the candidate with the best chance of resisting the next flood and, like all walls, it will have partial success. There will be scattered remains after the torrent has passed. In places it will be the SNP who will be swept away – Aberdeenshire? Moray? Perthshire? The Borders? MPs will be lost, some of them no doubt pals. It’s a precarious business. Those streams of votes that float some and sink others are the arteries of democracy itself – for better or worse. Just ask Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry.

But need we despair? Some argue it is crucial to resist these upstarts and give no succour to the imminent majority down south – one I think we will soon be safe in categorising as a One-Party State…But not me. There are a number of reasons why, strategically, what will be seen and reported in dutiful lapdog Scottish Press mode as a Tory Revival, is good for Yes.

First of all, if it proves correct and a handful of Conservative MPs make it to Westminster, how did they get there? Primarily because of the collapse of Labour is the answer in most cases. The Tories are still bumping along with little more support than they had in Thatcher’s day – it will most likely go higher but it is struggling to reach the levels one expects of a traditional and strong opposition. In other words around 30 per cent.

The Tories are relying on the disaffected from other parties to back them for one last tilt at resistance before the inevitable. People are frightened of what is coming – self-government. We should never underestimate how profound is the contempt of our fellow Scots for what we like to call our nation. The idea that it might be self-governing with no outside help from emotional props they rest on – reassuring Radio 4, Big Ben, public school sang froid and good manners – has them palpitating. They will vote for the BNP if it will halt the Scot Nats. And even where the Tories don’t lie second, you have to give Ruthie credit for claiming the mantle of No Surrender Unionist-in-Chief. She has claimed the copyright on the Union in spite of performing screeching handbrake turns on everything else.

For the SNP the heart murmur that represents Labour shows how they have successfully taken on and crushed what was only a handful of years ago, a monster rearing above all else on the political landscape. This is an historical triumph. Labour may not be in decline so much as slipping into the grave, to disappear for ever. Now I would in all circumstances always prefer a Labour government in London to a Tory one, even under Jeremy. But I no longer vote for a government in London. It is of secondary importance to me. And I of secondary importance to them.

The key point to recall is that with either no MP at all (1997) or a single MP since, the Tories have only had the moral ability to control Scotland utilising the support of Labour Unionists. If Labour had truly put socialist ideals before party advantage – and their innate hatred of Nationalists – they would have opposed the Tories rigorously and threatened to opt for separation if their demands weren’t met. Instead they became the facilitators of Tory excess in Scotland with the apotheosis coming in the greatest single miscalculation in the history of Labour – the 2014 Better Together campaign. They held Scotland back and were appalled at what the people made of their Holyrood parliament (backing real powers and rejecting the pastiche of Scottish democracy Labour intended).

So the death of Labour removes from the field the one thing that has confused the picture – a left-of-centre pro-devolutionary party directly connected to the seat of power at Westminster. Without Labour, the games board is stark and unequivocal – progressive independence versus doctrinaire, anti-European right-wingery.

This is the ground on which the SNP can fight along with any other progressive independistas like the Greens. The logic is that, once the right-wing Labour voters have scurried off to vote Tory, those that are left have little choice to resist draconian neo-con policies except by voting for independence parties. Or, of course, not voting at all.

And, when taking on the Tories, the one thing you need is to present them as truly difficult enemy. That’s near impossible when they don’t have more than a single MP in Scotland – like trying to demonise Corbyn, it’s not easy when nobody takes him seriously. However, if there are 10 or a Dirty Dozen popping up on telly and making a noise, on a screen near you, the scare factor is palpable. They become an identifiable opponent that demands to be opposed, rather than something that happens far away in England.

The other advantage is that they will finally face the kind of scrutiny that they avoid today because the media is happy to connive at the idea that Davidson is somehow not responsible for policy-making at Westminster so can body-swerve awkward questions. Just see how uncomfortable she is over the rape clause. With a small platoon of MPs, no studio can be avoided, no question dismissed. Accountability returns.

Those of you who remember the 80’s and early nineties will recall the dwindling band of Tory MPs who held on in the last redoubts of Britnat loyalty in Scotland. Some were eccentric, some were stark raving bonkers and the grotesque image they presented deeply damaged the brand. Something similar could happen again judging by the standard of recruitment evident in their MSP selection. It doesn’t take the public long to realise they are being sold a pup.

All this, remember, against the background of an overwhelming SNP majority of, proportionately, four to one. Whatever the actual number of Tories returned, it will be marginal, leaving yet again a massive number of SNP members representing a massive mandate for independence – one that will be heard loud and clear in Brussels even if it is again ignored in London.

And doesn’t that then open up the idea laid out in the Bateman Broadcasting podcast this week on Newsnet.

It is that, instead of waiting for a request for a referendum to be met, the Scottish government calls a general election when we know the outcome of the Brexit talks, in under two years time. It says to the Scots: This is your chance. Either you follow the mad Tories down the road to ruin or you stay in Europe by voting for our independence. And that is our mandate.

With a clutch of Tory MPs making that dread future all too real for us, enough Scots will open their eyes to the trap the Union has become and finally trust themselves to run their own country.

A Tory revival? Bring it on.

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37 thoughts on “The Tories Are Coming

  1. What a dreadful thought, 1 Tory is 1 too many.

  2. Thanks for this positive view on what many of us think would be a very depressing scenario.

    Know your enemy and they can be defeated.

  3. The Labour branch office in Scotland was always going to be cut to pieces in the constitutional cross-fire between the SNP and the Tories. A few die hards like Hothersall will continue to do their Monty Python ‘s Black Knight impression for evermore, but I sense a few Labour stalwarts – McLeish et al, will probably cross over to the indy side.

    But most importantly, as Mr Bateman says, a pillar of Unionism i.e the Labour Party, has been swept from the board in Scotland. In my lifetime, growing up in a Scotland dominated by Labour for decades, I never thought I’d see that.

    • Ah! Henry McLiesh again.
      Come on Henry, we all know you want to, your gagging to. Finally grow a set and nail your colours to the mast of the good ship independence before you are forever lost.
      As they say in ‘Game of Thrones’ “winter is coming”- don’t get caught on the wrong side of the wall Henry!!!!

  4. Ruth summed it up perfectly when she asked Nicola Sturgeon at FMQs ” do you agree with Joan McAlpines view ” an enhanced Tory majority presents the real prospect of Hell on earth for scotland ” .

    Simple answer too bloody true it does, no one will be safe from your gang of Cheats & Liars ruth ,

    The Labour party are in real danger of summoning in decades of real hardship for all not just their supporters by once again being the lapdog of the most right wing tory party ever seen , all this just to halt the SNP and assist a Tory party whose policies would have made even Maggie blush .
    Defending a Union that even they can see doesn’t work and this blind hatred of the SNP has muddled their thinking , if they allow themselves to be used by this vile tory party once again despite of the serious damage done to them in being used as their cheerleaders in 2014 , guarantees and accelerates their total extinction .We dont need Two Tory Parties one is bad enough thanks very much Kezia .

  5. As I get older (OUCH) but then I want to keep getting older I am becoming more politically aware.

    In the 60’s I did not care too much BUT did plaster the London Tube (every carriage I traveled in) with “It’s Scotland Oil Stickers”.

    Of course I detested Milk Snatcher for the Poll Tax and Barbara Castle for imposing the 70 MPH speed limit BUT that was about it. Politics was really none of my business.

    NOW of course I am much more interested in seeing Scotland Independent with our own politicians, hopefully some better quality ones, though our present FM is a really great politician IMHO, more of the same please.

    BUT many things have changed the young are more into politics than I ever was so hopefully we can make Scotland a (London) Tory free zone and ASAP please as I cant really keep getting older.

  6. Thomas Valentine

    So does Labour sink to the LibDem level or hang around the 12 to 15%. At which point are you down to the die hards and senile pensioners in a nursing home getting “help from a man to fill in their votin slip”. What I mean I watched an old woman walk out of a chemist’s with her prescriptions and get on the same bus as me. She mouthed off to her pal about Salmond and then called me a fucking liar when I said she should thank him for her free prescription. They seem convinced Labour is still that of the 1960s and 70s. I think it would take a nuclear war to change their minds.

    • ronald alexander mcdonald

      You’re right, but the real Labour collapse will come about after the GE, when as expected, they get slaughtered. I mean absolutely slaughtered!

      I suspect the consequence will be the formation of a new party. Bear in mind the Scottish branch office and their die hard supporters take their orders/are influenced by head office.

    • Thomas, you are spot on.
      When driving my taxi I come across this daily and almost always from the plus65 group.
      They fall into the group who have always voted Labour but have no idea whatsoever what Labour actually is anymore. They have no knowledge or interest in what is going on and Jackie Burd and the daily record is the only source of info getting to them.
      In conversation with them they do honestly believe that all the free stuff they get, apart from being an absolute entitlement, is courtesy of their beloved Labour Party.
      They are completely resistant to the fact that it’s the SNP they can thank for their “sweeties”.
      Their level of ignorance on what is actually happening is depressing.
      I’m always bouyed however when engaged by an OAP who is clued up and pro indy, and there are more of this number than we think.
      I believe it’s vitally important for the pro Indy youngsters out there who don’t do the MSM to engage their parents and grandparents with the facts that they will never find through the MSM.
      On a final note, I always find that the older generations of no voters are very uncomfortable, when it’s pointed out to them Thatcher would be very proud of them today with regards to their “me first” and “screw everybody else” attitude, and the fact that large numbers of them will consider voting Tory after all they’ve lived through but seem to have conveniently forgotten.
      Tory or Indy, nothing else anymore!!!!!!

      • That’s because they are the generation that voted thatcher in so they could buy there council house. The war kids and post war kids, the generation that had everything handed to them, full employment, an NHS and state pension social housing etcetc. And that same generation started the sell of of our national assists with houses. If you where born between 1940-1950 you where the generation that had it all

  7. For as long as Labour were a viable force in Scotland and the rest of the UK, they could always present themselves as the ‘shield’ to the worst excesses of Tory government. Now that Labour are going the way of the Titanic, that argument now holds about as much water as the Titanic.

    It’s a straight shoot-out between the SNP and the Tories, and the Labour grass roots will have to pick a side.

  8. Latest Survation and Panelbase polls of GE voting intentions in Scotland put Tories on 30% and 33% respectively. The Tory surge is real.

    Where is it coming from? Labour has collapsed to about 15%, so the conclusion you have to come to is that LARGE numbers of Labour voters, no doubt propelled jointly by their visceral hatred of the SNP and disillusionment with Corbyn, have now switched to Tory.

    Labour switchers may simply be terrified of independence and continue to see the union as a security blanket despite all warning signs of the opposite as it is the UK that is threatening our economic prospertiy. It is the UK that is intent on removing worker and environmental protections. It is the UK that is bringing a snap election. It is the UK that is threatening stability. But these people are not critical thinkers. They just follow the herd.

    The other Labour switchers must simply be the folk that hate the SNP so much they would rather have a Tory government even if it made them far worse off.

    It’s really depressing.

  9. When I was a Labour voter more than two decades ago, I did not harbour any enmity towards the SNP and in fact, often voted tactically for them, seeing them as useful allies. With the advent of Tony Blair, I quit Labour in disgust and became convinced that independence was the only lifeboat left for those who believed in a better future. I know I was not alone in making that journey and also know that those who left, also considered Labour had become a lost cause.

    The point that I am making, is that those left behind who continued to vote Labour, were apparently able to reconcile themselves to the rightward drift of New Labour. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Labour were simply aligning themselves with those now right-leaning Labour voters who had been beneficiaries of social advances made by (mainly) Labour governments post-war. They seemed content to have the ladders pulled up behind them, denying future generations the same opportunities. Far from feeling priviledged beneficiaries they often display smug entitlement.

    In short, these people have been Tories in all but name for some time. Their hatred of the SNP is nothing to do with any residual loyalty to Labour, since they long ago were happy to abandon its principles. It is exactly the same attitude shown through the generations by the comfortable and well-established towards anyone who would seem to challenge their position. Tories often used to point with cynicism at the determination of many trade unionists to maintain their ‘differentials’ with other workers. It was an attitude which they understood too well. What we are witnessing in the hatred of the SNP and the willingness to vote Tory is therefore depressingly familiar and simply what we should have expected from these remaining Labour voters, many of them formerly staunch trade unionists.

  10. My sister was a No voter. We tend to avoid a subject that would provoke profound disagreements for family’s sake. Probed her gently today though about why support for Tories in Scotland now 33% according to Panelbase. And that this support can only be coming from ex-Labour voters, as the same survey put Labour on about 16%.

    And her view was because they didn’t think Labour was the safe anti-SNP anti-independence option – because there were those in the Labour Party who were for independence.

    But, I said, the position of the Scottish Labour Party is clear, so why not vote for Labour rather than the Tories if you are opposed to independence? Why not vote for the Lib Dems? They are also for dependence. She said she didn’t know.

    But I was surprised at her answer that those who want to preserve the union at all costs wouldn’t vote for Labour because they sniffed Scottish Labour had pro-Indy undercurrents.

    Derek blogged the other day that the SNP should go into this election on an independence ticket, but speaking to her, it reminded me that for some folk their opposition to independence is so profound they would abandon their other political principles just for the safety of the union. Even to the extent of voting Tory.

    So I think the cautious ‘don’t scare the horses’ position the SNP has so far adopted it probably the right one, and if they go into this election gung-ho for Indy we will get slaughtered.

    Someone once said, ‘All war is deceit’. I know the Scots and the SNP want to be whiter than white, but sometimes it just leads to disaster and wipe out.

    • Dave McEwan Hill

      I am sorry but I profoundly disagree – as I do with many who purport to support independence but talk us down all the time. Independence support is hovering around the 50% mark. We will not get “slaughtered” and I suspect if we can get the young folk out to vote we will do very well. All that is happening is that the diminishing unionist vote is being redistributed. If the Tories get 30% and Labour drops to single figures nothing will have changed and our progress continues. I have been shouting Scotland v the Tories for a couple of years and that is where we are going. If SNP and Greens achieve 50% or more the mandate we already have for referendum is underlined.
      And the opinion polls? Before the last election they were suggesting we might smash through and get 35 – 40 seats. We got 56.

  11. Labour yoons, the older brits generation from the late 40s, early 50s, who did national service etc, are going for broke, the last ditch of yoonionism.
    The Queen et al, these people have been conditioned.
    Labour for Indy will secede from the branch.
    If we are to be Tories due to these renegades nd controlled by English Westminster Tories, then it will be the last.
    However, there is a second sinister fifth column is Scotland, the LibDems. The are sotto voce westminsterites who went into partnership with Cameron. For them Westminster comes first too!!
    Sleekit they are.

  12. My sister pointed out that 56 SNP MPs had been unable to deliver anything much for Scotland. (We might argue they still achieved more than 56 Labour MPs would ever have done, but that’s another matter). I take her point that 56 against 600 is a futile exercise. We have no traction. We have watched as SNP bills have been routinely ignored even on innocuous subjects nothing to do with Indy. The message is clear. You can sit your bums on our green seats but we’re not going to play with you. Not going to listen to you. Unless you are from a British party you might as well go home. You are wasting your time.

    Her point is that unless the Tories have some MPs in Scotland and something to fight for, they are never going to give us anything. We have no political leverage. There is a bleak logic to her point. And if she (a life long Labour voter) can think that then so can others. I have no idea how she is actually going to vote. My question to her was what did she think was going on with this 33%, half of whom must be ex-Labour voters.

  13. What I can’t get my head around is, what so t of person is a Tory voter? Do you believe in inequality, do you believe the disabled, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, those with 3 children should be punished? Do you believe the rich should be made richer and the poor poorer? Do you really blame immigrants for problems in employment, the NHS, Schools? Do you think everything should be privatised so that profits go to the oligarchs rather than the citizenry? Do you believe we should have been (and continue) to be fighting wars in almost every year for decades?

    I truly believe the tories are the vilest of the vile and cannot fathom why Scots would support them.

    And Derek, who are these penetrating tv interviewers who are going to put the Tories on the rack?

  14. We really just have to get the vote out amongst the young and in the schemes. What scares me is that the middle class and pensioners will turn out and nobody else.

  15. It was a Tory adviser some years ago who made the observation, which Tories understood, that what the voters thought when alone in the voting booth did not really always correlate to reasons they would admit to outside. In other words people will often conceal their real motivation for voting as they do and give other more “respectable” reasons. Perhaps this is why when someone presents their arguments for voting, as in this coming election or for that matter in the indyref, it quite often sounds unconvincing to me and can even be downright puzzling.

    He then went on to say that this coyness often concealed the fact that voters rarely voted out of altruism (remember, he was a Tory) but that saying they mainly voted out of self-interest was too simplistic. It is more nuanced to say that when voters had to make their choice, of course they would wish to vote to serve their own self-interest, but if they could not actually improve their own position by that vote then their next motivation would be to vote for whoever would disadvantage others in relation to themselves. That might account for the strange outbreak of old-fashioned flag-waving Unionism in the Labour party as an attempted cover for their actual motivation – and that might be true of their voters also.

    Our main problem then seems to be to persuade those voters that they could advance their whole society and thus, also tthemselves, by independence but so far, “all of us first” does not seem to have much of an appeal for these voters. In times of Tory-instituted austerity these voters willing to vote Tory, seem primarily motivated to holdi on to what they’ve got and leave the rest to whatever fate WM has planned for them, having faith that the Tories will protect them at least, as they believe the WM parties have always done, protecting house-owners and the housing market.

  16. Brilliant take, Derek, on a wee drizzle of Scots Tory MPs.

    To appreciate just how sickeningly nauseous dog shit is, you really have to step on one; get up close with it in all its gory. Same with Scots Tories. Their ‘durty bastertness’ is currently too remote and rare.

    Reminding people just what Tories embody, will be a timely reminder to get the people clinging to the faint belief that the Titanic cannot sink, scrambling to the lifeboats.

    On that note I will sleep very soundly. Thank you very much, kind sir.

  17. Neatly done Derek.

    This really does need to be read.

  18. We will know soon enough at the council elections how many bampots there are in Scotland. I suspect the Tories will get 21% but control of zip councils. As for the GE they might get 19% but I expect the SNP to outclass them on the day. The Rape clause, the criminal charges and their vile leader in Scotland. Will push many switherers to back the SNP in the end.

    So my prediction for what it’s worth as it’s a bit of fun.

    SNP – 49% – 53 Mps
    Tories- 21% – 4 MPS Roxburgh,Dumfries ,Aberdeen South, possibly Eastwood
    Labour – 17%- 0 MPS
    Libs – 9% – 2 MPS Shetland – other not sure possible
    Greens others- 5%

  19. I don’t expect any serious examination of Yoon MPs whatever their colour by our obsequious Press and Media Derek. I do not share your optimism on that. We are in the midst of two election campaigns and there is virtually zero scrutiny of the Yoons. If aren’t going to get that scrutiny in an election campaign then we aren’t going to get it in peace time or with any Referendum in the offing.

    It is up to us in the Yes movement to highlight just how vile and evil the Yoons are. It will be up to us alone pretty much.

  20. Richard MacKinnon

    I am at a loss to understand why the SNP do not take the GE as a massive opportunity.
    The back ground:- Brexit has been forced upon Scotland against our wishes. Theresa May has called the GE to strengthen her negotiating hand. Ruth Davidson is calling the GE ‘the chance to stop indeyref2.’ Tories north and south therefore see the GE as a constitutional tool.
    Why does the SNP not do the same?
    The SNP manifesto should have, must have, one simple statement on it; ‘A vote for the SNP is a vote for the Scottish government to negotiate independence with the next Westminster government.’ Nothing else. If a majority of (30) seats are returned then that is the SNPs mandate to progress independence.
    This is exactly what Margaret Thatcher said the SNP had to do to win independence, win a majority of Scottish seats. No more no less.
    Why is this not the main topic of conversation on nationalists websites and in the national press? Why is Nicola Sturgeon not running with this? If the SNP do not take this opportunity and prevaricate, not only will they have missed a golden opportunity, maybe the last, they will have let all their supporters and members alive and dead.
    Am I missing something here? Please don’t tell me that the SNP machine prefers to evade the issue rather than risk a few seats?

  21. The BBC website has a story about Mr French-gate Carmichael obligingly omitting he was labelled a liar in court , the BBC Chose to describe this liars court appearance and remarks of the judges as ” the Judges were critical of his conduct ” they also omit that he has to cover his own legal costs hardly a winning result . Also missing was the cost of an enquiry over one million pounds , this could have been avoided if this Liar had owned up earlier to something he knew fine well he was guilty of ..
    The same piece manages to point out with links , and no less than three times , ( no doubt for the people suffering short term memory loss & shortsightedness ) The SNP have not selected Ms McGarry & Ms Thomson , this reference has obligingly been a feature in every singe story about the coming election . once or twice maybe but every single story it then begins to look like a pattern developing from our ever fair and neutral national broadcaster , who would have thought it .

  22. Sorry Derek but this is just another foray into journalistic la la land. Each Tory vote, every extra Tory MP is a setback for Scotland.

    As to your fantasy that if there are more of the bastards, they’ll be properly scrutinised (“no studio can be avoided, no question dismissed. Accountability returns.”) just which planet is that going to happen on? BBC Mars?

  23. There’s forever a unionist plot to break away parts of Scotland: the Shetlands, or Mundell’s part of The Borders.

    With remain voters unrepresented, there’s a golden opportunity for the SNP to make some forays into English constituencies. The Lib Dems haven’t a fraction of the credibility, particularly in opposition to the Tories.

    Newcastle voted Remain, for example:

    http : //

  24. For me in the coming GE I will ask my local candidates one simple question – do you believe Scotland should have less independence than Jersey (population 100,000); Man (population 88,000); Gibraltar (population 30,000); Guernsey (population 60,000); Alderney (population 1900); Sark (population 600); or Herm (population 60)?

    Because that is the reality of what is on offer from the Tories, (Not) Labour and the LieDems and if that is what our fellow Scots are prepared to vote for then heaven help us all.

  25. Richard MacKinnon

    How come comments are published after I sent mine?

  26. it appears the Tory party used today’s debate to continue Electioneering , the excuse used in defence of the controversial ” rape clause ” was the economy ! .yeh to save a few bob the Tories will go to any length Heep any embarrassment on any benefit claimant in the remote chance they will be so bloody fed up they wont complete the multi page begging letter they will be presented with .
    I really dont know how to put into words my utter disgust of this revolting party , and the totally repugnant people who now infest it .
    Any Labour supporter who votes for them better be prepared to explain their actions to their children .

  27. Interesting post Derek. As for the Tory “revival”, even if they win a few seats, can they beat the 11 seats they had in the General Election of 1992? If they don’t get at least this number of seats, will this be a “slap down”, a “humiliation”, a “get back to the day job”, a “forget separation from EU” for May?

    What could be a first for me in my lifetime, will be if the Nasty Party actual achieve more seats in Scotland than Labour. That is something I could never have considered, as even a remote possibility, a few short years ago. A far right wing extremist Tory party, promoting little britain isolationism, outguns Labour in Scotland. It could actually happen!

  28. I’ve not read every comment, so,sorry if my feelings have been expressed.
    I can’t wait – if there are going to be Tory MPs from Scotland and it is a Tory majority- for the first EVEL vote!
    Such sweet revenge. X number of Tories from Scotland not being able to vote with their party? Such humiliation. As Derek says- bring it on.

  29. Actually the Tories will finally give the strong pro Union opposition SLAB have failed to offer to the SNP and they will be joined by a few more LDs too. Coupled with the fact that polls show No still as strong now as it was in 2014, indeed in some polls even stronger, plus of course the stronger the Tories are the more May will have grounds to refuse an official indyref2 and she will do exactly that

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