Monday, 24 May 2010

Feeling Blue and Rudderless Under the Goldie Tide

"There is no-one in charge. We need to have someone who is in charge of the Conservative party in Scotland, preferably elected by the membership.

"The membership and the constituencies have been allowed to atrophy. The branches have disappeared. There's no real link between the voluntary side of the party and the MSPs."

So said former conservative Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth yesterday, which won't be good news for Annabel Goldie with less than a year until the Scottish elections. Although some party insiders said it was the "memory of Lord Forsyth in government" that was affecting Tory performance at elections in Scotland.

But there were questions about a name change in Scotland (Scottish Reform anyone), a separation from the party in England and a clear out of the leadership. Goldie as leader in Holyrood, David McLetchie (the former leader) as campaign director and Andrew Fulton as Chairman.

Paul McBride QC echoed the rudderless message when he said:

"The problem was that we spent large amounts of money but there was no clear leader who had powers to hire and fire, make strategic decisions and have a say on who stood as candidates.

"We had people working for us having to report to three or four different people and that was unacceptable."

I'll agree there did appear to be a large amount of money spent even out here in Linlithgow and East Falkirk. I have to say that all that money didn't tell me anything about the Tory's policies.

There was also disquiet about some of the older member of their Holyrood team Mary Scanlon, 60, Nanette Milne 68, Ted Brocklebank, 67 and Sir Jamie McGrigor, 60 who have been elected on the list not for a constituency. Some are saying they should be removed from the party list for next year and others are calling for a two strikes and you're out policy.

Sounds like disarray in the Scottish part of a party that is governing from Westminster and doesn't sound like a winning formula for anywhere in just over 11 months time.

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