Monday, 4 April 2011

The Tories in Scotland are different

I originally posted this as a comment on The Green Benches blog.  It is a good blog.  You will find a link on my blogroll to the right hand side.

I think the Tories in Scotland are less concerned about being anti-EU and anti immigration than down south.

Many of the young Turks are interested in Euro scepticism and love characters like Dan Hanan but it just doesn't matter to them as much. UKIP barely register a ripple north of the border after all.

They aren't and cannot be Little Englanders.

Their belief in Britishness is strong. As the generations pass and the Second World War goes into the past so this dissipates somewhat but it is central to who they are.

One thing which stands out - I believe is class - I perceive the Tories in Scotland as being very much the party of many of the professional classes in Edinburgh and Glasgow, of people who were educated privately there, of well to do folks of rural Borders and Perthshire. As such they are a group who many Scots struggle to relate to and have become a small party marginalised to some extent.

The theme of localism that has been suggested that runs like a schism in Scottish politics - localism v statism. They love their communities. Wedded to Britishness they may well be but they are proud Scots too.

This sense of community and localism means they are less idealistic about small government and low taxes than their English counterparts. this also helps explain why they seem to have a narrower social mix than the Tories down south.

I sense many of the Tories in Scotland are socially quite conservative. The family, community, lack of political correctness and a residual element of the deferential society and belief in institutions is there. You highlight the connection with the forces,

Of course the 80s and Thatcher saw them seriously marginalised in Scotland becoming toxic under FPTP ensuring a tactical allegiance against them everywhere.

They seem to be uneasy bedfellows with the SNP and I think they are more right wing than you say Eoin. They are also unionists and not separatists and not all even convinced about devolution.

Nonetheless the SNP seem unlikely to deliver separatism producing a loose left of centre non socialist alternative to labour. The Tories are uneasy about their lefty-ness but they can unite against the Labour establishment.

In fact with the SNP having a loose belief in 'fairness' they occupy some of the space the LibDems occupy - especially down south - though they have good pockets of support in central Scotland too. It seems almost like a Con/LibDem coalition united against conservative, tribal,established Labour - who are rather - well - dull!

So an uneasy relationship but perhaps the SNP offer the Tories a cloak under which to do things, a chance - the only chance - to beat Labour and help in the long march back from the margins and being perceived as non Scottish.

Gavin

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