Monday, 5 September 2011

Murdo Fraser shot at the Scots Tory startline

I love the Daily Record editorial this morning (I didn't write it) on the Scottish Tory makeover that Murdo Fraser is proposing.

"To most of us Cif is still Jif, a Snickers is a Marathon, Katie Price is Jordon and the Tories will always be the Tories."

Given the reaction to Fraser's audacious plan it looks like the frontrunner may have shot himself in both feet at the startline.

Just as he was about to launch his candidacy Jack Harvie, the main funder of the Scottish Tories, said he'd go on strike if Fraser won and binned the Tory party.

Fraser says he can find other financiers but suddenly Ruth Davidson, who put in an excellent performance on the Today programme this morning, looks like a good bet.

Whether Fraser's overstated reforms get going is a matter for the Scottish Tories alone, Conservative Central Office says it is staying well clear. But it is hard to see, from this end of the telescope, how a Conservative Prime Minister fighting to save the United Kingdom could go campaigning in Scotland for a party he would no longer be a member of.

With the Independence option inching ahead in the Herald opinion poll today - 39% for to 38% against - Alex Salmond can only be laughing as his opponents split themselves asunder.

Labour shouldn't mock the Tories too loudly given that their own Scottish party might have to go through the same devolutionary transformation in the next month and detach itself from the main UK party. Anyway, Labour prays at night for a Scottish Tory revival to take some votes and some seats away from the mighty SNP.

Right now the SNP is cruising - no date names no questions unveiled - while the other parties try to get their arguments in a row.

The mischievous George Foulkes is making a play tomorrow in the Lords to "seize the initiative" and force referendum on Scottish independence by 2013.

Lord Foulkes, a former Scotland Office Minister and former MSP, is tabling a series of amendments to the Scotland Bill, one of which will require the Coalition to hold a referendum within two years of the legislation being enacted.

Foulkes explains his bold plan thus: "Salmond has been getting away with far too much and should not be making the running. We can do that by exercising our constitutional right."

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