Where will Tory party drift take us?

Where will Tory party drift take us?

by Jonathan Stanley
article from Friday 30, March, 2018

ONE YEAR TO GO until we leave the EU. No doubt this weekend the main coverage is that of the Good Friday Agreement being 20 years old. So much the better there is such an event. There's little point wasting too much time on it though, it's not as if the main parties in Northern Ireland do anymore. It was always the false compromise that both have done best out of not supporting. 

Yet 20 months after the Brexit referendum are not the Scottish Tories still to warm to the opportunities of what has been an absolute boon to them electorally? The need to get on with Brexit has quashed any zeal for a second indyref. It has at least in the short term made the Union safer, though nothing is guaranteed forever.

The issue is a simple one. The party has become very centralised and personality driven and when faced with the crapshoot of a tightly fought referendum the instinct, or lack of, led the party to double down on one position and in ways felt personally by many. There was no hedge, no swift embrace of the result.

Instead we have had the party be as obviously grudgingly faithful in body but not spirit regarding our relative independence. While this may in the eyes of some make the party more focused to Scotland, the reality is there is no happy medium across our country. There have been two electoral groups emerging in the UK party for a while now. Ruth no doubt is well aware of this but now finds herself on the outside. For instance, while Hunt and others have swung swiftly behind Brexit others have not. 

Either through bitterness – or a belief that Brexit can be stopped – they are lining up for the party to drift even further away. Maybe this is the plan, to slowly edge out of the Tory mainstream to the point where they, like Canada or New Zealand, become independent in all but a shared figurehead. As the Apostle Luke would say if he were here today,

"There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Rees-Mogg and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you yourselves are thrown out."

At some point we must accept either that to be an ordinary member of the Scottish party is meaningless in regards to the direction we take or else we must have a serious debate over what our mission is. 

To be unionist and effectively reject the union's will to leave the EU decisively will not rest well in the minds of those who votes we should consider very soft indeed. Fishing is a talisman of Brexit but in the end not central. Our borders, migration, trade, economic policy and culture are. Here the UK Government is backsliding so carelessly it makes Norman Wisdom on ice look serene. 

Maybe then Ruth is right? That it is better never to have loved at all than to have loved and lost so easily?

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