Why Jackson Carlaw is worth the wait

Why Jackson Carlaw is worth the wait

by Iain McGill
article from Thursday 30, January, 2020

WELL, ballot papers have landed... time for waverers and haverers to decide where to put their cross, and who’s going to lead us into next years elections... and beyond!

We’ve two strong candidates with very different pitches this year. Last time we ran this exercise, in 2011, we had four strong candidates with very, very different pitches, and here’s a blog I wrote at the time.

Some of my thoughts on Jackson from 2011 still are true today - I said then that Jackson Carlaw was blowing the members away at our hustings up and down the country. I was part of the team live blogging for ToryHoose at the hustings – a short lived but quality blog – and when we tested reactions as to who had performed best at the hustings it was always Jackson.

This has carried on into this election where, at the hustings I attended, Jackson used his experience, determination and humour to charm the audience and win the undecideds over. His determination particularly clear on the need to go full tilt at the imminent election with message discipline, and that there’s no time for the insular navel gazing that other parties are going through as they struggle for a voice, a vision, a new enhanced role for the members. We’re a year away from putting the SNP back in their box and killing their indyref2 dreams off for good. Party structures can wait.

Michelle courageously opened with a long quote from Labour’s Donald Dewar, who many in the room remember well as someone we campaigned hard against; faced questions about an interview she had given where she said she had not always voted Conservative; said she could back an electoral pact with Labour; spoke about how she would lead a group of MSPs colleagues none of whom backed her; and the next day was front page of newspapers in Scotland for saying Climate Change could be good for Scotland.

This leads to a second reason why I’m backing Jackson – he’s been tested, and stood up to the test.

I’ve been a candidate under many leaders – Howard, Cameron, May, Boris, McLetchie, Goldie, Davidson. The leader makes a difference. What they say and do on the telly makes a difference. Poor old Mrs.May – the words strong and stable still give me the fear. 

Jackson played a blinder at the last election. It makes it easier for the candidates when we’re not having to try to defend our leaders blunders or robotic performances on the big debate the night before.

Jackson can be trusted. And he campaigned hard up and down the country. And we overperformed. We started the election facing down the barrel of polls and stories like this  – “Boris Johnson’s Conservatives face a wipe-out in Scotland if a general election is called, with all 13 of the party’s seats north of the border set to fall to the SNP amid widespread rejection of his “do or die” Brexit message, according to new polling.”

Instead we got our 2nd best result in 25years in Scotland. Boris, Jackson, candidates, activists and our central office team earned it by putting in the hard yards.

We’re ready to go again in 2021 and under Jackson we’ll do well. My 2nd choice in 2011 has become my first choice in 2020 – but politics is a long game, I hope he was worth the wait!

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