Hug a Tory Day

by Elias Blum

The idea that ‘there are no Tories in Scotland’ is as ridiculous as it is false. The Tory vote in Scotland is fairly small, but remarkably solid: there’s a stable 15 to 20% of the population who are convinced and committed Tories. As the Labour and the LibDem votes collapse, and as former Labour voters increasingly move to the SNP, we should see the Tories some out of the 2015 general election relatively well. Whether they will win any seats or not I don’t know, but their vote-share should hold or slightly increase.

Much as I disagree with the Tories on the their core philosophy and in particular on their economic, fiscal and welfare policies, I’ve often thought that the Tories would do rather well out of independence. If only they were able to embrace independence (dropping the ‘Unionist’ part of their name and committing themselves to working under the constitutional rules of an independent Scottish state), they would lose their ‘anti-Scottish’ pariah status and would appeal to rural social conservatives who are turned off by the SNP’s relentless ‘progressivism’ as well as acting as the political brokers of establishment / business interests. If they were able to maintain a position of moderate and pragmatic conservatism, and to avoid the harsh doctrinaire Hayakism of some of their southern brethren, they could become an important countervailing and critical voice in an independent Parliament – and potentially even a coalition partner in an independent Scottish Government.

(I’m not sure how much I like the idea of Tories in government in Scotland, but I’ve always said that an independent state has to be a state for all its citizens, and that rightfully includes Tories as well as everyone else.)