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My ten point plan to keep the Tories toxic

April 29, 2017 7:27 PM
78 41

1 Local election lift off. All the opinion polls and local by-elections point to a landslide for the SNP on Friday's local elections. Labour are expected to lose four councils including its last bastion, Glasgow. Theresa May called on Scots to use the locals to “send a message” that they don't want an independence referendum. If so the message is going to be that Scots continue to support the party of independence. There could be no better start to the SNP’s general election campaign.

2 Rape Clause. Nicola Sturgeon should keep up the pressure on Ruth Davidson over the two child policy which has placed the Scottish Tories firmly on the defensive in Holyrood. The First Minister has a very wide following among women in Scotland and the SNP should hammer home that it is ordinary women who are bearing the brunt of the Tory welfare reforms. Ruth Davidson's claim that the Scottish parliament has the power to compensate the victims of measures like the rape clause, while technically correct, seems to most voters like an attempt to divert attention from a morally unsustainable policy over which the Scottish parliament has no control.

3 The Nicola Factor. The First Minister was the star of the 2015 general election. She was for a time the most popular leader in the entire UK, and in Scotland could hardly walk down the street without being besieged by admirers demanding selfies. She hasn’t lost her charisma, especially on TV. The fact that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are hiding in their caves and refusing to do debates could be a great opportunity for her to maximise TV coverage of her brand of soft-left nationalism. But the BBC must not allow the Tories and Labour to lock down the election by their no-show tactics.

4 Queen May. Scottish voters need to be reminded that every vote for the Tories is a vote, not for Ruth Davidson but for Theresa May. The Prime Minister's “me me me” approach is already beginning to grate as is her contempt for parliament, and her vainglorious claim that only she can provide “strong and stable government”. May seems to be adopting the imperious mantle of Margaret Thatcher and she could be in power for another decade. Scots haven't forgotten the Iron Lady, but they could do with being reminded about her in a few selected billboards.

5 Election for Sale. This snap election is beginning to look like a panic reaction to the imminent charging, by the police, of up to 30 Tory MPs for breaking election expenses laws. Lacking a large membership in 2015, the Tories took to bussing activists around marginal constituencies, rather like flying pickets during the miners strike. The unlawful expenses incurred in this exercise led to the Tories being fined £70,000 by the Electoral Commission after its biggest-ever investigation. Nicola Sturgeon has made the running on the expenses scandal so far, and she should keep up the pressure.

6 Brexit. Scotland voted 62% Remain – and one of the most articulate spokespeople for staying in the EU was one Ruth Davidson. The SNP should keep on at her to justify her support for hard Brexit. Scottish farmers need to know what happens to their £500m in agricultural subsidies. Universities are losing students and staff. Tens of thousands of EU nationals doing valuable work in Scotland still have no secure future. Standard Life, the insurance firm that threatened to leave Scotland after a Yes vote, is now planning to move operations to Dublin. Ruth Davidson was right the first time: leaving the EU is a disaster.

7 Now is not the time. Theresa May should not be allowed to get away with her hypocrisy in calling this election after saying “now was not the time” for indyref2. This election is not directly about independence, but it is about Scotland’s constitutional future. Nicola Sturgeon’s attempt to retain Scotland's relations with the single market has been bluntly rejected by the Brexit Secretary, David Davis. The European Union President Donald Tusk has confirmed that a reunited Ireland would automatically become a member of the EU if it voted Yes in a border referendum. The claim that Scotland would be blocked from membership of the EU if it had voted Yes in 2014 was always bogus. The SNP should portray that false prospectus as part of a compendium of lies and half truths that mean Tories cannot be trusted to protect Scotland’s interests.

8 Holyrood Reduced. The repatriation of powers from Brussels in the Great Repeal Bill is going to cut a swathe through the Scottish parliament’s authority. It's clear that the Scotland Act will have to be amended or repealed and Holyrood's powers circumscribed. Ruth Davidson should be challenged to provide guarantees (that she cannot give) on the Scottish parliament retaining control over agriculture, fisheries, environmental and other responsibilities. All the non-Tory parties have to be mobilised against the threat to the Scottish parliament – it is a very real one and it should begin here and now.

9 Tactical voting. Scotland’s voters are very good at this, and used tactical voting to devastating effect against the Tories in the past. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are not going to support a progressive alliance in this election - there’s just too much bad blood. But the SNP should welcome the offer by the Green Party co-Convenor, Maggie Chapman, to stand aside in the Scottish Secretary, David Mundell's Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, where his majority of 798 is less than the Green vote last time. (PS: the SNP need to offer the Greens something in return).

10 Nasty Party. Ruth Davidson's success in Scotland has been built on denying the party of which she is a member. The party whose Defence Secretary says he's in favour of first use of weapons of mass destruction. That treats millions of EU citizens as hostages. Whose bumptious Foreign Secretary, announces wars on the Today programme. That has favoured Donald Trump over Europe. That comforts the wealthy while demonising immigrants, benefit claimants and pensioners who stand to lose the triple lock. The SNP alternative to the Tory mantra of “strong and stable government” should be: “They’re still the Nasty Party”.


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Comments - 41
Ben Ashton

April 29, 2017 8:05 PM

"now just indulges in promoting his opinion." A lot like May's campaign tactics?

Rob Campbell

April 29, 2017 8:03 PM

Everybody got the vote, that's democracy, Indy lost.

Andrew Beck Gordon Scott

April 29, 2017 8:03 PM

Maybe you should read your post again. It makes no sense at all. But maybe that is what you intended. As for the spelling of Iain and Ian, the former is regarded as the Gaelic spelling of the name while the latter is the English spelling of the name. However since John (or maybe you prefer Jon, or Jonn) is the English of Iain (Ian) then I fail to see your point. What was your TV show reference btw? Was it the Likely Lads?

Bob Cotton

April 29, 2017 8:02 PM

It is six weeks until this general election takes place. As harold Wilson put it, a week is a long time in politics. Incessant Tory political vile bile will soon scunner voters. Many will soon realise what the Tories really stand for, and it will not be pleasant.

Alf Baird Lorna Campbell

April 29, 2017 8:02 PM

You are right Lorna, the Tories have treated Scotland with contempt regarding the democratic mandate and Holyrood vote for indyref2, and Scotland's vote to remain in the EU. The UN General Assembly would therefore acknowledge an independent Scotland on the basis of a majority of independence supporting MP's being returned on June 8th (i.e. the basis for many nations becoming independent), with 50% or more of the vote an added bonus.

Bryan Ritchie

April 29, 2017 8:00 PM

"Party zealots are bussed in to fill the hall" There were many in the photos who looked like they wished they were somewhere else.

martin morrison

April 29, 2017 7:59 PM

Nobody but the voices in his head.

Malcolm McCandless

April 29, 2017 7:59 PM

Iain/Malcolm, could you direct me to the internet site where I can view these Orb and Opinium polls? I have struggled to find credible sites. Thanks.

Alan Brown

April 29, 2017 7:59 PM

Personally, I think that the tories are on the verge of a melt-down. They are being kept afloat at the moment by a very compliant media. Whether the dam will burst before the election is anyone's guess though.

Dr Douglas McKenzie

April 29, 2017 7:59 PM

There are plenty of issues to do with land ownership, use, and abuse on which the parties could co-operate. Some might even be quite popular.

Graham A Fordyce

April 29, 2017 7:55 PM

If the Tories must win the general election, the best outcome would be a reduced majority for Mrs May. That would remind the prime minister who the real boss is and teach her and her party some humility.

Michael Lloyd

April 29, 2017 7:55 PM

If you think that the fall-out over Brexit is bad can you imagine what the international markets would do to an independent Scotland? Nicola 'Queen of Scots' would have a grand time touring the world telling everyone Scotland could be great if it wasn't for the fact that the EU, IMF etc weren't being nice... The SNP need to get real and tell us exactly how they will deliver all their promises. They can't because they know it's not possible so they'll trick the people into independence and act shocked when we go bust!

Helen Kirk Andrew Beck

April 29, 2017 7:53 PM

Try Reuters!

Mark Mair iain Lawson

April 29, 2017 7:51 PM

I bet the Unabomber is glad he was finally caught, given that his Montana hideout was probably next on her itinerary.

Marion Wilson

April 29, 2017 7:50 PM

'our' meaning?

iain Lawson Ian McInally

April 29, 2017 7:48 PM

You have no idea how silly you are going to feel on the 9th June.

Eugene Lafcadio

April 29, 2017 7:48 PM

There is no plan needed to keep the tories toxic. They do that perfectly well by themselves. You only have to look at Mrs Sneery, and the finger wagging Ms Snarly in yesterdays' Herald to see a prime example of it.

Ian Gourlay

April 29, 2017 7:47 PM

A key point would be to drag the so called pronouncements away from spin and opinion, if you can call deflection and deceit an opinion, and onto hard facts. In particular what various parties have actually done with the powers they have or have had fairly recently. A good example is how the tories 'want to protect the NHS', yet as Andrew Marr highlighted to the pm today, more than a few nurses are now relying on food banks. Cue more deflection and deceit in the guise of meaningless and unmeasurable soundbites. Strong - simple bloody mindedness and to hell with the consequences Stable - simple bloody mindedness and to hell with the consequences In other words just the usual meaningless PR and spin that usually lead to very nasty consequences for most people. What is needed are meaningful and measurable policies. Effective - doing what people want Efficient - measurably doing well what people want So where are the tories and labour on this basis? They have nothing positive and a lot to try to hide. So more deflection and deceit. Strange how they don't go on about specifics or results. Strong and stable! That's it. Nothing else. No wonder she holds meetings in sheds. If anyone disputes this then respond with specifics (ie not an 'opinion') about something positive that either the tories or labour have done in the past 30 years. I don't see anything on either of their websites, unlike the SNP site. Maybe they only have a soundbites page rather than a results page?

Bill Robinson

April 29, 2017 7:45 PM

I have a 1 point plan to make the snp toxic in the polls. Just keep doing what you're doing. I.e. Nothing.

Peter Sinclair

April 29, 2017 7:44 PM

The fear of Macsquirter and his nationalist toadies is palpable. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Ian McInally iain Lawson

April 29, 2017 7:42 PM

I am not sure why. I don't see what will actually change much here in Scotland. I'd be happy to see the Conservatives with a decent handfull of seats thus reinforcing that a Tory revival of sorts is real. That said the SNP will still be the dominant party. Just not as dominant as it is now. The half life Inmentioned is inevitable and unstoppable. Eventually all political parties in power have to deliver. So again, what will really change? For that we need the next Holyrood elections, after which the SNP may be 10 seats short of a majority. That changes everything politically. The Scottish Parliament has already voted to have another independence referendum. I therefore think we should have one. I'd rather we did not but I don't think Westminster should block it. Choose timing that does not interfere with Brexit negotiations for sure but not block it. Though I'd rather not have one as a Unionist I certainly don't fear it. In fact I am rather sick of it. Constant grievance and bickering. All this needs to be put to bed one or the other as soon as possible. Constant constitutional uncertainty is demonstrably not good for Scotland.

Alastair Campbell

April 29, 2017 7:41 PM

"Scotland has a positive balance of payments" LOL Even Queen Nicola doesn't claim that. What on earth are you people smoking nowadays?

andrew macaulay

April 29, 2017 7:40 PM

The silent wise will take note that they are being lied to and deceived on a daily basis by the odious Davidson and the totally incompetent May. The fabricated "campaigning" - in a scout hall to a few invited acolytes who have been totally rehearsed for the occasion. Another example of the fakery that is all the Tories have. They have NO POLICIES. All May and Davidson can do, the most dodgy duo ever in politics, is utter baseless personal attacks. There is absolutely nothing of substance to this crew. Lies and deceipt - it's the Tory way.

Ian McInally

April 29, 2017 7:40 PM

Mr Macwhirter seems just a tad worried writing that. The most credit that can be given to opposition is taking it seriously. Is the dream slowly slipping away? It is telling that increasingly trying to demonise all things Tory is the main strategy. Personally I would be looking for more positive ideas and less focus on the evil Toarriiiess. The inevitable political half life is clearly well at work! Early to mid 2019 sounds ideal for Indyref 2...

Arthur Blue

April 29, 2017 7:40 PM

I was more thinking of elections rather than policies Arthur but you are right in that there are policies areas where the SNP could support Green measures and land reform is an obvious one as the Greens have been complaining that SNP-led reforms don't go far enough.

Margaret Thompson

April 29, 2017 7:40 PM

It was actually Cameron and Osborne that introduced the change to Benefits about 2 years ago. I believe they are both male politicians? Shame on you.

Andrew McMillan

April 29, 2017 7:40 PM

These elections are the foothills of the main event to come. A few seats changing hands will be meaningless except to those clutching at straws. Control of more Councils will mean more exposure to SNP's ability to govern and that is one area of vulnerability for Ms Sturgeon. Demonstrating the ability to govern Scotland remains vital to bringing about a positive outcome in the independence referendum.

ronald bowie

April 29, 2017 7:40 PM

I acknowledge, without being impressed, the extent to which the Northbringlish Tories have extended their 'credibility, but in no way would I concede their likelyhood to use this in furtherance of the best interests of Scotland. That is merely another of their mantras to achieve their ends - over-arching control from Westminster. If I had a three-point plan, let alone a ten-point plan, the last thing I'd do would be to proclaim it out loud in a crowd to give both succour and satisfaction(and possibly credibility) to any perception of concern - which this does. Those who remain underwhelmed by any 'toxic image' (although I don't think this has been remotely detoxified) or Rape Clause righteousness, are unlikely to change. Even the sight of of Ms. Davidson, with Hollywood rictus smile, bounding onto the stage in a six by four metre hall, mic in hand(for the hard of hearing?- hard to believe for someone you'd hear in Glasgow from Edinburgh) like some manic quiz show host hyping it up, consumes them with credulity. (not to mention labourite apostates) Just provide unadulterated facts; (including intentions on mitigation of contentious legislation; eg. the Rape clause, PIP, et al. (and maybe some credible economy stats. as opposed to the well discredited GERS) Total pig-in-a poke EU referendum negotiations outcome, from a strong, stable, in due course, suck-it-and-see, government Soft brexit, medium brexit, hard brexit, stuff them all brexit. Total immigration control, some immigration control sometime, well maybe special visas for important workers and dedicated industries and India and anywhere else that has something 'UK' needs Huge global trade benefits, where the Pound's value fluctuations, and materials, goods and food, export/import costs, energy and interest rates, seem invisible, as well as the 'competitive' cheap labour costs in these markets and (possible) inverse tariffs. It's impossible for Mrs. May to do a Trump. Dissembling alottment of repatriated Ag. & Fish administration control among others? Lack of assurances on State Pensions relegation from the Pension triple lock. Lack of any compassionate change to PIP and associated social benefitand assessments regime. Increase in ideologically 'socially useful' food banks. Systemic employment poverty - millions with minimal or no real raises in the last five years. (NHS workers reportedly visiting food banks) Who-knows taxes'adjustments' to overcome the statutory Triple Lock. Leave the rest to the electorate, even if they dislike the SNP. Those who are at ease with these present and potential scenarios - will vote Northbringlish Tory regardless.

shona long Gordon Scott

April 29, 2017 7:37 PM

"Our", I read as Marion's local area/district/commun ity.

Nelson Burns

April 29, 2017 7:36 PM

I suppose the vilification of the Tories makes a change from the vilification of the Greens in the last Holyrood fandango, and the vilification of Labour before that. I guess the Lib Dems will be next, followed by the SNP.

Ben Ashton Michael Kent

April 29, 2017 7:35 PM

Macwhirter gave up any pretence to journalism years ago and now just indulges in promoting his opinion. I was going to write opinions but I'm not convinced they run in plural.

John Souter

April 29, 2017 7:34 PM

Far better for Scotland to be an interested observer in England's politics rather than a side-lined sub branch.

Michael Kent

April 29, 2017 7:33 PM

Having to read the totally biased nonsense from Torrance and Gordon in the Herald Ian supplies the balance where the Tories absurd claims are outed. Ignore everything else the PM decides to visit Scotland as part of a GE campaign. Her cohorts hire a hall in a wood under a false name claiming it's for a children's Birthday Party. Party zealots are bussed in to fill the hall No media can report live The PM is interviewed by the Scottish Tory Leader for 1.22minutes of mutual self congratulation. The PM then posts 4 leaflets through empty house doors The Security Service ensure no members of the public are in her vicinity able to ask questions though some are huckled away from the hall. This is pitiful this is our democracy Ian's job is to highlight this travesty For total subservience you need only read the following titles Mail,Telegraph,Times ,Record,Independant, Guardian,BBC,STV.

stewart short

April 29, 2017 7:33 PM

Er, could you translate this, please? Your words seem to have been sucked into and spat out of a food processor.

Alastair Gordon

April 29, 2017 7:32 PM

Alastair. See my reply to you above. Are you lying or do you believe someone else's lying mooth?

Gordon Scott

April 29, 2017 7:31 PM

At our local hustings for the local elections, the Chairman outlawed the topics of Referendum, Brexit, etc., and said we were to limit our questions to local council issues. It was a good meeting. Interestingly, the no-show was the Tory candidate whose policy leaflet was a pic of the tank girl and a determination to stop a second referendum. Like TM - nothing else to say.

Colin Thomasson

April 29, 2017 7:29 PM

Aye right, and Scotland will be the richest, happiest country in the world. Rev stu fae bath told me, so it must be true

Lorna Campbell

April 29, 2017 7:28 PM

PFI was a Labour policy... and the SNP has instigated a modified version of it. People have compared the previous administration and on performance the previous one is far far better than the SNP!

Phil Doherty

April 29, 2017 7:27 PM

Do you Unionists never check your facts? Do you never see what is actually being constructed in Scotland these days? Compared to the previous administrations, the SNP is doing extremely well. I was going to give you the website, but I see that Alastair has done that.

Archie McKinnon

April 29, 2017 7:27 PM

Which budget should the SG raid to offset this vile Tory legislation?

James Curran

April 29, 2017 7:27 PM

yes the nicola factor ... LOL!! while she prances about acting like she's in an episode of Borgen, health, education, policing suffers under the calamitous snp. By all means emphasise the hapless sturgeon