Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Scottish Tories ride to rescue of Nats

The Scottish Tories have broken the Trades Descriptions Act. Their full name is the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party - but that doesn't stop them from propping up a Scottish government whose sole purpose is to break the union between England and Scotland.

In today's Scottish Parliament debate on the SNP's budget proposals, the Tories voted in favour of the Nats' spending plans, which passed by 64 votes to 62. The Lib Dems and Labour both voted against, while the 2 Greens again showed what a waste of space they are by abstaining.

I could understand the Tories voting for the budget if they'd got something substantial in return, but they didn't. Their support was bought with a vague and uncosted promise maybe to increase police numbers, but without saying how many, and by an even vaguer proposal to see if there is any scope for cuts in business taxation.

It's not even as if this is a whirlwind relationship, with Scots' Tory leader Annabel Goldie being swept off her feet by her dashing Prince Charming, Alex Salmond. It's been going on ever since Salmond got his feet under the table as First Minister, as this report in the Edinburgh Evening News in June last year indicates.

What is especially galling about this love-in is that before the elections last year, the Tories were accusing the Lib Dems of being prepared to prop up an SNP government or go into coalition with them, as this quote from a BBC report of a debate between the Scottish party leaders a few days before the election makes clear:

But had Miss Goldie detected something in the offing?
"Far be it from me to intrude on this love-in, but Nicol Stephen specifically refused to rule out a coalition with Alex Salmond," she stated.
And replying to a suggestion from an audience member that a vote for the Lib Dems could save the Union, the Conservative head matron stated: "Frankly, I'd sooner rely on a firelighter to put out a conflagration."
For the record, Mr Stephen pointed out that there was no love-in.

In reality, of course, the Lib Dems decided to go into opposition as a deal with the Nats was not possible due to the latter's insistence on wanting an independence referendum, even though there was no majority in the Scottish Parliament for one.

It's the worst sort of opportunism for the Tories to accuse their opponents of wanting to prop up a Nationalist government and then do exactly the same thing themselves, despite supposedly being a unionist party.

But the lesson from this is clear: Vote Annabel Goldie, get Alex Salmond.


Toriesaresellouts said...

Absolutely right - The Tories have sold out on the budget. They're propping up a nationalist government when they said that only the Tories could save the Union. As for their claims of wringing great concessions from the government, this is what John Swinney said when questioned on newsnight Scotland last night: "if you look at the budget changes I have made, the entire changes that I've put through in the course of the amendments today and the other announcements I have made, I have changed the budget by about £30 million maximum. That's the equivalent of what the government spends in one morning of one day. So it's really marginal the difference to the budget changes that have been put forward."

Anonymous said...

The Tories famously had 7 red lines yet they only got an amendment on 1 of these and only some vague warm words on 2 others. No wonder the Daily Mail editorial said "The position of the Scottish Tories is extraordinary. They voted with the party that is pledged to break up the United Kingdom. They did so after being bought off………." "this mega-expenditure plan has been drafted on the back of an envelope, this will end in tears".

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