It takes a uniquely fat-headed ideologically blinkered partisan to deny realities on the ground. And the biggest reality, minus the third Nat term, was the Scots Tory revival.
Planet Nat has been working overtime in the twittersphere, decrying anyone daring to call Ruth Davidson’s election successes as anything remotely akin to ‘breakthrough’. It’d be politically advantageous to simply let the SNP conduct ‘operation ostrich’, and pretend there is no Scots Tory threat to their rural vote-base. But while sometimes the sheer pig-headedness of cybernats can be amusing, the ignorance occasionally rankles. Thus I put fingers to keyboard to try and add some sanity and facts to the issue at hand.
Take their latest media boast:
An interesting starting point would be to draw attention to the fact that Mrs Thatcher was always more electorally successful in Scotland than the SNP. Indeed even after the myth-building events of ‘linwood’ and the ‘miners strike’ etc, Mrs T still out-polled the SNP. Indeed virtually 1 in 4 by 1987 where still prepared to vote for her and her party. Note the SNP couldn’t manage to out-poll the Scots Tories till after Mrs T left office. Now are the cybernats really admitting that Mrs T was electorally more successful than them? That she pulled in more votes than them? That more Scots liked her prospectus for the country than they did theirs? This really is a first.
However, putting ancient history aside, let’s talk contemporary political realities.
Our Scottish Tory Party managed a paltry and frankly embarrassing 250,000 votes in the elections to the fourth Holyrood parliament. And the most recent general election hardly demonstrated anything much better. But that was then, this is now: half a million ordinary hard working Scots placed their cross next to the Tory candidate. 250,000 to 500,000 – by any fair minded analysis – represents a resurgent vote.
As a way of contextualising this doubling of our vote, it was a greater increase in vote in one parliament than the SNPs circa 2007-2011. If the Nats call their percentage vote increase, and rate of increase an ‘insurgency’ and ‘breakthrough’, it is frankly churlish of them to not acknowledge the same is true for the Scots Tory breakthrough.
Ultimately the truth might continue to escape planet Nat. Perhaps the fact that John Swinney (Nic Sturgeons ‘Scottish Chancellor’) witnessed is Perthshire North majority collapse from 10,000 to 2,000 can help them wake-up and smell the proverbial coffee? After all, with ‘peak SNP’ now talked about, and discussion of a Scots Tory recapture afoot of the rural, middle class, and suburban Scots vote – the SNP really ought to be worried. Spend less time pretending the Scots Tories aren’t a real thing, spend less time moaning about constitutional process issues. Spend more time actually governing our country, more time legislating to make our stagnant education and health sectors virile again.
In a final aside, before signing this blog off, I’d like to urge my fellow Tories caution. This is a very real step forward for us, one that has eluded us for two decades now. But what goes up can so easily go back down. Caution. Ruth and her boys & girls have a big job to do, and much to prove, many fears to allay. And she has a curious problem we’ve never had any of our leaders have to deal with since 1992: expectation management. Still, a nice problem four our Ruthie to have.