David Cameron's deputy in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, was recently reported as complaining that the SNP were not sufficiently focused on local issues in the council election campaign because they were more interested in the referendum on independence.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has claimed that the Nationalists are trying to turn the local election campaign into a dry run for the independence referendum.
I raised a more than slightly quizzical eyebrow at this in part because of a campaign leaflet I had received on behalf of a Conservative local election candidate here in Perth. A leaflet which contains a call to arms for unionists across the ward sandwiched between something about Perth City Hall and a curiously congratulatory piece about the SNP's protection of greenbelt land.
Protecting the Union
The referendum campaign will start in earnest soon after the Scottish Government's consultation and the May local elections. As Scottish Conservatives we are proud of our Scottish heritage but equally proud to be British. Perth and Kinross and Scotland, remain fairer, stronger and richer in the Union.
Surprised as I was by this, my quizzically raised eyebrow set out to join my rapidly receding hairline when I was informed of another leaflet being distributed in North Lanarkshire and, presumable, elsewhere by Tory candidates in the council elections. Like the Perth leaflet, it mentions some local issues but in the case of the Motherwell example fully half of the leaflet is given over to Tory front organisation, Conservative Friends of the Union. This content is quite explicit in urging the anti-independence minded to disregard local issues and use the council elections to,
...send a clear message that we reject the SNP's separatist agenda and that Scotland wants to remain in the union.
The leaflet lists seventeen questions which unionists are urged to ask the SNP. Presumably, their local SNP candidates in the local election. These include several downright silly queries that are obviously gleaned from the catalogue of inane unionist scare-stories. Here's a selection.
- How safe is the NHS and will we be able to finance it?
- Can we afford to have a two tier school system?
- Can we depend on all the supermarkets to keep sending us food, clothing, electrical goods... which of course we will have to import?
And my favourite!
- What currency will we use, and heaven forbid, it could be the baw-bee?
Ruth Davidson's gross hypocrisy is exposed. It seems that the Conservatives aren't just using the local elections as a "dry run" for the referendum campaign, they seem to think it is the referendum campaign. But given the political illiteracy of their "questions" we have to allow that they certainly need some practice before the real thing gets under way.