Scots Tories Miss the Point


In June this year, Tory MSP Derek Brownlee said of the Review into the state of the Tories in Scotland.

“The key question we should all ask before we consider issues around organisation, structure or personnel is a simple one: what do we stand for?” (1)

A question that remains unanswered by the Sanderson Review published today.

Its answer is that a new way of selecting a leader in Scotland (who does not have to be an MSP, or even an MP) will revive their fortunes.

Meanwhile their real leader David Cameron, speaking in London, made it clear what he thinks Scots Tories should “stand for”.

“Standing up for the United Kingdom, standing up for Scotland within the United Kingdom – one of the secrets of a centre-right party anywhere in Europe is being a party of the nation, a patriotic party. By being both more Scottish and more pro-Union we can correct that.”

Unfortunately, Cameron misunderstands Scotland. For most people living in Scotland, their nation is Scotland.

The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey has periodically asked Scots about this.

  • In 1974, 65% identified themselves as Scots, 31% as British, and 4% as Other.
  • In 2005, 76% identified themselves as Scots, 15% as British, and 9% as Other.

In 30 years Britishness had halved.

The centre-right are a legitimate voice in Scotland, but by tying themselves to a Britishness long gone, the Tories have missed an opportunity.