Monday, December 10, 2007

David Cameron

The Conservative Leader David Cameron made an interesting speech on the Union at Edinburgh's Dynamic Earth this afternoon. His phrase about the "ugly stain of separtism" is sure to upset the SNP but I think it signalled a shift in Conservative tactics in terms of handling the minority SNP Scottish Government, especially if Cameron ends up as PM. He also trotted out all the usual lines to demonstrate the Conservatives' commitment to Scotland. He said:

"Consider all our Party’s history, not just the recent past. It was a Conservative Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, who set up the Scottish Office. It was a Conservative Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, who elevated the Scottish Secretary to full Cabinet rank. And it was the Conservative Party after the war that stood up for Scotland’s identity, and the life of Scottish businesses, against the attempts at nationalisation and centralisation by Labour."

All true, although Lord Salisbury was simply seeing through a Liberal measure (the 1885 Secretary for Scotland Bill) and Baldwin, interestingly, elevated the Secretary for Scotland to Secretary of State status at a point in the 1920s when the Scottish Nationalists were beginning to attract greater support.

Cameron's speech also tied in with an interview which appears in today's Daily Telegraph and the launch of that paper's 'Call Yourself British' campaign. The pro-Union stance is a little ironic considering the Telegraph's vehement, and often innacurate, attacks on the West Lothian Question and Barnett Formula over the last few months.


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