David Cameron is in Scotland today in advance of next May’s Scottish Parliamentary Elections which could see big gains for the SNP at the expense of the ruling Labour-LibDem coalition. Some polls suggest that the Tories might go backwards in the elections and there have been grassroots anxieties over the performance of Annabel Goldie and other Tory MSPs.
Writing for the Direct Democracy website Brian Monteith (an MSP who had to quit the Tories last year for his part in ousting David McLetchie) has called for the Scottish Tories to become independent of the London Tories and form a relationship not unlike that between Germany’s CSU and CDU:
"A truly independent party could still take the Conservative whip at Westminster, helping to form a government and provide ministers just as the Bavarian CSU does in Germany. It could develop its own policies, manage its own affairs and win the trust of the Scottish people. So tainted is the Scottish Tory brand that it needs to have a complete relaunch, with new rules, new policies and new personalities – and a new name to emphasise the change."
Earlier this year a ConservativeHome poll found that members were evenly divided on the idea that the Scottish party should enjoy "complete freedom for Scottish Conservatives to form their own manifesto at the next General Election." 39% said they ‘should’. 39% said ‘should not’.
Related link: BBC on Cameron’s Scottish visit