Scottish Conservatives are pleased with the first week of their campaign for next month’s Holyrood elections. Angus Macleod of The Times described Annabel Goldie as "the star" of the first week. The Scotsman said that the party’s manifesto was "refreshingly down-to-earth" while, less expectedly, The Herald said that elements of the party’s programme suggested that "the Scottish Tories have their finger on the pulse.” It has been the Scottish party’s emphasis on practical issues that has been winning it admirers in the press. This is the verdict of the Scottish Sun:
“1500 more policemen, an end to automatic early release and another prison – all sound stuff. She won’t enter into a coalition with any other Party, preferring to deal on an issue-by-issue basis with a minority administration. That makes a refreshing change from the weasley Lib-Dems.”
A poll also found that the Conservatives were the first choice of Scotland’s top 500 businesses. 39% identified the Tories as their preferred party and only 13% chose the SNP (the same proportion chose Scottish Labour).
Annabel Goldie has also seized upon a BBC survey which suggested that a referendum on separation was 17th out of 25 priorities for voters. The poll was taken as a confirmation of the Tories’ strategy to present themselves as the party of bread and butter issues and that theme has been taken up by David Cameron in an article for this morning’s Daily Telegraph:
"One reason so many people feel disenchanted in Scotland is because of the nature of the political forces that stir within it: on the one side is the establishment Labour Party, which offers big state solutions and endless interference into people’s lives; and on the other side is the disestablishment SNP, making up for rhetoric on the dismemberment of the Union what they lack in intellectual coherence on any other subject. What Scottish people want is delivery, not divorce: delivery on drug crime, which has increased by 46 per cent since 1999; delivery on good quality housing, which is unaffordable to far too many; and delivery on a first-class health service, which is facing cuts across the country. That is why, over the next month, the Scottish Conservatives will be campaigning on these issues, offering the sensible, moderate centre-right policies that have been missing for too long north of the border. I shall be in Scotland today, for example, to highlight welfare issues for Service families."
Related link: Conservatives are Scotland’s practical party says Murdo Fraser MSP