Having seen the immense party unity form around Douglas Ross over the last few days since Jackson Carlaw stepped down as Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, one thing is clear, the Conservatives mean business in 2021. I did not expect a candidate to take the party by storm – in fact, many of us expected a power vacuum to emerge that could have spelt disaster for our electoral hopes. Naturally, many Scottish Conservatives turned to the one person they knew could reverse our party’s fortunes, Ruth Davidson with the hope she would return as leader, it was not to be as Ruth like I backed Douglas Ross.
Many of you might ask who is Douglas Ross?
The simple answer is a former-Liberal Democrat farmer from Moray in the North East of Scotland, he voted Remain, but is Brexit positive – whatever that means – and has a burning desire to turn the tide against Scottish Nationalism. He is the man responsible for the unseating of Angus Robertson the SNP’s former Leader in Westminster, and I suppose Douglas by extension gave us the joys of the great bag of wind; Ian Blackford at Prime Minister’s Questions too. I think that Douglas Ross in his fiery exchanges with the SNP at Westminster as MP for Moray has proven one thing decisively, he is a patriot and wants the Scottish Conservatives to be proud of being Scottish, but also proud of being British, we all know they are not mutually exclusive.
When it comes to the agenda that Douglas Ross has put forward one thing is very clear, gone are the days of banging on about independence referendums; we will be a party focusing on the issues that really matter: Jobs, Schools, Policing, Health, and crucially how we can make Scotland a better place to call home. That does not mean we will shy away from making a positive and invigorated case for the Union, quite the opposite, it means that we can make the case for the Union, but we will not allow the SNP to set the agenda – we need to focus on what matters to people every day – no more constitutional debates, no more banging on about IndyRef2 to steal from Boris it frankly is not one of the people’s priorities.
If Douglas Ross can deliver this programme of change – with election-winning policies that provide the people of Scotland with a real positive alternative – I am confident the Scottish Conservatives can win in 2021. Just think about that for a moment and ignore the vastly inflated Scottish opinion polls, because we are up against a clapped-out SNP Government with no ideas and shocking record. We should not see ourselves as a party of opposition in Scotland but a party of Government, however, to win we have to believe we can win, we have to believe we can deliver and most importantly we have to believe that we can dislodge nationalism ending the politics of division.
Furthermore, it is important to recognise that only through embracing Boris, and harnessing the full might of the British Government, can we counter the SNP propaganda machine in St Andrews House, otherwise known as the Scottish Government. For too long we have allowed the SNP the ability to hijack the Scottish Civil Service and the Holyrood Parliament as a grievance farm. We also know, for a fact, that Holyrood is failing to deliver for the people of Scotland, in the last parliament IndyRef2 was debated more than education which is astounding for a party that wanted to be judged on their record in education.
Douglas Ross was right when he pledged to take powers away from Holyrood and give them to local communities reversing years of failed over-centralisation, which grossly favours the Central Belt, leaving the North and South of Scotland far behind – for them, the Government in Edinburgh feels just as far away as the Government in Westminster. It is policies like this and a pledge to scrap the hated failing Curriculum for Excellence that will give the Scottish Conservatives under the Leadership of Douglas Ross – with the support of Ruth Davidson at First Minister’s Questions until he is elected to Holyrood in May 2021 – the winning edge we need to cart the SNP from office. But, I cannot stress enough to our English, Welsh and Northern Irish colleagues to join the Scottish Conservatives in this fight – we need you on the campaign trail, we need your financial support, and most importantly you have to believe in us and back us all the way.
I am in no doubt that Douglas Ross and Ruth Davidson backed up by a strong majority Conservative Government in Westminster can take the fight to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP and win. Let us end the politics of division in Scotland for good, and deliver for the Scottish people.