Brian Monteith makes one of his regular appearances in the columns of The Scotsman today, with a piece entitled Playing the name game could help the LibDems, one of a series of articles from Brian and others that have appeared since the SNP’s electoral victory in May, all of them designed to offer one form or another of artificial resuscitation to the parties so decisively rejected by the Scottish electorate.
Since Brian Monteith is a Tory, and ThinkScotland.org is a Tory thinktank (I will defend that assertion shortly) - although it doesn’t fly under Tory colours - this is rather like one corpse trying to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to another- a grisly spectacle, not for the faint-hearted.
All of the articles of this type are characterised by loathing for the SNP, the democratic choice of the people of Scotland in two elections, who presumably ‘thought Scotland’ when they made their choice so decisively at the ballot box.
I quote -
“While the SNP delays and dodges tough decisions …”
“The LibDems are at a very low ebb in Scotland and it is no surprise that the SNP is mischievously suggesting members and politicians leave the party to join them. Leaving aside the notion that true liberals would wish to join a party that has some of the most illiberal Tartan Taleban within its midst …”
What is Brian - and ThinkScotland’s - grand plan for the LibDems?
“Leave big business to the Tories, and leave the unions to Labour for now - the Liberals can give a voice to the articulate and moderate professional classes that is warm and reassuring to voters about what independence might mean.”
In spite of the above, he closes by advising the Liberals to return “to their radical Scottish roots”.
By abandoning big business to the venal and values-free Tories and the unions to the equally venal and values-free Scottish Labour Party? How radical is that, guys?
Become the Valium Party for those timid professional classes to scared to stand for anything, desperate for reassurance, and let the Tories and Labour continue unchallenged with their rapine and exploitation of the people?
Here is the link to ThinkScotland - About us - go the the team for more information.
It was founded by Robert Kilgour and the organisation is wholly funded by him. He is a Scottish entrepreneur, international investor and property developer working out of London. He stood as a Tory in Hamilton South in 1997.
ThinkScotland states that it “is not aligned to any political party and welcomes diverse contributions and debate.”
It looks to me like a Tory thinktank, but judge for yourself by its team of advisors -
Phil Gallie (deceased) was one - a former Scottish Tory MP and MSP
Elena Kachkova -Parliamentary Adviser to Struan Stevenson MEP at the Scottish Conservatives Central Office (1999 - 2002). She moved to South Africa in 2002 where she continues a successful career as a Consultant on matters relating to the former Soviet Socialist Republics, and political affairs in South Africa.
Richard Cook - Director of an export company in the environmental waste management and recycling industry. A former Vice Chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party.
Struan Stevenson became a Conservative MEP in 1999. He is currently the Conservative’s Front-Bench Spokesman on Fisheries and Deputy Spokesman on Agriculture.
Shailesh Vara was elected as the Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire in May 2005. He is currently Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.
Margaret Mitchell was elected as the Conservative List MSP for Central Scotland in 2003.
There are other advisors whose political affiliation is not stated. They are -
Bob Leitch - Chief Executive of Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry
John McGlynn - founded the Airlink group with interests in car parking, property development, document storage and venture capital. In 2005, he founded Scotland House to promote business links between Scotland and Estonia
Paul Holleran - National Organiser for the National Union of Journalists.
Tino Nombro - of Ambergreen - an early pioneer of search marketing delivering cutting edge search strategies for forward thinking bluechip brands, including My Travel, Marks & Spencer Money and Carphone Warehouse.
Charles Ferguson - a Solicitor Advocate based in Hamilton - specialises in criminal matters.
Jackie Anderson - retail experience at Mark & Spencers' store at the Gyle, Edinburgh, “before deciding to travel the world and write - bringing her down-to-earth, provocative and humorous take on life to ThinkScotland. “
Lastly, let me address Brian Monteith’s shabby attack on the SNP.
Yes, Brian - there are those in the online community who express extreme views in favour of Scotland’s independence. Like the sectarian ranters of Scottish football, they are matched by equally extreme views from the Tory extreme right and the Labour extreme left.
But there is a difference, and one that the Scottish Tories and LibDems would do well to consider carefully, and that is that the Scottish National Party is not afraid to reach out to the deprived and underprivileged in Scottish society - the people who have been betrayed over generation by Scottish Tories and Scottish Labour. These Scots - often young Scots - have been deprived educationally and socially, and their political views are often inchoate, and expressed in primitive and sometimes extreme language.
But they are learning and learning fast, and they know who is on their side and who is not. It once was the Labour Party - it was never the Tory Party - it is now the Scottish National Party.