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Out and Proud with Ruth: Has the Tory Tide Turned in Scotland?

The election result was never in doubt in the May 2016 Scottish Parliament elections it was more about who came in second place. The governing SNP won the election easily with 63 out of the 129 seats only 2 short of an outright majority although losing its parliamentary majority did take the shine off an otherwise good result again for the SNP.

The surprise was the resurgent Scottish Conservative Party more than doubling their representation from 15 to 31 seats including 5 constituency seats. Conservative leader Ruth Davidson won the constituency vote for Edinburgh Central, a gain from the SNP, which characterised a most credible result for a confident and determined campaign to secure the opposition voice to the SNP government in Scotland which was her stated election aim.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron among others at Conservative HQ in London were amazed at the positive result and perhaps they may take heed on how to appeal to voters, especially after losing the London mayoral elections in a fractious campaign with Labour.

The loser of the Scottish election was undoubtedly the once dominant Scottish Labour Party, reduced to 24 seats from 37, with the Greens rising to fourth place with 6 seats and finally the fading away Lib-Dems with 5.

The Ruth Davidson led campaign to provide a strong opposition to the indomitable SNP proved to be a vote winner as people were clearly drawn to this prerequisite of good political governance. She and her increased number of conservatives MSPs now have that very opportunity to pursue that primary cause and hold the SNP to account for their continuing governance of Scotland.

Accordingly, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s post-election reshuffle has seen her place her able deputy John Swinney from finance to education to combat any conservative led attack on their lacklustre performance with education during their previous majority government. Education is of great importance in a country with an aging population as highly educated high earners of the future will be required to pay the taxes to maintain the social policies of an incumbent SNP Government provided the economy creates the good job opportunities which is another area the opposition can question.

How the renewed Scottish Government and the resurgent Conservative led opposition perform will be seen over the next parliamentary term. What is different this time is the Conservatives in Scotland have, after a gruelling existential search, found a worthwhile role combined with a strong female leader, although very different from Margaret Thatcher, which appeals to a growing number of voters in Scotland in a time of SNP ascendancy. Voters who voted “NO” in the Scottish referendum and reject the lure of the UKIP have a competent voice in the Scottish Parliament that can challenge the status quo in Scotland while championing the Union.

Finally, Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow was questioning Ruth Davidson after the election results and remarked on the fact the Scotland had 3 women as leaders of the main political parties to her credit her response was so what and that any gender issue she has faced made her try all the harder to compete.

By finding a new roll in opposition and the appeal of the Union she has removed the toxic label from voting conservative in Scotland and turned the tide for Scottish Conservatives.


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