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Two Conservative Scenarios If Scotland Votes Yes

Last Updated: Monday, September 8th, 2014

Scenario One: David Cameron does not resign as Prime Minister (or as Conservative leader).  Nor does any member of the Cabinet other than Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat Scottish Secretary.  The Coalition hangs together.  The Conservative Parliamentary Party rallies round its leader. UKIP’s attempt to provoke an English nationalist backlash comes to nothing.  Perhaps unexpectedly, Ed Miliband is blamed for the loss of Scotland – since the No campaign was essentially run by Labour.  A deal on the remaining presence of MPs from Scotland at Westminster is swiftly agreed between the political parties, and the election takes place next May as expected.

Scenario Two: David Cameron either resigns as Prime Minister (and Conservative leader) or is forced out by his Party – with or without Tory Cabinet or other Ministerial resignations.  If the Fixed Term Act isn’t scrapped so that a snap election can be held, a caretaker Conservative Prime Minister replaces Cameron – perhaps William Hague.  A Tory leadership election either then takes place quickly; or maybe is delayed until the New Year. The Coalition holds and the interim Prime Minister is replaced by the new Conservative leader. Or the Coalition breaks up, in which case Ed Miliband may be asked if he can form a Government, or an election is held – with the Fixed Term Act perhaps being scrapped at this later stage.

Your guess is as good as mine as to which if these two outline routes the Conservative Party and the country will find themselves travelling if Scotland votes Yes.  But either way, it’s necessary to sketch them.

For although Scotland is still likely to vote No, that outcome is very far from certain.  It’s time to fasten our seat-belts.

By Paul Goodman



Paul Goodman: An open letter to Matthew Parris. And a question – does the Conservative Party really want to survive?
I am beginning to wonder if not wanting him to win is enough for all of us: if the quarrels, resentments and grievances of the long years since 1990 – the heaped-up burden of time – will collapse “the oldest and most successful political party in the history of the world” beneath its weight, perhaps sooner rather than later. “This long war of words and writings will end in blows,” warned Erasmus.  The violence of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation followed, and the horror of the 30 Years War.  “My Party,” you called it yesterday.  But it isn’t yours: it’s ours.  If it lasts. The question is unavoidable. Does the Conservative Party really want to stay together? Read more:

Peter Hoskin: Pinning Down Miliband – Jobs
“But there are a couple of differences between then and now. The first is that, as part of an exaggerated effort to sound tough on benefits, Labour have made their new scheme compulsory: either claimants sign-up or they’ll get less from signing on….This means that the figures are unlikely to be as good the second time around. The group of participants won’t just be keen beans who put themselves forward for work. The second difference is the general climate. The Future Jobs Fund was introduced at a time of recession…But, now that the economy’s recovering, youth unemployment declined by practically the same amount between the last two quarters alone. And that’s without any cost to the state. The issue isn’t really how Miliband will pay for his “jobs guarantee” – a tax on bankers’ bonuses, as per – it’s more about whether it’s the right policy in the first place.” Read more:

Interview by Andrew Gimson: Douglas Carswell – The Tory leadership views the Conservatives as “the property of a small clique, not a mass movement”
“Carswell is at pains to emphasise the good opinion that he has of very many Conservatives: “I’m not implying anything disparaging. Bear in mind that I have a lot of friends in the Conservative Party. I agree with a huge amount of things the Conservative Party stands for. And its activists and most of its MPs believe in the things I believe in…The people in the upper echelons of the party are not on the side of those good, decent people. I think they are not serious about real change.” Read more:

Tom Tugendhat: How to renew NATO
“NATO also needs to think of non-traditional threats, and what acts could trigger an Article 5 response. 60 years ago, the answer to this would have been simple  Soviet troops crossing into Norway or West Germany would have resulted in a united action. But today, when Russian government hackers close down an economy, or could potentially murder hundreds in hospitals and towns by disrupting electrical supplies, the answer is less obvious. Can NATO respond militarily if the soldiers attacking them are in a tower block in Shanghai and are part of the Chinese Army’s Unit 61398, responsible for cyber warfare? Should NATO build a common cyber-defence policy to counter-attack enemy networks? The discussion is becoming more urgent.” Read more:

Lord Ashcroft: Carswell has a 32-point lead over the Tories in my Clacton poll
Even allowing for some movement in vote shares as the campaign unfolds over the next month, the likely outcome of the by-election is clear. What happens to the seat at the general election seven months later is rather less settled. As things stand, the indication is that Carswell could hold the seat, but perhaps with a reduced majority. In my poll 39 per cent said they would probably vote UKIP again at the general election next May, 22 per cent would vote Conservative and 15 per cent Labour – though a further 17 per cent said they did not know, would not vote, or refused to say. Among those naming a party, that puts UKIP on 48 per cent, a 21-point lead over the Tories. Read more:


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