:: Friday, January 17, 2003 ::

The Newbies and the New Realities of Politics in Scotland

This week saw the announcement of a new party who intend to fight the Scottish parliamentary elections in May 2003. The New Party for Britain is a centre-right group, slightly to the left of IDS and his hopeless Tory Party and maybe slightly to the right of New Labour. Describing themselves as 'progressive conservatives' (is Tony Blair a 'conservative progressive', nah just a conservative.) they haven't even settled on a final name for their party. But hey, it's not as easy as you might think. I will from hereon refer to them as the newbies. An alternative view of the newbies motivations can be found at this satirical site.

They are not the first to try to launch a new party covering that ideological ground. Last year we heard about the launch of a Business Party in Scotland, it's leader even debated with Tommy Sheridan on TV. But it was never heard of again.

What these initiatives represent are firstly the crisis in the Tory Party, particularly in Scotland, and secondly the new opportunities in Scottish politics.

The newbies are funded by a Scottish millionaire disillusioned with the shambles of the Scottish Tory Party. They have continually sunk in the polls. Ever since their '97 wipeout, when they returned no MP's from Scotland to Westminster, the smell of failure has hung over the Scottish Tories. Polls indicate that their voters are settling in nicely with the liberal democrats, and no doubt many are quite happy with New Labour. It will be tough going for the newbies, UKIP or the extreme right to take any serious votes from the historic party of the ruling class.

Which is why they are looking to the Scottish elections. The PR section of the vote actually gives small parties a better chance to get seats. The SSP have dramatically climbed in the polls over the last four years. This months herald poll gives us 7%, equivalent to 5 MSP's.

The system has rewarded parties like the SSP and Greens who actually provide a political alternative to the free-market consensus that prevails amongst Labour, the SNP (whose major new policy is cutting business rates), Lib-Dems and Tories.
Why should anyone vote for more of the same from the newbies?

:: Alister | 10:46 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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