Cameron must woo the Scots

WITH the Conservative Party currently doing cartwheels on almost all former policies, it appears that the love and support for hunting remains unabashed.

By Graham Dines

WITH the Conservative Party currently doing cartwheels on almost all former policies, it appears that the love and support for hunting remains unabashed.

If the Tories emerge from the next election with a commanding majority, they will introduce a one line Bill annulling the Hunting Act, which will not only bring back fox hunting but that most pleasant of pastimes, hare coursing - which you will recall is all about setting greyhounds loose to rip apart hares, as they are cheered on by spectators.

Should the Conservatives have a smaller majority, the plan is to tack the reintroduction of hunting on to an animal welfare measure, forcing anti-hunting MPs to vote for its return if they want to see wildlife management made more humane. Both options would allow for a free vote of MPs.

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All this presupposes a Tory government. Having just returned from a week in Scotland, I have news for Conservative MPs and party supporters.

Scots, who are currently enjoying devolution's main perk - socially just policies, funded by English taxpayers through the so-called Barnet formula, which are not available south of the border - do not hate the English. They just detest the Conservative Party.

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As the Tory voting “ladies who lunch” brigade in Edinburgh and Perth, and the lairds who own most of the countryside, get older and die off, they are not being replaced by an enthusiastic batch of young Conservatives.

The Scots will never forgive Edward Heath's government for consigning historic counties to the scrap heap of history, nor Margaret Thatcher for destroying the coal industry and also using Scotland as a test bed for policies such as the poll tax.

As the Dunfermline by-election proved, Scottish voters who've had enough of Labour will back either the Liberal Democrats or those “Tartan Tories,” the Scottish National Party.

Without at least a smattering of MPs from Scotland, it's hard to see how the Conservative Party can form another administration. If they do, the Tory government would be elected by a landslide in England and that could have huge ramifications for the future of the union.

LABOUR'S spin doctors resorted to gutter politics of the worst order when they urged newspapers to reveal that Tory leader David Cameron was making use of new paternity leave regulations despite having voted against the legislation.

The truth is that Mr Cameron would have taken the time off even if the law had not been changed. He wants to be with his wife and baby Arthur because their first born son suffers from a severe handicap, the signs for which manifest themselves during the initial two weeks of life. Perhaps an apology might be in order from the dirty tricks department at Labour's Old Queen Street headquarters.

COUNCIL elections take place in Ipswich in 10 weeks' time, so it's no surprise to find the Liberal Democrats taking a never-before-noticed interest in my locality. What a pity then that the editor of the Lib Dems' Rushmere Focus which was delivered last week doesn't even live in the ward.

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