Sunday, 16 May 2010

Little Englanders at large

Over at ConservativeHome, Tim Montgomerie proposes that the Conservative party north of the border should separate from the UK party. Akin to the pre-1965 Unionist Party, except with some truly terrible suggestions for names.

Personally, I don't think this is a good idea. The old Unionist Party had history this new thing won't, except perhaps if it plays really hard on being a restoration of the old Unionist Party. But if this happens, it plays into the SNP's court as to the vast majority of people who don't remember the pre-merger party, it will look like the SNP have gained such ground as to have justified a "Unionist Party" - just like Northern Ireland! It would be a tragic irony if whilst trying to normalise the Union in Northern Irish politics on the one hand, Cameron de-normalised it in Scotland with the other. It would also in my view be a blow to the credibility and principles of the Conservative & Unionist Party.

But this is not the point of this post. More depressing for me by far than Montgomerie's post are the comments cropping up beneath it that follow the basic formula: "The Union is useless/defeated/oppressive - can we govern England now please!" If there's anything more distasteful than genuine nationalism, it must be nationalism derived from a cocktail of electoral calculation and petulance - a sort of "They won't vote for us? Fine, screw them!" Combined with this is a strange tendency to conflate the Conservative Party's problems with the Union's: the SNP won six seats and not many votes more then the Conservatives in Scotland, and taken together the pro-union vote remains overwhelming. In Wales we're the second party.

There is a strain of English nationalism in the Conservative Party that the result in Scotland is going to encourage (the result in Wales will be overlooked, naturally). Unionists within the party must remain vigilant against it. Thank goodness Cameron is leader.

Update: Tory Bear takes a letter that could have been written by an SNP entrist here, and the unionist-enGnat battle breaks out in the comments section again.


  1. it's too late Scotland is not going to vote for the present Tory party. It needs a new management but that is not going to happen. Better to give Scotland independence and let it govern itself.

  2. What, because the Conservative Party is in trouble there? The SNP won only six seats, the unionist majority north of the border is overwhelming.