Thursday, July 03, 2014

Brian Monteith on how to deal with Salmond

Former MSP Brian Moneith has a very well argued piece on Conservative Home here about how pro-unionists should deal with and debate First Minister Alex Salmond.

Anyone reading this who was involved in the late and unlamented Federation of Conservative Students (FCS) in the early 1980's will give a wry smile both at where this article appeared and at the fact that I have given a link to it and praised it.

Brian Monteith was elected Chairman of FCS in 1982-3 as a leader of the hard right faction who referred to themselves as "sound" and were generally known to their opponents as "Libertarian."

The current Executive Editor of Conservative Home is Paul Goodman, who defeated Brian in the FCS Chairmanship election the following year and was leader of the moderate faction within FCS (usually known to the libertarians as "wets" although that title was misleading as the border between the moderates and libertarians was sufficiently far to the right that the moderates included hardline Thatcherites like Mark Francois MP). I was one of Paul's more outspoken supporters at the time.

However, I am not going to be childish enough to refuse to praise a good article because I didn't agree with the author's views and actions thirty years ago.

Brian argues that use the last two-and-a-half months of campaigning for the INdependence referendum to mount a personal assault on the First Minister would be a huge mistake.

"It would distract voters from the real issues that will affect their livelihoods; it would play out the campaign on the ground that Salmond prefers – personal jousting; and it would look like the establishment doing down the little man, winning him public sympathy. For despite Salmond being First Minister, he is still seen as the Scottish underdog taking on the unionist establishment, hence his continued popularity." he writes.

"Every politician has his own Kryptonite – with some it’s too much of the sauce at the Parliamentary bar, with others it’s sexual favours and sometimes it is money. Often it is sheer incompetence.

"With Salmond it is over-confidence. His Kryptonite is hubris – for he has a good conceit of himself – and in knowing that, the No campaign should tease him and ridicule him rather than slap him or name-call.

"As Donald Dewar often showed in the early years of the Scottish Parliament, Salmond is not invincible. Indeed, the SNP leader became so discouraged he went back to Westminster in a sulk resigning his Holyrood seat.

"Embarrass the First Minister with his broken promises, his stream of falsehoods, – but say it with a smile, and the Scottish people will see the man for the political chancer he is. A very skilful and adept politician, but a chancer all the same."


Jim said...

Well, personally i really hope salmond wins, really i do. Why? well its simple it clears a lot of our debt and also reduces the possibility of some other idiot increasing it.

Chris Whiteside said...

Welcome back, Jim