Mike Vickers' Blog

January 21, 2015

Ruth Davidson at the David Hume Institute

Filed under: DHI SPIF, Politics, Scotland — derryvickers @ 11:06 pm

The David Hume Institute is running a series on the five Scottish Parties views of the parties’ views for a Scotland of the future.

This evening it was the turn of Ruth Davidson for the Scottish Conservatives.

Davidson speaks very well and is excellent if at times somewhat evasive in responding to questions (but then all politicians are).

Her points were

  1. The Tories are for cutting taxes – a recent poll indicated that only 7% were happy to pay higher tax that could go to a more social state (contrast the Nordics)
  2. Remuneration is to the hard working , responsible people.
  3. Davidson is setting up an independent commission on taxation.  Start with a reduction of 1p in the £.
  4. The SNP had stated that the Referendum is a once in a lifetime event – but have immediately backslided on this.
  5. Davidson recognises that the Scottish Tories have a long way to go to recover lost ground but believes that the ‘common man’ when tackled is coming to their side and is now selling the message – she sees this as key as she cannot do the conversion alone.  (Thatcher was not responsible for the collapse of engine building at Springburn – it was that technology have moved on from steam to diesel.)
  6. Education must be open equally to all.  Scotland needs to be meritocratic. The children from the poorer areas of Glasgow should have the same opportunities as the better off.
  7. Further Education should be equally prised as Higher Education
  8. Preschool  education is key.
  9. The SNP continue to centralise- Scotland is the most centralised burocratic government in Europe – Davidson agrees with the Jimmy Reid Foundations (as of course with CoSLA).  Democracy needs to be given back to communities and ultimately the people.
  10. Local Income tax
  11. Defensive is vital – but no one questioned her on the dirty word ‘Trident’
  12. There have been times where the Westminster and Scottish governments have worked well together – witness Ebola before Christmas – why not build on it
  13. There should be a Scottish OBR
  14. There should be a much more transparency on where the money goes – Osborne provides it already
  15. Till now the SNP government has spent but not had to raise money.  Everything will change once they have to raise money and justify it.
  16. People willing to pay for prescriptions (this is a debatable point – why not raise taxes on the well off?)
  17. How to get the people with disabilities into jobs – there is a premium here but it is unclear whether Davidson fully subscribed to it.
  18. The war has been won but now we have to win the peace.

Much of Davidson’s speech is laudable but practice does not always align well with principle.

Mike Vickers


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