Sunday, 2 October 2011

Concerning the leadership

My, doesn't time fly. Nearly half-term already.

Clearly one of the big political issues out there is the question of the Scottish Tory leadership - which has been transformed into a bigger issue by Murdo Fraser's decision to campaign on the basis of dissolving and replacing the party. (Or something like that.)

Where do I stand on this?

I've met Murdo, and he's a smart guy. His thinking seems to be on the lines of the famous quote (which apparently was NOT by Einstein):

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

He has a point.

The trouble is, he could be falling into another fallacy:

"1 - We must do something.

2 - This is something.

3- We must do this."

I had the opportunity last week to meet the other leading contender, Ruth Davidson, and that's certainly her view.

She also used a fairly powerful analogy:

When VW bought Skoda, conventional wisdom was that they should dump the brand as being irredeemably contaminated, and just use the factories to churn out cheaper VWs and Audis.

They didn't. They kept the name, brand and badge, and improved the product to the point where Skodas get higher satisfaction and reliability ratings than VWs, Audis, and Seats, as well as being cheaper. Edinburgh residents will be aware that just about every taxi / private hire car which isn't a "black cab" is now a Skoda. There's a reason for that - cabbies know their cars.

Ruth also made a good case that she has the background, experience and skills to do a similar job on the Scottish Tories.

I haven't decided which way to vote yet - the first big hustings meeting is next weekend, and I intend to go along and give them all a listen.

But, I have to admit that a few months ago I bought a Skoda...


Murdo Mandela Davidson said...

The Tories are Skoda's?

Erm, thanks for that analysis, I think.

When is someone going to decontaminate your, ahem, 'brand'

Caledonian said...

"I have to admit that a few months ago I bought a Skoda..."

Oh dear, you've went 'native' then?

Rumpelstiltskin said...

I wonder if you can guess the new name for the Tories in Scotland?

UDF Unionist Defence Federation
UDL Unionist Democratic League
UVF Unionist Volunteer Federation
LVF Liberal Volunteer Federation

Or perhaps Continuity Conservatives or The REAL Tories?

sm753 said...

Ah, Muttley's been so desperate to comment here that he's done it under 3 different names.

Have a banana.

Conan the Librarian™ said...

What about "The Ferengi"?

They'll even have similar rules of aquisition...

Jackson Mandela said...

Oh come on SM753, swapping one old duffer for a younger model isn't going to save you and your fellow fat cats.

The fundamental truth is that 'unionism' is the toxic brand in Scotland, the people want change not the stifling hegemony & wafting decay of the unionist regime.

Get with the kids old man.

Observer said...

Aloha Smee.

It's absolutely fascinating watching the Tories take centre stage ripping themselves apart when practically no one cares.

Great entertainment to play between the big acts when something happens.

sm753 said...



No, we Tories are Vulcans.

We simply try to apply logic dispassionately to the available data and act rationally on the results.

Occasionally we have bursts of irrationality, though.

I'm thinking that Nats most resemble the Kazon.

Observer said...

''This Tory bun fight is absolutely glorious entertainment, I haven't laughed so much since I read that Iain Gray thought that Sir Peter Housden had gone native. Auntie Bella assuring the Tory faithful, with their rolled up Torygraphs, that Scotland was not a subsidised basket case just made it even better.

I nearly didn't notice Willie Rennie claiming that the death of the Liberal Democrats as a political force in Scotland had been greatly exaggerated.

Well done the unionists for finally improving their popularity - with SNP voters!

Well done those men & women, it's been a great show. What will they do for an encore? ''

Just noticed this posted in the Torygraph by one hollygolightly.

Tee hee. We had a Scotsman away day to the Torygraph, it's great fun.

Join in......

sm753 said...


"Ripping apart"?

Looks and feels like an orderly and polite leadership contest to me. Although Murdo has made it of much wider interest by his existentialist proposal (if it is that - it all seems a bit confused).

This matters because I'd estimate that 25-35% of the SNP vote is actually anti-Labour and right-of-centre.

We can get them back.

Observer said...

You'll like Conan's moniker.

Observer said...

There is a right of centre vote that is quite happy with the SNP for the moment, combine them with the Tories & you could have a significant vote. Not as many as the left of centre do, but you wouldn't be a fringe party.

But that's in an independent Scotland. As long as we are in the union you are on to plums.

Dr Fox's Advisor said...

My goodness, "Tories and impropriety" - who'd have thunk it? - prepare fr four more years or Tory sleaze.

Jenny Cochrane said...

"A Scot and a Brit who gets grumpy about myths and distortions, whatever the source or subject. "

Has that changed a wee bit?

Where's the 'nat' bit?

Pentagon said...

"This matters because I'd estimate that 25-35% of the SNP vote is actually anti-Labour and right-of-centre."

Evidence & explanation please.

Wardog said...

I woke up ina cold sweat this morning, I had a terrible vision that Smee was passing himself off as an 'advisor' to Dr Liam 'Foxy' Fox.

Please see that it isn't so.

God only knows, with the armchair admiral pomposity, high handed attitude combined with a imaginary 'ken' on defence matters....Smee would be the perfect 'advisor'

Observer said...

It is pretty bad news all round for the dear Tories.

''This matters because I'd estimate that 25-35% of the SNP vote is actually anti-Labour and right-of-centre.''

Not as long as the Tories in the UK keep acting the way they do you won't.

Between Theresa May & Liam Fox they are confirming that they are as nasty & corrupt as ever.

The Aberdonian said...

Skoda during the Habsburg years and the inter-war Czechoslovakia was one of the world's top engineering brands - up there with Rolls Royce, BMW, VW etc.

Then the Communists took over after the war and destroyed the brand. There was a completely different ethos in running the company than before the late 1940s. The company was run by Stalinists who did not change.

After the fall of communism, Skoda has been trying to recapture the glory days by a change to capitalist ethos with a little kick from the Germans.

The Tories in contrast do not not seem to want to change their ethos. Indeed despite "accepting devolution", what around half the party still do not want it? Skoda changed. Davidson and co do not want the Tories to change.

By the way, why are you and Ruth promoting a brand of a sepratist state such as Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic. Should you not be saying "this is what happened to Skoda after it broke from Vienna! Ha-ha!"

(Followed by dancing on the graves of free Czechoslovakian soldiers buried in the Edinburgh area - yes there are some.)

After all Skoda was founded and developed under the Habsburg Empire - it was the country's premier arms manufacturer amongst other things. Company founder even got a knighthood off Franz-Josef.

Stuart Winton said...

Indeed, VAG has transformed Skoda's vehicles and improved the brand's image, but there's still an element of snobbery associated with the marque, and while no doubt this will disappear in time it's still undoubtebly a factor. Check out a Skoda car's residual values, for example - people will still pay a premium for a second hand VW or Audi, even if they're mechanically identical and were similarly priced when new.

And your point about cab drivers is also relevant in this regard, since for similar reasons in Dundee - and I assume Edinburgh and elsewhere as well - for a time it was difficult to spot a Skoda on the road that *wasn't* a taxi or PHV, suggesting that cabbies are more concerned with the vehicle's substance, while the public were perhaps more concerned with the imagage. Of course, things have perhaps shifted in that regard as well now.

Thus as far as the political analogy is concerned, while the Scottish Tories could improve the product and to that extent garner more votes, there'll still be a toxic legacy associated with the brand. After all, despite the time that's elapsed since the days of Thatcherism, there's still a negative legacy associated with her/Michael Forsyth et al in the Scottish context, irrespective of where the party stands currently.

Thus - and returning to the Skoda analogy - VAG transformed the product and to that extent improved the brand's image, but could this process have been even more successful if the Skoda had been rebranded as something completely different?

Cynicus said...

Hello, Smee.

This is a courtesy call -redeeming a promise to your great fan, Observer.

Is it still your view that the Lesbian kickboxer will win? She is certainly the bookie's (odds-on) favourite. Jackson Carloan who, you argued, was in with a shout commands a good price if you're a betting man -5/1 against.