Centre-right now left without solid representation in Scottish Parliament

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Bill Jamieson is to be commended for his incisive analysis of the conundrum facing the Scottish Conservatives (Opinion, 11 May). The party which once robustly represented those of us in the centre right now seems to be content to follow the mantra "it's not the winning- it's the taking part".

While Annabel Goldie must be congratulated on running a strong campaign in recent weeks, those of us on the centre-right cannot but be dismayed by the ongoing democratic deficit which will continue to exist for us by way of an almost complete lack of representation in the new Scottish Parliament.

The Conservatives again during the recent campaign showed how out of touch they remain with the new realpolitik in Scotland and the appetite of the electorate for more radical pro-Scottish policies.

Implicit in progressive financial reform are significant lower personal and corporate taxes - together with simplification of the tax system - in order to boost the economy and to broaden the tax base.

Inter-alia, we believe that in tandem with fiscal reform, there should be a reduction in the business rate and a decrease in the number of MSPs. A reduction in government spending should become possible as the economic base expands. The committee system in local government should be re-established and salaries to councillors and golden handshakes to them and their officials should be abolished.

The SNP conducted an excellent campaign by usurping what should have been radical Tory policies in taxation and the free market.

There is no majority demand for independence in Scotland. Mr Salmond undoubtedly must know this and the main danger to the Scottish economy from his government, if formed, will probably be the impetus from within his own party to push reform through at too fast a pace. However, the nation has nothing to fear from radical and economic restructuring if introduced on a phased basis.

The SNP should be given due credit for recognising the possibilities in Scotland's untapped economic potential. However, the pity is that the pro-Union centre-right were not positioned to present a credible agenda to the electorate at this past election: The Scottish Progressives intend to ensure that this will not be the case in future.

GORDON SNOWDEN, Party Leader, Scottish Progressives, Blackford Avenue, Edinburgh

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