THE Tree is dead. The Torch is but a distant memory. Long live the Windmill.
The new logo for the Scottish Conservatives, unveiled yesterday by party leader Ruth Davidson, triggered the usual cracks from the sidelines over its appropriateness, with some suggesting the symbol resembled wind turbine propellers.
“Perhaps a phone box might be better,” suggested one commentator on the Conservative website, in an unkind reference to the number of Tory MPs who currently hail from north of the border.
However, Tory leaders yesterday unveiling the new look in Perth claimed the eight-pronged cross, with its subtle blend of Scottish and British imagery, might trigger the still-unseen Conservative revival in its Scottish wilderness.
The new image replaces a Scottish version of the Tory Tree which the party first introduced in opposition under David Cameron when trying to show off his new green and caring image.
However, with a referendum on its way – and Davidson attempting to show a fresh start under her leadership – party chiefs said they needed a new symbol to demonstrate their distinctiveness.
Davidson described the design as “bold, fresh and easy to recognise”. She added: “Obviously inspired by the St Andrew’s Cross, it is distinctly Scottish but with colours which clearly reflect our pride in the United Kingdom.”
Deputy leader Jackson Carlaw, who led the redesign project, said: “Our new Union Saltire logo stands out on a ballot paper where it has a positive and suggestive impact – it says Vote Scottish Conservative. He went on: “A new logo alone will not deliver results, but new branding, improved organisation and a new generation of candidates will underpin the policy, vision and shape of a renewed Scottish Conservative Party.”
However, the new look did not meet with universal praise last night. Commentator David Torrance said: “It is a bit nondescript. It could be the branding for ScotRail or a Scottish energy company, or anything seeking a Scottish identity. There’s nothing in it that screams Scottish Conservative. I still can’t but think their best logo was the Lion Rampant which was in Red, White and Blue, but was also very Scottish.”
On the web, the verdict was predictably cutting. “Scottish Conservative logo is all a bit, well, harsh and spiky,” said one. Another added: “I would have thought a gallows with a figure one dangling from it, representing the last Tory MP, might be more appropriate.”
SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said: “There’s something strangely appropriate in the Tories choosing a ‘double-cross’ to represent whatever it is they stand for, but I’m not sure it’s the message they were aiming for. The remnants of the Tories in Scotland might understandably want to distance themselves from their colleagues in Westminster, but the truth is a leopard can’t change its spots.”