Sunak represents proud values of the Tories - Nicola Sturgeon should watch and learn - Murdo Fraser
We also put it into practice. It is why our first woman Prime Minister was a Conservative – and the next two. It is why 150 years ago the first Jewish prime minister was a Conservative. And now it is why our first Prime Minister of colour, our first Hindu prime minister, Rishi Sunak, is a Conservative.
I am proud of those values. Proud it is the Conservative Party that puts them into practice. In all this time, the Labour Party has only ever been led by a white man.
And, in Scotland, we have a First Minister who proclaims how much she ‘detests’ Tories.
While the United Kingdom is a place where the grandson of immigrants from East Africa can become Prime Minister 60 years after their arrival, Nicola Sturgeon believes it is a place where Scots cannot prosper.
For Ms. Sturgeon, as the UK enjoys its first Prime Minister of colour, it is a union to be abandoned in favour of the European Union, where Italy has just elected its most right-wing prime minister since Mussolini. But remember, it is Tories that Ms.Sturgeon detests.
Of course, the events of the last few months have not been good for the country or the Conservative Party. That is something that the outgoing Prime Minister, Liz Truss has apologised for. It is why she resigned.
But apologising for mistakes and resigning for them is something Tories do. It is not something anyone in the SNP does, presumably another reason why it is Tories that Ms. Sturgeon ‘detests’.
So, no apologies from the First Minister for not telling the people of Scotland about the first outbreak of Covid in Edinburgh. No apologies for the plummeting standards in education and the widening attainment gap. No apology for the ferries that more than double in price but never arrive. No one resigns, but it is the Tories that Ms. Sturgeon asks us to detest.
In Scotland, lobbyists who charge clients fees to approach government on their behalf also get to write government policy. People who publish government ministers’ books get taxpayers cash in grants. SNP MPs get Covid cash for comedy clubs they own while businesses go empty handed.
It was a Scots Tory, UK government minister Michael Gove, who came up with a scheme for Ukrainian refugees to come and live in UK homes. It is Ms. Sturgeon’s administration that puts Ukrainian refugees on the equivalent of prison ships. But it is the Tories that Ms. Sturgeon detests.
The First Minister’s ‘welcome’ to the new Prime Minister was not to suggest ways of working together in a time when we need stability, but for her to rail against ‘Tory cuts’. But the only person to cut revenues to the Scottish Government in recent years has been Ms. Sturgeon, whose tax rises have led to a lower tax take than we would have had under the pre-devolution system.
The UK is playing a leading role in keeping the coalition of nations in support of Ukraine together as they fight Putin’s evil invasion. It is Ms. Sturgeon who is intent on breaking up the United Kingdom that stands so resolutely against him. Yet it is the Tories that Ms. Sturgeon invites you to join her in detesting.
There have been many incidents over the last twelve months where it has been difficult to be a Conservative: Cakegate, Boris and the rest. Many unfortunate, unnecessary things which were embarrassing and to be apologised for. But it is the values of the Conservative Party that I love. The Party that gave us the first woman Prime Minister, the first Jew, the first Hindu. The first black Chancellor and Foreign Secretary.
This is the Party of opportunity. And when we talk of opportunity make no mistake that is it Nicola Sturgeon who is limiting the opportunity of Scots. It used to be that Scottish education was renowned around the world. That any young Scot could get an education that would take them wherever their talent and efforts led.
Not so now. Under Ms. Sturgeon’s regime standards in Scottish schools have dropped so far the Scottish Government limits international comparison. Places for Scots at Scots universities are capped. Ambition limited; hope curtailed. Yet, in Ms. Sturgeon’s world it is the Tories, who create the circumstances where the grandson of Indian immigrants can become Prime Minister, who are the ones to be detested.
Ms Sturgeon preaches division and to that extent it can be said she practices what she preaches. Scots divided against themselves; disunited as standards in our traditional public services fall and fade.
We all have a stake in Rishi Sunak succeeding in uniting and leading this country as we face crises on many fronts. Where we need unity, we have a First Minister in Scotland who will merely continue to divide while she commentates on and derides the efforts of others.
The First Minister is fond of saying that she will, ‘take no lessons from the Tories.’ I wish she would. Scots, of all backgrounds, would be better off if she did.
Murdo Fraser is the Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife