​This year’s conference confirms how unfit the Tories are to govern - Angus Robertson

​It is the time of year when political parties get together for their annual conferences. Delegates and members gather together to debate motions and ideas and shape the future of their party for the next year.

​At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. However, the Tory conference has been something else entirely: a cacophonous display of infighting, plotting by different factions and cabinet ministers making early pitches for leadership for the impending Conservative party general election defeat and Rishi Sunak’s inevitable self-exile to California.

One cabinet minister who has been weaponising culture wars is Home Secretary Suella Braverman who, in a deliberate and demeaning attempt to big up her profile ahead of the conference, launched an attack on refugees and minorities.

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She also proposed a major undermining of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, which has been signed by 146 countries and gradually incorporated into UK case law over the past seven decades.

Arguing for reform, she said that being gay or a woman isn’t reason enough for a person to seek asylum in another country. They are astonishing comments given that, in numerous countries, homosexuals can be put to death and in many more, they face life-threatening persecution.

The same, of course, as has been shown in Iran and other countries, is the case for women who speak up for their human rights.

It is truly dangerous to suggest that refugees ought not to be given asylum even though their basic human rights are being eliminated. And a cheap stunt.

As renowned actor and LGBTQ+ rights campaigner Sir Ian McKellen said, her comments were "laced with a good dollop of prejudice and hoping that she's going to get a few votes because of it.”

Fast-forward to Tory conference a few days later and Braverman and her Tory colleagues were setting off to conference, though train strikes that the government had failed to resolve meant members struggled to get there from London. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot.

For those who did make it to conference, they have witnessed the return of Liz Truss, who headlined a ‘Big Growth Agenda’ rally. In a staggering display of lack of awareness, the calamitous former prime minister is attempting to salvage her reputation and the appeal of her demonstrably self-destructive economic policy.

She wants the UK government to make the Tories the ‘party of business again’ by cutting corporation taxes, adding: ‘Let’s stop taxing and banning things, and start producing and building things.’

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She was accompanied by former chief Brexit negotiator, Lord David Frost who agreed the deal that resulted in perhaps the greatest act of economic self-harm to the UK in its history. List all the people on Planet Earth from whom any prime minister should take advice, Liz Truss would occupy the bottom spot.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Tories were out in full force in Manchester, too. Without a hint of irony, Douglas Ross accused others of recklessness. It was a demonstration of a total lack of awareness of his party’s actions in the ever-accelerating decline of the UK.

This year’s Tory conference has confirmed how unfit the Tories are for government. Worth remembering that in Scotland it is the SNP that is the main challenger in every single Tory held seat. Want to get rid of the Tories? Vote SNP.

Angus Robertson is MSP for Edinburgh Central and Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture



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