Letter: Scottish Tories must loosen London's grip

Whether or not the Tories in Scotland have indeed been "detoxified" (your report, 28 February) I cannot say, although I doubt it as even before last year's Westminster general election there was no sign of a "Cameron surge" north of the Border.

What is certain, however, is that many Conservative Party members and habitual voters have been bitterly disillusioned with David Cameron and the coalition government. I know of one branch chairman in England who plans to resign, while many ordinary members are also thinking of leaving.

Cameron is reputed to have claimed that he is happier leading a coalition than a substantial Conservative majority, and that he is also sympathetic to the idea of "coalition candidates" for the next Westminster general election.

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So far, we have a government that has behaved like a Liberal Democrat administration rather than one that is Conservative-led.

We were promised a defence review that would put the nation's interests first, but instead we have had one that has been solely about saving money. Many of the decisions have been wrong. We have, for example, retained Trident, but disposed of the Nimrod aircraft that were to protect the approaches to the Trident submarine base on the Clyde.

The Ministry of Defence's information officers have briefed against the Harriers, claiming they were "aged", when this is a different generation of aircraft from those used in the Falklands and even the oldest of the GR7s and GR9s have used no more than a third of their airframe life.

The government was only able to deploy the frigate HMS Cumberland off Libya because she happened to be on her way home to be decommissioned and scrapped.

We were promised that powers would be repatriated from Europe, but this has been forgotten. In raising VAT and taxation on fuel, incomes and air travel, Cameron has clearly forgotten that more often means less. As taxation rises, the income received by the government does not rise in proportion and tax evasion and avoidance becomes a growth industry. That is apart from the delay in raising the thresholds for death duty. He expects the private sector to expand to employ those being laid off in the public sector, but has done everything possible to curb growth.

Cameron spoke before the election of being in favour of small government, but he has a bloated Cabinet and we are constantly being lectured on what officialdom thinks is good for us.

What has been ring-fenced and increased is the overseas aid budget. Yet this is simply a case of the government being generous with our money. Cameron claims that the UK "can walk tall" when he means that he wants to look good at meetings with other heads of government.

There is a long history of charitable giving in the UK, and we do not need the government spending billions, much of which is wasted and goes to countries such as India with a space programme and a massive arms procurement bill.Perhaps many Lib Dem supporters also feel disillusioned. Opinion polls suggest they are.

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Cameron frittered away a massive lead in the opinion polls by failing to provide concrete evidence of what a Conservative government would do. Most people voted against a tired and discredited Labour administration rather than in favour of a Conservative one. How many of those will still vote Conservative, especially in areas facing the closure of the RAF bases?

Many Tories have come up with exciting new ideas in the recent past, such as a flat rate of income tax and, for Scotland, making Scottish Water into a mutual organisation owned by its customers, but how much have we heard of these lately? If David McLetchie, as stated in your report, is looking for a Tory surge north of the Border, he had better distance himself from the London government.



South Queensferry