Tory challenge

If the Conservatives win the next UK general election, it is possible for them to govern Scotland, even if they have very few Scottish seats, and Annabel Goldie is correct in saying so (your report, 21 January). They can do so for as long as they have the consent of the Scottish people.

The lesson of the last Conservative government is that a government not elected by the people of Scotland can forfeit consent. The Conservatives' economic policies, rejected by the Scottish people, kept one in ten people in the UK unemployed for most of a decade, and they used Scottish oil wealth to pay the social security bill. Without the people's consent, they shamelessly gerrymandered Scottish local authorities. And without the people's consent, they introduced the poll tax, aimed at redistributing wealth from poor to rich.

So while Annabel Goldie is right in fact, her tone is wrong. The Conservatives will not govern Scotland for long if they fail to retain the consent of the people.

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Back in the 1950s, the Tories saw Scotland as a nation as an equal partner in the Union, whose rights as such were to be defended. This gave them a patriotic image, and they were popular. Now Annabel Goldie postures about the supremacy of the UK parliament and government. I think the old Tory defence of Scotland's rights is more likely to win the party friends now.


Saxe Coburg Terrace


Gerry Hassan (Opinion, 22 January) and others are quite correct in pointing to the possible anomaly of Scotland voting one way in the general election whilst the UK votes another way. It is a UK election, though, remember.

What such people fail to mention is that the results sometimes go the other way – eg, England voted Tory at the last general election (just) but ended up with a Labour government, and this is not the first time this has happened. Northern Ireland has possibly never voted for the governing party. A little bit if balance would be helpful!


Dean Road