Ruth Davidson – “It will be hubris that takes down the SNP Government”

by Tim Wild | 14th February 2017

Filling a room for a public lecture on a miserable Monday night is no mean feat, last night the LSE welcomed the Leader of The Scottish Conservative’s Ruth Davidson to a full house.

As one of Britain’s most liked and respected politicians, Davidson has added a sense of energy and fun into Scottish politics. Last night, she put forward the case for the Union. Of course, this is Ruth Davidson’s main role in life—she is arguably the last great cheerleader for the United Kingdom to be in a position of authority north of the border. As Ruth started her speech, she seemed notably weary of the possibility of “indyref2”. She told the audience of mainly Scottish ex-patriots that it is time to “turn down the volume” and “turn down the temperature” on the debate. As Davidson picked up pace through the speech, she had some good lines against the SNP—asking why anyone would want to leave the UK after Brexit; “why is your answer to stubbing your toe amputating your foot?” Put another way – Scottish Independence would be a blow against a bruise.

Ruth Davidson came of age during the Scottish Referendum and that is clear in the way she presents herself now.  Better at Q&A, town-hall style, than keynote speeches and very engaging, she makes complicated, conflicting views simple and clear. Davidson has a great understanding of Scottish political history—highlighting the waves of political dominance in the 1950s, the Conservatives taking over the previous dominance of the Liberal Party, following with Labour in control of most of the country, and now the SNP hegemony. Davidson said that “in the end it will be hubris that brings down the SNP”, rather than the Conservatives or Labour.

The fear of a second independence referendum is on the horizon, and both Ms Davidson and Kezia Dugdale, Leader of Scottish Labour, were in London on the same night making sure the capital understands the threat. Davidson has got her economic argument in shape, however, the perennial problem for unionism remains; how to sell the emotional story to maintain this United Kingdom. If Davidson cannot sell it, a betting person may be willing to put £5 (or €5) on her as the next Conservative First Minister of an independent Scotland.

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About the Author

Tim Wild

twild@maitland.co.uk

Tim joined Maitland Political as an Analyst in 2015, having interned with us during the summer of 2014. Since joining the team Tim has focused primarily on climate change issues, providing timely analysis of political events and how they impact on clients’ business.

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