The 'that memo' of the title was puportedly written by the sole Conservative MP sitting for a Scottish constituency, David Mundell MP; it was 'leaked' to Scottish newspaper and 'journal of record' [*] the Daily Record. Suffice to say the memo was not complimentary toward Conservative MSPs and the Scottish Tories' hierarchy in general, specially Annabel Goldie, the Leader of the Scottish Tories; the Daily Record under an article entitled SCOTS TORIES ARE CLUELESS gleefully told its readers today that, according to Mr Mundell, "[Scottish Tories Leader] Goldie got off to a reasonable start as group leader ... but has begun to attract adverse comment for lack of activity and strategic thought" and added for good measure "I see little in the short term that can be done to improve the MSP group situation" and that there was a '"simple lack of thinkers" among the 17 Tory MSPs and they are incapable of coming up with new policies.'. Other conclusions he drew were that 'the Tories' Holyrood manifesto was "more likely to recycle existing policy positions than come forward with anything innovative"' and damningly 'also urges that the replacement of Scottish party chairman Peter Duncan is an "immediate priority"'. The memo itself was a 4-page effort sent by Mr Mundell last June to Conservative national Leader David Cameron.
My own impression when I read about this story earlier today via Scottish Tories are Doomed and via Mr Eugenides (read the comments there too!) was that, whilst incendiary at any time, but specially now just ahead of this weekend's Scottish Tories conference beginning tomorrow in Perth, seemed to draw conclusions which I, as an outsider, unfortunately thought pretty accurate.
All very embarrassing - and David Cameron, faced with making his own speech to the Perth conference tomorrow has now issued a statement of his full confidence in the Scottish Conservative leadership: "Annabel Goldie and Peter Duncan are doing a great job. Annabel has a no-nonsense approach and is addressing the issues that really matter in Scotland. The party in Scotland is in better health now than it has been for many years and is running an effective campaign. I am looking forward to the Scottish conference tomorrow." This effusive praise does not extend to Mr Mundell.
I have no idea what Mr Cameron really thinks about this and the statement he has issued may reflect his honestly-held view. In any case the appearance of the Daily Record article a day before the Perth conference really left him with no choice but to issue a statment of support for Ms Goldie and Mr Duncan if the conference was not to have descended into farce in advance - which it may still do if 'the line' aboout the state of the Scottish party does not hold up even in the presumably receptive atmosphere of the conference hall. I think it probable that on the surface all will be sweetness and light tomorrow at the conference, but I think most Scottish Conservatives know in their hearts that all is not well at all and that their electoral prospects for the Scottish Parliament elections in May are probably dismal. I will be interested to see the reporting of what happens at Perth in coming days!
[*] Just my little joke; the Daily Record is not a newspaper I care for, in fact I loathe it and what it stands for! Indeed whenever my mother visits me to stay she is herself of course tremendously welcome, but I refuse to allow her to bring the Daily Record into my home when she arrives or to bring subsequent issues into my home for the duration of her stay. Until her failing eyesight made it pointless for her to purchase any newspaper she took both the Daily Record and the Press and Journal as her regular daily newspapers.
See later post on 09MAR07 here.