By a Newsnet reporter

The ToryHoose website, with a readership of Scottish Conservatives, carries out regular surveys of Conservative MSPs’ popularity amongst grass roots Tories.  In the website’s most recent survey of 300 Scottish Conservatives, support for new party leader Ruth Davidson has dramatically collapsed.  In the last survey, Ms Davidson enjoyed an approval rating of 82.1%, however in the latest poll of Conservative opinion, her support has fallen to just 4.8%, a drop of 77.3%.

According to the website, the figures show that Ms Davidson’s “honeymoon is over”.  She is now one of the most unpopular Tory MSPs amongst Scottish Conservative supporters.  

By contrast, leadership rival Murdo Fraser’s support has increased to 80.4%, up 37.1% on the last survey.  Mr Fraser is now the most popular Conservative MSP amongst Scottish Conservative members.

Mr Fraser ran his campaign promising to re-establish the Scottish Conservatives as an independent party distinct from the Conservatives south of the Border.  Although he enjoyed the support of many high profile Conservatives, he narrowly lost the leadership election to Ms Davidson, who enjoyed the support of figures such as Michael Forsyth, the Thatcherite former Secretary of State for Scotland during the 1990s.

Ms Davidson’s attempts to restore the fortunes of the ailing party have so far not seen much success.  She was newly elected to the Scottish Parliament in the May elections last year, and some within the party fear that her lack of experience is now showing.  

On the vital constitutional issue, Ms Davidson promised during the election campaign that the Scotland Bill was a “line in the sand”, however her position was undermined by party leader David Cameron who promised to consider more powers for the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote in the independence referendum.  

During the Scottish Conservatives’ leadership contest, some commentators expressed their fear that a victory for Ms Davidson would be a disaster for the party.  Writing in the Scotland on Sunday newspaper on 25 September 2011, Kenny Farquharson wrote:  “I have a theory and it boils down to this: if Murdo Fraser loses his fight to be leader of the Scottish Tories, Scotland will become an independent country by 2016.”

Ms Davidson’s backers in her leadership campaign also see a significant fall in their support in this latest survey.  John Lamont, who was a key figure in Ms Davidson’s leadership campaign sees his support fall by 22.5% to 42.4%.  Jackson Carlaw, who stood against Ms Davidson but was appointed Deputy Leader after her victory, sees his support fall by 10.3% to 54.6%.

Ruth Davidson’s plummeting ratings amongst Tory members indicate the confusion her position on devolution has left her party in, says SNP MSP Mark McDonald.

Mr McDonald, MSP for North East Scotland, said:

“What a shambles the Tory Party in Scotland has become under Ruth Davidson, these figures will be really embarrassing for her.

“Ms Davidson’s claims that the Scotland Bill was a ‘line in the sand’ were totally undermined by her Prime Minister’s panicked reaction to the SNP referendum consultation.

“Now she has been bounced into backing the concept of further devolution, which she opposed when campaigning in the Tory leadership ballot.

“Indeed it is clear that the Tory membership is now openly questioning whether they made the right choice for leader and whether they were sold a false prospectus.”



2012-03-16 08:10

It serves them (the Tories) right for electing her but, I have to say, what a fickle lot they are! The wild swings in approval ratings indicate either fickleness or an extremely small sample size for their polls.
2012-03-16 12:10

I think they tend to be bears of little brain.
Arthur G
2012-03-16 14:22

Quoting Exile:

I think they tend to be bears of little brain.

If by ‘Bears’ you mean Rangers supporting. Presbyterian Royalists I would say that that is a pretty silly and somewhat dangerous assertion of stereotype.

I know quite a lot of members of the Scottish Tories and they are a broad church;

Muslim Asian Tories whose sporting loves are mostly cricket and snooker; Sikh Tories; Roman Catholic Celtic supporting Tories; non-Roman Catholic Celtic supporting Tories; Jewish Tories; Episcopalian Tories; Scots Italian Tories English Tories; a Greek [Orthodox] Hibernian FC supporting Tory and so on.

Incidentally, I also know many card SNP members, dedicated to the independence cause, who are also Rangers supporters.

If we in the SNP wish to resist the negative stereotyping of our membership by the party’s opponents, we should not try to achieve this by hypocritically ‘labelling’ them in the same mannner.

2012-03-16 14:34

Agreed 100% we need to stop the stereotyping of any parties supporters it doesn’t matter what they used to represent in the past look past these stereotypes and you will see all is not what it used to be.
2012-03-16 14:37

My take on the “bears of little brain” was rather different.

It came across immediately as a Winnie the Pooh reference, not insulting at all.
K Mackay
2012-03-16 18:32

My initial reaction was ‘winnie the pooh reference’

But maybe that says more about me..
2012-03-16 19:34

Absolutely it’s a Winnie the Pooh reference, …..or am I being very naive

John Lyons
2012-03-16 15:29

Touchy Touchy Exile! Did someone hit a nerve? “I am a bear of very little brain and long words bother me.” Classic line from Winnie the Pooh. This has nothing to do with Rangers.

2012-03-16 13:15

I think she made a big mistake with the cancer drug attack policy. Even if she didn’t know it was still not approved in England and Wales, her claim that you could get it South of the Border, simply shouts out ‘poor judgement call’.

More in keeping with Skoddidge Labir.
Triangular Ears
2012-03-17 13:14

Her bawling and shouting and faux anger during FMQs was cringeworthy. I’m sure I’ve seen Mary Scanlon wince a few times during her tirades.

Auntie Bella could go off on one at times too, but Ruth takes the biscuit.

Displaced Patriot
2012-03-16 08:26

At this rate we will soon be a one party state and that is not good for our democracy.

Till all of these London Parties realise that the only option is to become Independent Parties and at least to support FFA if not outright Independence they will continue to wither on the vine.
The Scottish nation is in a completely different mindset to these parties.
Yet they continue to spout what they want for Scotland not what Scotland wants for itself.
There is a good saying in Sales that applies to them , “You bait the hook with what the fish wants ,not what you want it to eat” it is something these Parties need to learn and quickly.
2012-03-16 13:01

Scotland was a one party state for many decades.

It is a bit early, not long into the SNP’s second administration, to describe things thus.

However, if we are a one party state then better to have one with, albeit by necessity, a broad political church, one whose members operate on a basis of principle and which puts Scotland first – always.

Besides, post independence, most of that broad political spectrum within the SNP will naturally accrete to manifestos requiring less of a personal compromise (currently subordinated to Scotland’s best interest, i.e. normal levels of self government).
2012-03-16 14:11

“Scotland was a one party state for many decades.”

There was however some reasonable, and reasoned, oppostion to that ‘one party’

2012-03-16 08:47

Honestly, we couldn’t ask for better. Ruth in charge of the Tories, Lamont in charge of Labour, and Rennie in charge of the Lib Dems.

2012-03-16 09:13

I always felt that Murdo Fraser was the best choice for the Tory;s and that Malcolm Chisholm was the best choice for Labour.I am sure that the SNP couldn’t believe their luck when Davidson and lamont were elected.Both are out of touch with the majority of Scottish public opinion.As for Rennie of the Liberals,a good rabble rousing speaker,nothing else.I think that the Liberals had very little choice but they should have apointed McArthur (albeit that the SNP are close to taking his Orkney seat).

Related to the topic of leadership.I notice that Leanne Woods has been elected as Leader of Plaid Cymru.In my view they did make the right choice,if they want to replace labour in the South of Wales.I wish Leanne Wood and Plaid every success.
2012-03-16 09:19

‘the SNP are close to taking his Orkney seat)’

As I live in Orkney I hope that’s true.
2012-03-16 10:42

Hi Briggs,I have been involved with politics too long to take anything for granted.Perhaps I should have phrased my statement better.I was pointing out that the Liberal MSP for Orkney had his majority drastically reduced in May 2011.The excellent SNP candidate Dr Donna Hoddle gained 2044 votes.She came third but close to the independent who was second.It is quite possible that if it were not for the presence of the independent,the SNP might have won Orkney.This is suggested by the fact that the SNP were first in terms of votes for the regional list in Orkney.All I am saying is that while McArther,in my view,was the best leadership prospect for the Liberals,his own seat is vulnerable.
edinburgh quine
2012-03-16 11:59

I heard that a local SNP person was a friend of the independent and told everyone who might have voted SNP to vote for the independent as he was ‘a good person’. Dont know if it’s true

2012-03-16 09:29

I’m surprised that her ratings are as high as 77%.
2012-03-16 10:40

Quoting Fungus:

I’m surprised that her ratings are as high as 77%.

No, that was by how much her rating has dropped!!

2012-03-17 08:48

Och so it is, I blame age.

2012-03-16 09:35

frankly B. Yes but read the consequences. The dependence parties continue to implode and we approach the one party state, as identified by Displaced Patriot.
I used to be a displaced patriot then I cam home and saw the desperate state of politics here. I set about making changes. The SNP now being by far, the largest party in Scotland will not benifit from even more people joining them willingly and unthinkingly. By the time the people wake up to the fact that they are living in a one party state it might be too late.
Whilst I have every faith in the SNP to act fairly and in the best interests of Scots, it would not take too many administrations for the hegemony to nurture corruption and nepotism. It happened to Labour so there is no reason whatsoever to believe it wouldn’t happen to the SNP no matter how much we vote for and love them ?.
2012-03-16 09:45

But UpSpake, surely you don’t think that after independence everything will remain as it is?

For a start the Lab/Con/Dem alliance will be no more, as they will HAVE TO form new parties that are first and only Scottish in nature and outlook. That may finally get them to regard Scotland as their first priority, and find policies that reflect the needs of the disparate Scottish voters.

A fully PR system (I prefer STV) would also help in reflecting the actual support of all the parties in Holyrood, including especially some of the smaller parties like the Greens, who are disadvantaged, even under the semi-PR system we have now.

And who is to say that ALL the current SNP members would remain with the party? It is probable, yes, but a redefining of the opposition might result in some SNP members finding a more comforting place elsewhere. It is all Brave new world stuff, and no one knows for sure what will be the outcome.

I closing, I will say that I for one do not want a one-party state, but it is hardly the fault of the SNP that the other parties are so far removed from the real world of ordinary Scots.
2012-03-16 11:19

I agree 100%.
edinburgh quine
2012-03-16 12:02

Well said Aplinal
2012-03-16 13:45

In normal, healthy democracies, there needs to be a genuine choice for the electorate to make.

That way, at least in the long term, it is the electorate which decides the direction of our nation.

I call it the two oar system. The analogy being that the passengers on the ship of state regularly get to say which oar needs to be used next.

By that means the ultimate direction of the ship aligns over time with the will of the people. i.e. democracy.

In order for it to work, we need to have two oars, one for the left and one for the right.

In situations where there is only one oar, as in, for instance, a dictatorship, whether by individual or ideology, then democracy is defeated and the ship simply goes round in circles making no real progress.

The longer such a situation continues, as well as a loss of directional control by the electorate, the cancer of complacency, clique and corruption will inevitably spread until it is ever harder to remove.

In the UK (and America) for several decades, there has existed a new modus which denies the people genuine choice. i.e. allegedly different parties, but where, in reality, both oars on offer are for the same side of the boat.

Although providing the illusion of democracy, it is in effect, really just another form of dictatorship because the ultimate direction of the state is no longer decided by the people. By any measure at least, it is certainly not true democracy .

I genuinely believe that the gestalt intelligence of the population is vastly superior to that of any self-interested ruling cabal. The personality types drawn to such positions (with the exception of the principled actors during a freedom restoration phase) are exactly the wrong types, generally, to best advance the interests of those who elect them.

The best we can achieve, is to regularly exchange genuinely different parties with as strong as possible anti-corruption measures (no gifts, no promises, no sinecures, no lobbying).

Nations which have regularly undergone genuine directional change at the behest of their people have demonstrably out performed those lacking real directional choice for their electorates.

Rant over, till next time.

Rant back on, because I forgot to add:

With an independent Scotland, there is every hope, and indeed expectation, that, unlike the rUK, a normal healthy democratic process would be restored in Scotland. And with a well written constitution festooned with appropriate checks and balances for governance, it should be sustainable.

Every time the ‘One Party independent Scotland’ mantra is chanted by Us, folk should welcome the opportunity to point out that the UK electorate is the one with no real choice and an independent Scotland is much more likely to have one.

In fact, it should be a main selling point for independence rather than an anti.
John Lyons
2012-03-16 16:04

Nice one, like the oars analogy, but theoretically we have at least four oars, possibly six if you count the two little ones (Green and independent!) However, China only has one oar and isn’t exactly going around in circles.

Coming back to Lab Lib Dem and Con, I truly believe we will not see Scotland only versions of all of these parties any time soon.

Firstly if Independence comes along all three leaders will be moved on the way they were after May last year. That’ll set them back years whilst the new leaders get to grips with the roles. But worse than that, I think the Tories in particular will start with a return to the union campaign, and my reasoning is simple. If we don’t get independence at the 2014 referendum the SNP wont stop campaigning for it. If the Conservative and Unionist party don’t get to keep the union why should we expect them to stop campaigning for that?

They’ll be furthest behind and last to embrace change. Labour should do well out of independence as Scotland has given them massive support in the past, but I think they’ll take too long to change and will fail to realise (as they do now)the true reasons that Scotland will embrace independence. It’s not that the Sun shines out of wee Ecks Jacksie, it’s simply that Labour have failed the Scottish people. They’re still too busy trying to save their own Bahookies to realise this. That realisation won’t come any time soon.

I think the Lib Dems will deal with change best.

But there will be the new parties. The SDA will apparently be standing for election in an Independent Scotland. They very well could find themselves as the first Opposition too! And I don’t think the socialists are done yet either. They could win over a lot of Disillusioned Labour voters looking for somewhere to put their cross.

Of course it’s all supposition and conjecture. Only time will tell, and even then only if we get independence.(Although surely the thought of continuing as we are is enough to motivate people to vote for change!)
2012-03-16 20:56

Quoting John Lyons:

Nice one, like the oars analogy, but theoretically we have at least four oars, possibly six if you count the two little ones (Green and independent!) However, China only has one oar and isn’t exactly going around in circles.

I thought someone might bring these up.
Regarding multiple oars, that doesn’t effect the message as long as they are sufficiently different to provide reasonable change when required.

Regarding China, that story is complicated and too much to go into right now.
It is a whole new ball game.
However, succinctly, to extend the metaphor, China manages to have
two different oars in the water at the same time, communism and capitalism. That particularly schizoid circle is only squareable with the aid of Western capitalists.

It was never a sustainable position and is rapidly drawing to a close.

One should not equate GDP increase to ‘doing well’ unless it is benefiting
China’s population proportionately  .

Scotland will have meaningful left right and centre parties, some from a fracturing SNP others, unfortunately, from the legacy cringeworthy parties, and no doubt some new ones.


2012-03-16 09:54

You are making an assumption ,mistakenly , that after independnece the SNP will be in power .
I suspect the Labour ,Liberal and Conservatives will don new clothes,reform and give the people choices .I would like to think those choices would be in the best interests of Scotland and her people – well thought out , double thunk ,thoroughly investigated ,tried and tested choices.
Right now ,if we were left with Lib/Lab/Con present in Holyrood ,I would be more sympathetic with your worry over a ” one party state” – who on earth voted for that lot?
2012-03-16 14:56

It is entirely possible that the Labour – Lib – Tory parties in Scotland will coalesce and become a single “Unification” party of some description.

If they did this they could draw on the best of each party with the potential to form a slightly better than presently absolutely mediocre leadership core.

Note the word – potential – as it isn’t always reached 🙂

2012-03-16 10:19

I’ve frankly never read such a partisan scare story in all my days.

Even a one party state up here of our own making would be preferable to the one party state of Westminster that we currently have.
2012-03-16 19:19

Couldn’t agree more Tartan especially when that particular one part state is determind to continue it’s plunder of the resources of this nation both natural and human to enrich itself to the detrement of our children and their children’s children to the nth degree!

2012-03-16 10:46

I agree Upsake that we dont want a one party state.However,I believe that,in spite of the SNP majority in May 2011,the pr system will ensure that a range of views are represented in the parliament.As someone else has pointed out,after independence the dynamics of Scottish politics is likely to change.

2012-03-16 09:53

Upspake, Looks like you prefer the status quo. Why are you so concerned about the unionist parties who have had the monopoly of power over Scotland for 300 years? If they truly had any interest in Scotland they would have signed up for change. Westminster and their lackies only want to screw every penny they can out of Scotland. No one is forced to join the SNP but clearly when it comes to politics and the interests of Scotland they are head and shoulders above the rest. You say nepotism & corruption are part of Labour but perhaps the SNP members are more honest Scots who have no craving for ermine and titles.
2012-03-16 09:56


The ToryHoose website, with a readership of Scottish Conservatives


2012-03-16 09:59

I’ve just been over to Toryhoose to have a look at the article as i just can’t believe it. Sure enough, there are the figures.

Of course, some of the comments blame US for fiddling with the vote – the dreaded cybernats. It’s just desperate, I dob’t know whether to laugh or cry…..
2012-03-16 10:09

Agree with those above that worries about the SNP becoming over-mighty and bad for democracy are over reactions. Things will be much different post-independence; we will have our “own” parties of various political stripes, and likely a fully proportional voting system.

In a way, I think it is no bad thing that the SNP (in the current political climate where ALL the major Unionist opposition parties are in such a bad way, even if self-inflicted!!) has come to represent a broad protest movement.

Obviously there is a core of SNP members, and it may well be the party will continue post independence, but lots of non-members are willing to lend it their support to achieve independence, or even just devo max. The SNP, and the broader movement for independence is beginning to look a lot more like the Irish movement toward independence in the early late 1800’s and early 1900’s (…altho mercifully sans violence, sectarianism and the Ulster question!) in as much as the Unionist parties have essentially LOST the argument.

The vast majority of the people want maximum amounts of home rule, and a growing minority want full indepencence. The issue is whether the SNP and independistas more broadly can use the next 2 years to convert enough people, and to convince them that if you want Devo Max, you might as well vote for full independence rather than risk nothing/ promises jam tomorrow.

You shouldn’t be under any illusion that it will be an easy sell, but it certainly isn’t impossible. The Unionist parties in Scotland are certainly helping out, particularly with no hopers like Lamont and Davidson in charge.
Boris Broon
2012-03-16 15:15

Quoting Galen10:

Agree with those

Obviously there is a core of SNP members, and it may well be the party will continue post independence,

The SNP has to continue post independence. There are too many within the dependence parties who would like nothing better than to strangle the infant nation at birth. Perhaps as we get nearer the referendum and independence looks likely we will see some within those parties switching horses.


2012-03-16 10:13

I really quite like her style.

She actually says what she genuinely thinks – and although I could have no truck with her politics, that in itself is refreshing.

The fact that she’s continually undermined by Dave and his chums, who change their minds daily about what to do about ‘North Britain’ just adds to the pantomime of the unionist parties.
2012-03-16 10:26

I amintersted by the concept of FFA as instanced by Displaced Patriot.
FFA (full fiscal autonomy) is only achieved through independence.
the wallace
2012-03-16 10:39

Who cares?
2012-03-16 10:58

Good article about AIB policy disarray on nuclear weapons.…/…
2012-03-16 11:13

Nice that at least the New Statesman acknowledges that Lamentable is answerable to her “Westminster superiors”, despite all the havering about “Scottish” Labour and wee Johanna is the boss of all the MPs, MSPs, the office cat, old Uncle Tom Cobleigh, oh yes, she is, the Scottish MSM says so.

As this article points out, Johanna wouldn’t say boo to a ghost, if it has a London Labour badge on. Wonder who in London is writing her scripts to read out at FMQs.
2012-03-16 23:45

Uncle Tom Cobleigh? More akin to uncle Tom I would have thought……….

2012-03-16 12:17

I’ve seen this acronym a few times now (AIB). Could you possibly tell me what it means?
2012-03-16 12:23

Anti Independence Brigade
2012-03-16 12:40


2012-03-16 11:00

As an independence supporter I’d much prefer Davidson and Lamont in charge at the Tory and Labour Parties. They make our job a heck of a lot easier.It’s now probable that after they are slaughtered at the local government elections in May, Labour will dump the lamentable Lamont but Davidson can and will soldier on
2012-03-16 11:27

Labour don’t dump their leaders. Look how long they put up with Gordon (the moron) Brown! They’ll stick by (be stuck with) Lamentable Johann until she quits.

2012-03-16 11:11

The fickleness of Scottish tories is founded on the width of the chasm lying before them. They have no where to go.

Westminster, which is their natural home, is a disaster waiting to happen , if it hasn’t already. The economy is in terminal decline – realistically irrecoverable and their bedrock is crumbling.

With an independent healthy Scotland looking more than appealing, despite the crazy scare stories that even they will admit is no more than that – with nothing else, they are born survivors and will jump into that lifeboat.
2012-03-16 11:47

Puppets don’t require “experience” or an ability to think.They just do what they are allowed to by the people who control them.
This goes for all of the London based parties.
Labour are pretending that Ms Lamont is in charge in Scotland but we have seen from recent events that this is a sham and that she also does what she is told by London.
Instructions being,reject anything which is different from policy as laid down by London.
We will never see Scottish policies being developed by the unionist parties as that threatens their union and that is what they are solely about north of the border.
Nothing to offer the people of Scotland except continued rule from London and policies developed there.
J Wil
2012-03-16 11:52

The Tories don’t have many (or any) chances with their leader and with their prospects in Scotland. On the other hand I can’t see any phoenix rising from the ashes to save them.
2012-03-16 12:04

” In the last survey, Ms Davidson enjoyed an approval rating of 82.1%, however in the latest poll of Conservative opinion, her support has fallen to just 4.8%, a drop of 77.3%.”

I take issue with this. If the starting point is taken as 82.1%, 4,8% represents a drop of just over 94%. The drop is indeed 77.3 percentage points (which is calculated with 100% as the reference point).

Similarly with Murdo Fraser’s figures. I presume he had a rating of 43.3% last time (80.4 – 37.1). This means his increase is actually a whopping 85.7% approximately (or 37.1 percentage points).
2012-03-16 12:37

Hi there,

I think Ruth’s mistake has been to be far too much in favour of more Devolution for the ancient Tory memberships’ liking. They want Holyrood disbanded and the building turned into an old-folks’-home, not granted more powers through the Scotland Act.

2012-03-16 12:42

Indeed. I mean, they can’t all fit into the old folks’ home in the Palace of Westminster (aka the House of Lords).
2012-03-16 14:23

Yep, I think her popularity plummeted when she said that the referendum question was fair and clear. Her party did not like that.

2012-03-16 15:38

It was obvious when she was selected that she wasnt going anywhere.
The unionist mentality of a lack of will to change from the status quo and yield to more Devo powers, puts them on the political rubbish dump.
Murdo Fraser would have been a better hope for them, but fuddy duddys, dont like change in their secure world.
Lamont is going the same route, she was coy to come out with what she wanted for labour, but now its obvious shes a status quo fan also.
2012-03-16 16:22

I only even see her at FMQs, and after a shaky start,she seems more ‘professional’ than the other numpties Johanna and Wllie. I think there is a small group within the Tories who would be more supportive of the SNP if their leadership in London did not dissuade them.

Personally, I think she is doing OK with a pretty poor hand of cards.
2012-03-16 21:07

She’s the only one of the three that comes across as a competent parliamentarian rather than an over-promoted local councillor. It’s a shame she’s been undermined by her own leader. Well, it’s a shame for her, I quite enjoyed it.

2012-03-16 16:28

The problem with Ruth is the ‘Blairite’ media mannerism she adopts when on camera. It comes across as condescending and in-sincere. Nobody believes her anymore, especially now that the ‘line in the sand’ has been completely obliterated.
Dundonian West
2012-03-16 16:39

O/T”Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Patricia Ferguson, blasted:
“Viewers in Scotland deserve the best possible television service in the world, not some cheap knock-off.”

O,deary,deary me—–,has she seen the light?
I’ve taken this completely out of context, in accordance with the highest standards of unionist journalism,but it does make a good read!

Read more:…/…

Courtesy of the Scottish Sun.
2012-03-16 19:41

As others have said Fraser always seemed to be the one with the right idea as with MC in Labour. Maybe they are both playing a long game. Let the anti independance elements of their prefered political parties ruin themselves and the argument then come independance or just before the crown of the new parties that will be required is theirs.

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