By a Newsnet reporter

Last month David Cameron appointed Andrew Dunlop as his new adviser on Scotland.  Mr Dunlop was hurriedly given the job in order to bolster the Conservatives’ ailing campaign against Scottish independence.  Andrew Dunlop is well-known in Conservative circles for his lobbying work for right wing pressure groups and think tanks.

However the appointment of Mr Dunlop may backfire on the Prime Minister’s office, which again finds itself open to the charge that Mr Cameron has a deaf ear to Scottish sensibilities and no understanding of Scotland.  The Sunday Express has revealed that Mr Dunlop was a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher.  

At the time the poll tax was introduced, Mr Dunlop was a member of Mrs Thatcher’s inner circle of advisers, in charge of policy on taxation and Scotland.  He would have been closely involved in the decision to introduce the tax one year earlier in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.  

Although born and educated in Scotland, Mr Dunlop has lived in the south of England since the early 80s.  After leaving his post as an adviser to Mrs Thatcher, he founded the lobbying company Politics International, now known as Interel Consulting.  He retired from the company in 2010 to concentrate on his political work.  As well as his post as an adviser to the Prime Minister, Mr Dunlop is also a Conservative councillor in West Sussex.  

Mr Dunlop has a long and close association with the Thatcherite wing of the Conservative party.  He was a trustee of the Atlantic Bridge thinktank which was set up by the discredited Liam Fox MP, another acolyte of Mrs Thatcher, obstensibly to promote UK-American relations.  The Charity Commission stripped Atlantic Bridge of its charitable status in 2011 after it came to light that the organisation was a nakedly political pressure group promoting a right wing Thatcherite agenda.

After Mr Dunlop’s appointment to the Prime Minister’s office last month, the millionaire West Sussex councillor was forced to repay parking fees to the council after it emerged that he had been using his council parking pass to avoid paying parking charges when he left his car at the train station to travel to work in Downing Street.  The council pass should only be used when a councillor is on official council business.  Car parking charges are a hugely controversial issue locally, as the Conservative council has continued to hike the charges irrespective of a tidal wave of public opposition.

Speaking to the local newspaper, the West Sussex County Times, Mr Dunlop said:  “When it was brought to my attention by a council officer that car passes should only be used exclusively on council business, I immediately refrained from using this car park.  I apologise unreservedly for any inappropriate use of the pass. I will of course make good any loss that the Council has suffered as a result.”

SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell commented on the reports about Mr Dunlop, but says that bigger questions about his past must be answered.

Mr Maxwell said it was “disappointing if not totally unsurprising” for a Tory to be misusing public spaces but said there were more important issues about Mr Dunlop’s appointment.

Mr Maxwell, MSP for West of Scotland and member of The Scotland Bill Committee, added:

“Questions must be asked on what role a young Mr Dunlop – a policy adviser to Thatcher in tax reform and Scotland the late 1980s – had in the implantation of the Poll Tax to Scotland.

“It is also interesting to note that the Prime Minister has employed a so called expert on Scotland who lives in the South East of England.

“This must be another blow for Ruth Davidson and the Tories in Scotland who are becoming more removed and out of sync with their task-masters in London every passing week.

“The people of Scotland deserve transparent politicians who respect and care about Scotland, not people who lack respect for public spaces and don’t even live in the country they hope to rule over.

“Cameron’s new Thatcherite appointment will result in even more people in Scotland opting for home rule with independence rather than Tory Westminster rule.”

The Conservatives later issued a denial that Mr Dunlop had any role in the Poll Tax whilst he was employed as an adviser to Mrs Thatcher.


# Jiggsbro 2012-03-18 17:00
They really don’t want us, do they?
# Dundonian West 2012-03-18 17:04
The brazen neck,and the Lib/Dems cringe at their erstwhile Tory partners?
Perhaps not.
# pmcrek 2012-03-18 18:35
Its just rank stupidity imo, probably rooted in a culture of utter disregard.
# clootie 2012-03-18 17:29

I hope not 😀
# Christian_Wright 2012-03-18 21:47
Another calculated appointment. It seems to me the evidence is now overwhelming that this apparent serial blundering is in fact deliberate strategy.

Cameron is fighting with every fiber of his being to facilitate and encourage Scotland’s exit from the Union whilst credibly appearing to be striving with the same aforementioned being and fibers, to keep Scotland IN the Union.
# Vincent McDee 2012-03-19 12:16
58 non-tory seats in Wastemonster for the price of a single one of them, is a very tempting reason for that strategy, C-W.
# D_A_N 2012-03-18 17:03
You couldn’t make this stuff up.

# Hirta 2012-03-18 17:11
Think positively. Even more votes in favour of SNP 🙂
# J Wil 2012-03-18 17:14
I it took my attention this morning, the number of Scots reporting on purely English political matters. They all seem well ensconced in the London bubble.
# Ericmac 2012-03-18 17:19
This stuff just beggars belief. I have wasted most of my sunday being dumfounded as I catch up on the Unionist propaganda all over the media. Thank goodness for NNS, the one place to turn to for a reasonable view.

I have just one question. How do we ensure that the energy and drive in here …. spreads the good word?? It sometimes feels like this NNS is an island in a sea of media sickness!
There are many lone voices out there. How do we gather us all together and coordinate a proper fight?…/…/……/……/
# Ericmac 2012-03-18 17:22
Do replies to your posts get emailed to your email address automatically?

Can you search the posts?

IS it allowed to exchange email details on here or is it forbidden by the T&Cs;?


NNS does not reply to individual posts but you can use the ‘contact us’ button.
We would advise against posting email addresses on a public forum. – NNS Mod Team
# Ericmac 2012-03-18 20:21
# Peter A Bell 2012-03-18 17:45
One might almost feel sorry for Ruth Davidson. Cameron has obviously decided to proceed as if she did not exist. He evidently holds her in the same contempt as the people of Scotland.
# gopher3 2012-03-18 18:04
How many more “Experts on Scotland” are they going to employ in the near future.???
# Roll_On_2011 2012-03-18 18:12
I also note from this Daily Record article…/…

It is not the first time that Cameron’s new adviser on Scottish affairs has attracted controversy.

He was a trustee of the discredited Atlantic Bridge educational “charity” set up by former defence secretary Liam Fox. It was ordered to close by the Charity Commision last year amid concerns over its activities.
# gus1940 2012-03-18 18:20

Did anybody else watch the program on BBC last night titled ‘How God Made The English’?

It was the first of a series and was one of the wierdest programs I have ever watched.
# govanite 2012-03-18 19:02
Aye, still on balance another nail in the coffin given it was nominally for a thinking audience.

Anyone give me run down on today’s politics show?
# RTP 2012-03-18 21:27
# govanite

It was all anti SNP Government ,better not to watch not good for the blood presure.
# naemairleesplease 2012-03-18 22:03
RE the politics show. Probably not worth watching as you say but I tried to download it for the bbc iplayer and was told it’s not available to download. I checked out the sunday politics shows for the other uk regions and they’re all available for download.
# Marga B 2012-03-18 19:07
What? You are joking aren’t you?

Can’t even watch a clip – “media selection request failed”.

Maybe it’s just as well for my blood pressure …
# govanite 2012-03-18 19:48
No joking, missed it – was it good or bad ?
Is it worth catching up ?
# GavB 2012-03-18 20:01
John Swinney was strong on the lower pay for poorer regions fiasco. There is a write up on the BBC site.…/…

He even drew a comment from Ken MacIntosh “I find myself completely in agreement with John Swinney on this issue”. Which was refreshing (and which didn’t make the BBC site).

The most bizarre contribution in the programme was a piece from Tavish Scott where he was arguing that the Northern Isles needed more autonomy from Edinburgh and Westminster to properly represent their interests regarding fishing as well as oil & gas. He stated repeatedly that he did not know what would happen if Scotland voted yes for independence but the Northern Isles voted no.

Tavish was very careful in his language to describe this as a local MSP looking after his constituents. I read this more like a cynical attempt at divide and rule.

There were other topics covered, but I am afraid I was only half listening.
# govanite 2012-03-18 20:10

Yeah, tavish Scott nothing worthwhile to say, just serving his masters.
# Marga B 2012-03-18 23:54
Gav B – the Kenneth MacIntosh comment is there now. Any “sniffer” information to find out when it got there? (it’e right at the end).
# C2DEalba 2012-03-18 20:48
I watched 10 mins. I had to switch off. After hearing, such things as WW2 was mainly English, whilst perhaps a technical point, as there are more English than Scots, the context was well stated that this statement was not about population figures.
# edinburgh quine 2012-03-18 23:38
Tell that to my father who was at Dunkirk, my father in law who was in the Argylls, 3 of my uncles, in the far east, north africa and Europe.

Well, if they can win WWII on on their own, they dont need us now.
# Angus 2012-03-18 22:12
Quoting gus1940:

Did anybody else watch the program on BBC last night titled ‘How God Made The English’?

It was the first of a series and was one of the wierdest programs I have ever watched.

Aye, saw it, and I had to change channels after 5 minutes. It really did point out that the English are the masters and the Scots, Irish and Welsh are backward.
# Zed 2012-03-18 22:26
It was a rather strange programme. Interesting in parts at the beginning then completely lost credibility trying to describe the English through a prism of britishness.
Lost it completely with talk of the Empire and WWI in an almost unique tribute the the English.
He did mention the possible fragmentation of the UK at the end of the programme, so it will probably retain my interest for the next episode
# Hing em high 2012-03-18 18:24
Another bit of tactical genuis from the No campaign!
# D_A_N 2012-03-18 19:00
haha 🙂
# RJBH 2012-03-18 19:07
Welcome Andrew Dunlop….Im sure you will be a great asset to who ever it is you represent.
# edinburgh quine 2012-03-18 23:40
“Car parking charges are a hugely controversial issue locally, as the Conservative council has continued to hike the charges irrespective of a tidal wave of public opposition.”

Typical flamin’ tory. Dont do as I do, do as I tell you.
# robbie 2012-03-18 19:14
Dunlop and a burst tyre spring to mind.
# Robabody 2012-03-19 01:07
Dunlop? Aw well, he’s been MacIntyres for years….off to bed now, goodnight:-)
# Suomi 2012-03-18 19:31
Oh well,thats it.The Tories have just committed political suicide and damaged the No campaign.
# Legerwood 2012-03-18 21:38
What ‘No’ campaign? I hardly think their efforts to date could be characterised as a ‘campaign’. Moire like headless chickens looking for the exit.
# Jiggsbro 2012-03-18 21:48
The campaign is to be made into a film, “Carry On with the Union”, starring Kenneth Williams as Lord Forsyth, Sid James as Lord Foulkes, June Whitfield as Johann Lamont, Hattie Jacques as Jackie Baillie, Charles Hawtrey as George Osborne, Leslie Phillips as David Cameron and Barbara Windsor as ‘the Dream Team’ (Alastair Darling and Gordon Brown).
# Angry_Weegie 2012-03-19 00:31
Unfortunately, Hattie Jacques might have to put on a bit of weight and dumb down her act.
# Blanco 2012-03-19 12:54
# edinburgh quine 2012-03-19 13:48
Surely it should be “Carry on, UP the union”
# Des58 2012-03-18 19:48
Nice end of the eighties retro look to the no campaign.
# Wee-Scamp 2012-03-18 19:51
I wonder if he’s also the one behind the Royal Mail privatisation programme that the BBC have found out about.

“Government wants to take on Royal Mail’s assets and liabilities next month, subject to European Commission’s approval, BBC understands”

This is to make it easier to privatise probably by selling it to an overseas postal outfit. It’s the thing the Tories have in common with Labour – they’re both industrial traitors.
# UpSpake 2012-03-18 19:56
Wee Scamp. What would be the point ?. An independent Scotland would have its own Post Office combined with a Savings Bank as proposed by the SDA. No one would touch a UK privitisation where a chunk would be torn away after independence. On the other hand, they might !.
# rhymer 2012-03-18 20:19
I think either they don’t understand the Scottish people or they just don’t care. The appointment of somebody with a strong connection to Maggie Thatcher and the spectre of poll tax isn’t exactly a positive move. Tory stupidity again.

PS I was out of action for this month due to health problems but I managed to convert three nurses to the independence cause.
# scottish_skier 2012-03-18 20:25
Excellent work. Good to have you back. Everyone in the SME I started with colleagues (~12 folk now and growing) is converted, even my colleague from Durham who hopes we can annex the north of England.
# Hing em high 2012-03-18 21:08
You converted three! I recommend another bout of being out of action to convert more! Can you not fake it? Well I wouldn’t wish further real ill health on you!
# Ericmac 2012-03-18 20:19…/

This is well worth looking at if you have not already seen it. It explains why Scotland is posturing Independence so strongly now. It kills 99% of all known Unionist argument dead.

The truth is the politicians still don’t get it… the posters on NNS do!! I think that is incredible.
# Roll_On_2011 2012-03-18 20:47

Government plans U-turn on aircraft carriers as catapult costs spiral…/…

Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, has recommended a U-turn on one of the most controversial proposals of the cost-cutting armed forces reforms, the Guardian has learned.

David Cameron will decide this week whether to agree to an embarrassing about-face involving the Royal Navy’s over-budget aircraft carriers, which are under construction.

It does not matter wich party/parties is in government, Red Tories, Blue Tories or Yellow Tories it nearly always reminds me of that well worn saying ‘ass and elbow’.
# Legerwood 2012-03-18 21:37
According to some reports in the papers today this is not the only U-turn they are considering. Apparently they are shelving plans for a brand new army barracks outside Edinburgh. Instead they will keep one of the existing barracks and possibly sell the other one.

As to the aircraft and the carriers. There seems to be something odd going on. there seems to be lots of problems and delays with the aircraft yet last week they were talking about hundreds of jobs being created in britain making components for the aircraft which would then be sent to the USA where the planes would be assembled.…/…
# border reiver 2012-03-18 22:33
The Atlantic Bridge foundation that Dunlop was linked with has a huge cloud hanging over it as it and its website closed the first day that the Liam Fox and Adam Verity scandal broke. The Conservatives were desperate to move it out of the spotlight and off the agenda and no-one would make any comments about what its role or funding was about.
In the wake of the scandal, Cameron was quoted as saying that he “wanted to shine a light of transparency on lobbying so that Politics can come clean about who is buying power and influence” guess what? as everything else with Cameron absolutely nothing has changed in fact lobbying has probably got worse
# gopher3 2012-03-18 23:30
It’s been reported on the EBC that the UK Government are to sell off parts of the roads network.
# Al Ghaf 2012-03-18 23:30
So what exactly is Michael Moores job?

I thought he was representing Scotland at the highest levels. I wonder if he feels a bit used when he goes out to do Camerons hatchet work in Scotland but is blatantly snubbed by the appointment of a loyal tory as Scottish Advisor.
# Dundonian West 2012-03-19 14:33
To represent Scotland’s interests at Great Britain Cabinet level.
Comes with one of London’s finest and grandest government offices—Dover House,Whitehall London.
Michael’s done fair well for himself.…/…
# RoBell 2012-03-18 23:35
Being born in Scotland will not necessarily make you an expert on the Scots, just as being born in a garage won’t make you an expert on cars.
# Gordon Hay 2012-03-19 15:36
It seems to me that Cameron is secretly trying to promote independence while publicly championing the Union – getting rid of the tranche of Scottish Labour MPs must be a great incentive for him.

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