By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP have called upon Scottish Conservative leader to explain and clarify the role to be played by London-based arch-Thatcherite lobbyist Andrew Dunlop in the anti-independence campaign.  Last month, Mr Dunlop, who is also a Conservative councillor in West Sussex, was employed by David Cameron as his special adviser in the Conservative campaign to defeat Scottish independence.

The appointment of Mr Dunlop as the Prime Minister’s right-hand man in the anti-independence campaign raised concern in Scotland after it emerged that in the late 1980s Mr Dunlop was a special adviser on Scotland and taxation to then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  This was at the time that the poll tax was introduced although Mr Dunlop categorically denies that he was involved in devising the policy or implementing it. 

Although born and educated in Scotland, Mr Dunlop has lived in the south east of England since the early 1980s.  As well as his post in the Prime Minister’s office, he is also a Conservative councillor in West Sussex.  He has a long association with the Thatcherite wing of the Conservative party

Mr Dunlop was a trustee of disgraced former defence minister and Thatcher acolyte Liam Fox’s “Atlantic Bridge” organisation until it was stripped of its charitable status by the Charity Commission, following revelations that it was nothing more than a nakedly political pro-Thatcherite pressure and lobbying group.  

Senior SNP backbencher Stewart Maxwell MSP has now written to the Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, to ask if Mr Dunlop’s involvement in her new “Friends of the Union” campaign means that the Scottish electorate can expect other Thatcherite policies to be brought forward.

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

“Given Mr Dunlop has been brought in with a special remit to help defeat independence presumably he is involved in the new ‘Friends of the Union’ campaign that Ruth Davidson is set to launch next weekend.

“Ms Davidson should surely realise that it is a blunder of catastrophic proportions to have one of the creators of the poll tax at the heart of her new campaign, as it reminds the Scottish electorate of the damage that has been inflicted by Tory rule from Westminster.

“This just shows you can’t trust the Tories.  Given half a chance they will put Scotland’s future in the hands of those who were at the heart of the Thatcher government which was hell bent on destroying Scotland.

“Ruth Davidson should also be concerned that instead of relying on herself and the Scottish Conservative party to advise him on Scotland, Prime Minister David Cameron is instead relying on a Thatcherite adviser based in the South East of England.  It is unclear why they think that will help boost support for the union – it will do the opposite.

“I have now written to Ms Davidson to seek assurance that despite Mr Dunlop’s involvement, her new campaign will not include any policies such as the discredited poll tax.”

Text of letter from Stewart Maxwell MSP to Ruth Davidson MSP:

Dear Ruth,

As you are no doubt aware Mr Andrew Dunlop has been recruited by Prime Minister David Cameron to advise on Scottish affairs.  Given Mr Dunlop has been brought in with a “special remit to help defeat independence” – according to media reports – presumably he is involved in your new “Friends of the Union” campaign set to launch next weekend.


From weekend media reports it also appears that Mr Dunlop was involved in the introduction of the poll tax, and thus I would appreciate an assurance that despite Mr Dunlop’s involvement in your new campaign, the Conservatives will not try to impose any policies such as the discredited poll tax on the people of Scotland.


Kind Regards,


Stewart Maxwell MSP


Comments  

 
#
Vincent McDee
2012-03-19 02:19

The most likely answer Ruth is going to give is:

Andrew who?
 
 
#
Fungus
2012-03-19 07:44

She’ll answer the question after her monthly five minute briefing on Tory policy for Scotland.

Mind you I liked Quote:

presumably he is involved in your new “Friends of the Union” campaign set to launch next weekend.



🙂

 
 
#
admiral
2012-03-19 09:00

Quoting Fungus:

She’ll answer the question after her monthly five minute briefing on Tory policy for Scotland.

Mind you I liked Quote:

presumably he is involved in your new “Friends of the Union” campaign set to launch next weekend.



🙂


Friends of Union = FoU. Fou Also = French for crazy! Says it all, really.

 
 
#
naemairleesplease
2012-03-19 10:19

Quoting admiral:

Quoting Fungus:

She’ll answer the question after her monthly five minute briefing on Tory policy for Scotland.

Mind you I liked Quote:

presumably he is involved in your new “Friends of the Union” campaign set to launch next weekend.



🙂


Friends of Union = FoU. Fou Also = French for crazy! Says it all, really.



fou = Scots for pished oot o yer heid

 
 
#
Dances With Haggis 1320
2012-03-19 10:46

Or Fou in Scots means well fed full of food or drink , Drunk, inroxicated [Wiktionary]
 
 
#
uilleam_beag
2012-03-19 11:58

Seeing as the ‘o’ from ‘of’ is normally dropped in abbreviations of this sort, the correct title for the “Friends of the Union” campaign should be simply FU.

I think that’s even more apt.
 
 
#
Vincent McDee
2012-03-19 12:07

Let me see:

“…to increase knowledge and understanding within and without the United Kingdom of the need to maintain the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland…”

Yep! Totally bonkers.
 
 
#
Holebender
2012-03-19 12:17

A similar comment of mine was modded off a couple of days ago, so I don’t expect this one to be around for long.
 

 
#
admiral
2012-03-19 08:58

Help ma boab! A toon cooncillor fae deepest Sussex! That’ll scare the natives, right enough.
 
 
#
Union City Blues
2012-03-19 09:19

Let me get this straight, The UK government is using UK money to pay a consultant (who is also a member of the Tory party) to work against the key policy of a political party elected by the majority of Scottish voters? Is that legal? Or is this paid for by the Tory party? Either way not morally right and a great example of jobs for the boys.
 
 
#
Holebender
2012-03-19 09:53

You could probably just as validly argue that the UK Government is paying a consultant to help them preserve the UK, which is probably a legitimate government function.
 
 
#
tartanfever
2012-03-19 09:59

Surely this guy is being paid out of tory pockets ? Civil service roles have to be non-bias and non -political. This guy clearly isn’t and should be paid by tory funding.
 
 
#
RaboRuglen
2012-03-19 10:45

Hi tartan,

Yes that was my reaction too. Is this just a way to funnel English money north to fight for the “no” campaign, because they are incapable of raising it themselves?

I suspect so.

Regards,
 

 
#
manxbhoy
2012-03-19 09:30

ooops its back tae the future time again for the tories…

powerbase.info/…/…

you would honestly think that they would know better than revive a discredited anti peace accord (Northern Ireland) organisation name to encourage the Scots to positively maintain the union!

When will they ever learn?
 
 
#
edinburgh quine
2012-03-19 10:52

You’re not surprised are you?

The telling lines in the text are near the top when someone called McFee who sited lack of activity, lack of funds and lack of a sponsor as reasons to give up.
 

 
#
alasdairmac
2012-03-19 10:28

“When will they ever learn” asks Manxboy. Well, isn’t that the lovely thing about the Scottish Tories : they never do and it’s why you can rely on them to have the same policies year after year. It’s called consistency and why they havnt had a new policy in the last 25 years.
 
 
#
Peter A Bell
2012-03-19 10:36

How would Davidson know anything about this? It’s pretty obvious Cameron pays her no heed at all.
 
 
#
mealer
2012-03-19 10:38

Friends of the Union = enemies of Scotland
 
 
#
edinburgh quine
2012-03-19 10:46

Are there so few tory strategists that they have to turn to someone so discredited? Naw, they’re just contemptuous of the Scots.

As I have read the tory headlines over the last week, from privatising the english nhs, lowering taxes for the rich, taking pay from the poorest areas, selling of england’s roads to the highest bidder, and now this, I’m moved to quote someone who’s name escapes me just now “you couldn’t make it up”!
 
 
#
alexb
2012-03-19 11:34

While I think we, the Scots, especially the ones who want independence, are just like an irritating itch to Cameron, which he hopes will disappear, his party North of the border led, if that is the correct term, by Davidson,is proving even more ineffective than when Goldie was in charge.I don,t think Westminster, and this applies to all the unionist parties, even bother telling their puppets who are nominally in charge here what they intend to do, or who they are going to appoint, until they have already done so. Anyway, Cameron,s record on appointments is appalling, Andy Coulson and Steve Hilson to name but two of his more important, now former, aides. So I wouldn,t be too concerned about this latest guy who is going to tell us rebellious Scots where to get off. The political landscape has changed irrevocably, but these detached from reality politicians “still don,t get it”.
 
 
#
John Lyons
2012-03-19 11:51

“Ms Davidson should surely realise that it is a blunder of catastrophic proportions to have one of the creators of the poll tax at the heart of her new campaign, as it reminds the Scottish electorate of the damage that has been inflicted by Tory rule from Westminster.”

Loved that quote.

Is there such a thing as a Tory who does NOT remind the Scottish electorate of the Damage done by the Tories?
 
 
#
Inverlochy 1645
2012-03-19 12:06

As the saying goes, they are making a rod for their own back!!! Long may it continue 🙂
 
 
#
proudscot
2012-03-19 12:41

In the case of all the unionist parties, I am reminded of the quote, “They forget nothing and they learn nothing!”
 
 
#
Blanco
2012-03-19 12:52

No wonder they are so out of touch if they are taking advice from a wetback who has not seen Scotland for nearly thirty years.

I wonder if he thinks Lager Lovelies still adorn Tennents cans?
 
 
#
Gordon Hay
2012-03-19 15:24

I wonder if it is a good tactic to use the “Scots as guinea-pigs for the Poll Tax” myth as a weapon against the Tories when the truth – that it was the Labour-lead councils of COSLA that begged Rifkind to persuade Thatcher to bring it in to save them from the courts over the failure to re-assess rates – would be far more embarrassing for both parties.
 
 
#
mealer
2012-03-19 22:45

The tory party in Scotland were faced with the choice of Murdo,who wanted to try to cultivate a new and more appealing conservativeism  .Or Ruth,who promised a line in the sand etc.The tories in Scotland are reduced to a handful of mainly elderly folks who will be quite happy to welcome this man into the fold.I think they’d have been better keeping Ms Goldie.
 
 
#
Independista
2012-03-19 23:12

Get the posters printed now!
VOTE NO, GET NOWT!
 
 
#
rhymer
2012-03-22 20:47

Please Ruth get a new acting coach. Your existing “BBC reporter hand and facial gestures” style of delivery is too exaggerated and too obviously false to be believable.
Your standard “anger and increduality” expression is more akin to a toddler’s reaction to a lost sweetie than any normal adult’s reaction.
 

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