By a Newsnet reporter

Speaking on the first day of the Scottish Conservative spring conference in Troon, Prime Minister David Cameron pledged that the Conservatives would “fight with everything we’ve got” to maintain the Union and prevent Scottish independence.

Mr Cameron said that the Conservatives needed to become more aggressive in their defence of the Union and the promotion of centre-right policies, saying:  “The time for timidity is over.  Enough of the hand-wringing and trying to be all things to all people.  Let’s be clear about what we stand for – and what we won’t put up with.”  

Speaking about the Scotland Bill, which will begin its final stages in the Westminster Parliament next week, the Prime Minister claimed that the Bill offered Scotland a huge transfer of powers, saying:

“In the Scotland Bill we’ve got a huge transfer of fiscal powers … new borrowing powers.  A cash reserve.  A Scottish income tax.  Indeed the proportion of the Budget that can be raised in Scotland will more than double.  And this week we’ve reached agreement with the Scottish Government on further issues they wanted reflected in the Bill.”  

The measures in the Bill have been dismissed by many as “Calman Lite”.  The powers detailed in the Bill fall short of the original proposals of the Calman Commission, set up jointly by Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives during the previous Scottish Parliament.  The income tax varying powes included in the Bill has been decried by critics as unusable.

In his speech to the dwindling band of party faithful in Troon the Prime Minister added that he was “open-minded” about the transfer of powers above those offered in the Scotland Bill.  However Mr Cameron refrained from spelling out any details about which extra powers he had in mind and again asserted that this was a question which could only be addressed after Scotland had voted against independence in the planned referendum.  

Mr Cameron said:  “I am open-minded about the transfer of more powers … as long as those powers are truly about improving the lives of Scottish people – not just bargaining chips in a game of constitutional poker.  But all these are principally questions for after the referendum.”

The Prime Minister announced the launch of a new anti-independence campaign headed by the Conservatives.  Called “Conservative Friends of the Union” the campaign will attempt to persuade Scots that they are best off remaining within the UK and accepting Conservative policies.

Mr Cameron said:  “The Conservative Friends of the Union – launched today – is going to say just that … we walk taller, stand prouder, shout louder together.

“That’s why not only can you can love Scotland and love the United Kingdom … not only can you can drape yourself in the Saltire and the Union Jack … but you can be even prouder of your Scottish heritage than your British heritage – as many in Scotland are – and still believe that Scotland is better off in Britain.

“And all this is why this Prime Minister and this party is going to fight for the United Kingdom with everything we’ve got.”

Mr Cameron told the Conservatives they should reclaim Scottish patriotism, saying:

“For too long, we’ve let the SNP claim ownership of patriotism – the Saltire is the flag of a proud nation – not the symbol of one party.”

However Mr Cameron’s comments about Scottish patriotism may have been undermined by the fact that he made the remarks while standing in front of a large Union flag backdrop.

Commenting on David Cameron’s speech, SNP MSP Chic Brodie welcomed the prospect of the Conservatives leading the anti-independence campaign, given their deep unpopularity in Scotland.

Mr Brodie, MSP for South Scotland, said:

“The Prime Minister was happy to boast about his 50p tax cut, but he made absolutely no mention of his Government leaving 500,000 Scots pensioners hundreds of pounds worse off over the next few years thanks to his Granny Tax, or the 3p fuel duty hike which will hurt hard-pressed motorists and damage the economy.

“When it comes to Scotland’s future, all Mr Cameron has to offer is a vague promise of ‘something else’ if people vote No to independence – which will only succeed in encouraging more people to vote Yes, because the last time a Tory PM promised jam tomorrow in the run-up to a referendum it resulted in 18 years of Tory rule which Scotland didn’t vote for.

“Now Cameron is desperately trying to dictate the terms of this referendum as well, which has only resulted in a dramatic surge in membership for the SNP.  Ruth Davidson’s ‘line in the sand’ had barely been laid out before her London boss had thrown the sand back in her face and taken charge of the anti-independence campaign.

“Scotland is firmly on the road to independence.  And if this is the best that the Prime Minister has to offer in his fight to save the union, it begs the question: with friends like these, who needs enemies?”

However as soon as David Cameron’s “Conservative Friends of the Union” campaign began, it was mired in controversy.  

Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Troon, David Trimble, former leader of the Ulster Unionists who now sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative peer, said that every Scot had a “British component” to their national identity, and that an independent Scotland would “do violence to people’s own sense of identity”.

According to recent opinion polls, over one third of Scots entirely reject any identification as “British”, and a large majority of the remainder report feeling more Scottish than British.  Only 20% of Scots say that they regard themselves as more British than Scottish and a mere 4% say that they primarily see themselves as British.

However Mr Trimble disagreed, saying:

“I have to say to Scottish Nationalists that by fighting for a programme of separatism, saying that you want to take Scotland out and take the Scottish identity out into a separate place, you are doing violence to part of the identity of every Scotsman, because there is a British component in the identity of every Scotsman.  And to separate that is to do violence to people’s own sense of identity.”

Commenting on Lord Trimble’s remarks, Scottish National Party MSP for Glasgow Humza Yousaf said:

“This is exactly what David Cameron and Ruth Davidson didn’t want – their much promised positive case for the Union hasn’t even survived the Tory launch event, and now lies in tatters – it is precisely this sort of negative nonsense that is so damaging to the Tory-led anti-independence campaign.

“Lord Trimble couldn’t be more wrong about Scotland.  Independence is the broad, inclusive and positive option for Scotland, in which the wide range of identities we have in our modern nation – Scottish, British, Pakistani, Chinese, Polish, Irish and many, many more – can all be reflected and celebrated.”


# steveb 2012-03-24 01:51
“Mr Cameron said: “we walk taller, stand prouder, shout louder together”

He means England when he spouts that nonsense, doesn’t he?
# Siôn Jones 2012-03-24 14:16
Yes – and he means – ‘England can’t afford to engage in foreign wars without the union’, which is bound to sway the argument in his favour.
# truth 2012-03-24 02:35
Ok Dave, I’ve had a listen, and you know what….nah, it’s independence for me.

Scotland doesn’t get to shout. It gets to whisper in England’s ear and if England doesn’t like it, she shouts something else.

On most things England and Scotland will shout the same things, then we will truly be stronger “together”.
# daveniz 2012-03-24 03:00
the Tories and unionists don’t get it! I think they should have gone 5 minutes up the road to the home of golf, prestwick and played a game of golf and realise there games a boggie!
# Roll_On_2011 2012-03-24 06:59
Aye and lest we forget


Its fifteen members included –

Two Knights

Professor Sir David Edward
Retired Judge of the European Court

Sir Kenneth Calman
Chancellor of the University of Glasgow

Five Lords

Colin Boyd
Former Lord Advocate, member of the House of Lords (Labour)

Murray Elder
Member of the House of Lords (Labour)

Jamie Lindsay
Former Scottish Office Minister, member of the House of Lords (Conservative)

James Selkirk
Former Scottish Office Minister, member of the House of Lords (Conservative)

Jim Wallace
Former Deputy First Minister, member of the House of Lords (Liberal Democrat)


Rani Dhir MBE
Executive Director, Drumchapel Housing Co-operative

Three CBE’s

Audrey Findlay
Former Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Convener of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party

Iain McMillan
Director, CBI Scotland

Shonaig Macpherson
Chair of the National Trust for Scotland and of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry


Matt Smith
Scottish Secretary, UNISON

The three non-ennobled, non-knighted or non-gonged members included

John Loughton
Youth activist and former Chairman of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Mona Siddiqui
Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Glasgow

Murdoch MacLennan
Chief Executive, Telegraph Media Group

You can also view the Calman Commission members from their site using the following link:


By the way, for the unwashed, BE = British Empire.
# colin8652 2012-03-24 07:06
Come on “Dave” still not hered from ANY unionist the details of the mythical “positive case for the union” you keep banging on about, just a lot of false sentiment aimed at the blue rinsers and tweed jaket brigade.
# hiorta 2012-03-24 09:52
The Unionists are very silent on the shape they see RumpUK taking after Scottish Independence.

There is not enough food, water, power, money and an assortment of other items to be accommodated, yet they still dont go there.
If it is not spoken of, it disappears?

Political sleepwalking, perhaps.
# Early Ball 2012-03-24 08:02
Just watching “doing” Davidson’s motley crew having a love-in with Ian McMillan.
The title on the screen is “the referendum on separation for Scotland”

McMillan stating after Davidson’s prompting that many of his members may feel strongly on the matter but do not wish to put their head above the parapet. Davidson then says that will be because of the “cybernats”.

You could not make it up.
# Early Ball 2012-03-24 10:41
It is fascinating watching Davidson. The electoral commission have been very impressive. Straight bat. No hint of bias.
Davidson becomes rattled at not getting the answers he wants and starts taking the michael out of them. He makes a “funny” and his colleagues laugh enthusiasticall  y. Shades of Tony Soprano.
# fynesider 2012-03-24 18:00
Have just watched the mini-series “The referendum on separation for Scotland” Pts 1-8 on U-Tube and apart from some surprise at the words coming out of John Curtice’s mouth couldn’t find the piece you refer to Early Ball. Do you have a link for it?
# edinburgh quine 2012-03-24 08:39
How he can call himself right-of-centre it laughable. The people of Scotland will reject this man’s empty promises as they did before.

You know that line “you know when a politician is lying; his lips move”? Well every time I see camerob, I have the feeling he’s lying. Funnily enough, didn’t get it with brown. Only felt sorry for him; he always looked so pathetically uncomfortable in the role. Mind you, blair; ‘nough said.
# Dances With Haggis 1320 2012-03-24 08:52
The Tory British Nationalist Unionists have now started to use racist scaremongering and lies to appeal to the basic fears of the lowest xenophobic common denominator of society when UK Brit Nat Home Secretary Theresa May states that “Scottish independence would leave the country open to mass immigration problems” and “Joining Europe’s borderless Schengen area will open Scotland’s border up to mass immigration.”

Leaving aside the blatant use of xenophobia to try and make the “big positive case for the Union” [still waiting for that one] its just a lie.

Firstly Membership of the Schengen area is not a precondition of EU membership.
Secondly even if joining Schengen were precondition for EU membership Independent Scotland as a successor state would not have to join Schengen as she is already an EU member and all treaties, agreements and conditions would be the same as at present.

Its also worth remembering that its was the UK govt who were so eager to please employers organisations in their bid to gain access to a massive pool of cheap labour [in order to force down wages and erode working conditions] it that opened up the UK to Eastern European immigration a full five years before all other EU member states with the exception of Ireland and Sweden.
Now the Tories may say “ah! but that was a labour govt” which is true but you can bet your house on the fact that being the political wing of the wealthy business class the Tories would have been just as willing to pander to the CBI ect wishes as the Tories of the Blair/Brown govt were.

It was also the UK govt that was using Scotland to solve England’s so called “immigration problem” when refugees were arriving and “milling around” in the leafy suburbs and wealthier coastal towns of the middle England.

Now with the xenophobia add David Trimble to appeal to one half sectarian divide [whether real or imagined] and its possible to predict the type of campaign the Brit Nat Unionists are intent on running and that is one of trying to prise open the worst kind of division possible.

Independence is about a Unified Scotland, an all inclusive Scotland regardless of Race, Colour, Religion, Gender, Sexual preference or any of the other aspects of mankind that are used to try to divide us. Anything short of this kind of independent Scottish society is not worth fighting for as it would just mirror the inequality of the present UK state
# SolTiger 2012-03-24 09:20
The thing that amuses me the most about the “mass immigration” line is that compared to our neighbours Scotland over recent decades has had a tiny percentage of population growth compared to our neighbours.

I’m sure someone posted the percentages on here a few weeks ago.

Perhaps Scotland NEEDS a little mass immigration.
# scottish_skier 2012-03-24 09:45
Scotland has a population density of ~66 people per km2. England is ~400 / km2; higher in the SE, lower in the N.

Scotland would need to see its population rise from ~5.2 million to 31 million to reach the same level.
# Dances With Haggis 1320 2012-03-24 09:52
Footnote to my previous post on Theresa May’s racist shit stirring.
after the brit nats telling us how much a disaster an Independent Scotland would be, have they now realised that it would be so successful that everyone would want to come here? after all no one wants to immigrate to a disaster

They cant have it both ways.
# caithness warbler 2012-03-24 09:05
Gawd I love that pic of Cammo! Talk about soor plums!
# Barontorc 2012-03-24 09:08
Isn’t it so very typical and to be deplored that Trimble is the only politician yet to use the word “violence” to stir the pot!
# Will C 2012-03-24 14:13
Totally agree Barontorc, Scotland has no need for unelected ‘Lords’ interfering in its’ democratic process, especially those who represent the worst excesses of British imperialism.
# J Wil 2012-03-24 09:28
I suspect that Cameron’s visit to Scotland will be a one day wonder and won’t register with anyone outside the Tory Party.
# Marian 2012-03-24 09:29
Watching Cameron making his speech I have to say that if this is the best the unionists have to offer Scotland, then they have already lost the debate on independence.

What was most striking is just how irrelevant the Tories have become to Scotland.
# Des58 2012-03-24 09:40
A pond of grey hair?

Nothing wrong with grey hair actually, most of what I’ve got left has gone that way. But for any voluntary organisation to have a future it needs more than a sprinkling of youngsters in the ranks. I listened to Cameron’s “What planet are they on” speech and afterwards SKY had a few comments from their reporter at the back of the Hall. Incidently does anyone know that capacity of that venue? But to the point all that could be seen was a sea pond of grey hair. It looked liked a few of Scotland’s well-heeled senior citizens were having a day out. BBC Scotland had a wider view of the hall and showed that there was a top tier to at least one part of it, again more grey hair to be seen.
Cameron dreams that these remnants could become a major force again in Scottish Politics. Is he in denial or just going through the motions of beating the drum in the knowledge that perhaps the rump of the UK after Scottish Independence will be more likely to deliver a Tory Government in the English/Welsh Parliament?

“Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’”
# edinburgh quine 2012-03-24 10:40
There are some nice piccys here of the tory meeting…/
# Islegard 2012-03-24 13:46
Lots of close angle photographs. Might I suggest it’s not police they need on hand but paramedics.

Going by their conference I can see why the tories want the refrendum brought forward. Their numbers will be down by 2 thirds.
# balbeggie 2012-03-24 16:14
naughty but funny.
# G. P. Walrus 2012-03-24 10:03
“The time for timidity is over. Enough of the hand-wringing and trying to be all things to all people. Let’s be clear about what we stand for – and what we won’t put up with.”

No more Mr. Nice Tory 🙂
# J Wil 2012-03-24 10:23
The independence referendum represents a win win situation for Cameron.

If the answer is no to independence he gets to keep the oil and continues to be able to pull the strings in Scotland.

If the answer is yes to independence it puts the Tories in a better position to win UK elections ad infinitum.

Not so good for Labour.
# amfraeembro 2012-03-24 18:40
Yes, but when the residents of England see how well an independent Scotland is doing, and how rapidly England is going down the toilet, maybe their voting patterns will change.
# tartanfever 2012-03-24 18:46
I honestly think that for years following independence that England’s newspapers and media will still be full of the lies and hype that they currently use to belittle Scotland.
# amfraeembro 2012-03-25 02:16
Hmm you’re probably right.
# Alathia 2012-03-24 10:26
I see Trimble was quoted as saying that Northern Ireland ‘was moving away from Nationalism’.

Sorry to spike his guns, but is he aware that the two parties now sharing power in Northern Ireland are SF (fiercely Irish nationalistic) and the DUP (fiercely British nationalistic)
# grumblingtummy 2012-03-24 10:29
I visited this Friends of the Union website and was pleasantly surprised!

Stupid Tories hadn’t even registered the obvious domain names they should secure before launching such a campaign!
# jim288 2012-03-24 11:57
I did a double take when I clicked on the site.

Did you deliberately miss out “not”?
# grumblingtummy 2012-03-24 12:48
Quoting jim288:
I did a double take when I clicked on the site.

Did you deliberately miss out “not”?

No my brain can’t keep up with my typing speed! Corrected now.

Just couldn’t believe they hadn’t registered that domain for their campaign! Just spoke with an ex-Tory member and he was ending himself with laughter.
# rhymer 2012-03-24 12:13
Quoting grumblingtummy: 
I visited this Friends of the Union website and was pleasantly surprised!

Stupid Tories had even registered the obvious domain names they should secure before launching such a campaign!

LOL. They suffer from retroactive hindsight.

In keeping with their wanting to retain the “status quo” i guess they will have to rely on the pigeons carrying messages again.
# Alathia 2012-03-24 15:00

Supporters of these ‘friends’ will probably be directed towards ‘Union Carbide’ next.

Now theres a toxic brand…
# naemairleesplease 2012-03-24 15:40
I wondered why Cameron had called it “Conservative” Friends of the Union.
I’m sure he knows that CFU also stands for Completely F****d Up.
# Davy 2012-03-24 19:25
Quoting grumblingtummy: 
I visited this Friends of the Union website and was pleasantly surprised!

Stupid Tories hadn’t even registered the obvious domain names they should secure before launching such a campaign!

ROFLMAO, It’s just too much, I need to pee. How dumb could they be, LOL.
# red kite 2012-03-24 21:16
Wonderful !
# cjmjr 2012-03-24 10:31
The hall holds 1.005 seated acording to a local source.
# Holebender 2012-03-24 10:53
I know remarks about a person’s appearance are frowned upon but… I can’t help myself.

What was Cameron smelling when that picture was taken? My guess is it was the rotting corpse of the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party.
# velofello 2012-03-24 11:40
That the hall holds 1000 seated suggests something approaching 5 to 1 ratio of attendees to police! There are masses of bobbies in Troon.
Who pays for the police presence?
Football clubs are required to pay.
# mealer 2012-03-24 12:02
Aye.Fine to have a laugh at the old dears of the tory party.But lets not forget that each of them will use there vote.Or at least,those that are spared.
# call me dave 2012-03-24 23:04
Quoting mealer:
Aye.Fine to have a laugh at the old dears of the tory party.But lets not forget that each of them will use there vote.Or at least,those that are spared.

I’m not laughing either because at their age they should know better. But your right they will vote and we need to match it and more to win.

When I was . . . never mind! The Tories were just as popular a party in Scotland all through the 1950’s

# rhymer 2012-03-24 12:09
Poor Dave, I bet he thought that “trouble with trimbles” was an
old Star Trek episode.
These house of lords twits (lord Trimble) even mess up their own political parties.
Although I guess he doesn’t want Northern Ireland to be lonely after Scotland becomes independent.
# rhymer 2012-03-24 12:20
I hope “tomorrow belongs to us” was not the Tory slogan at their conference. In the film “Cabaret” that was the name of the song that the young nazi party choir sang.
Not exactly the kind of slogan the Tories want to be associated with.
# alexb 2012-03-24 12:48
Leaving aside the Tories rambling to one side, as most of us do nowadays, the news that Cameron had two Navy ships, and four R.A.F planes to protect him on his visit to North Britain, makes me puke. This is the same man who needs an armoured limousine to take him the short distance from 10 Downing St to the House of Commons, where he, along with the rest of the equally useless party, and her majesties loyal opposition, shed crocodile tears when announcing yet another unnecessary military death in Afghanistan. Returning to the subject of their conference, I wonder what Davidson will say now when her “line in the sand” has been well and truly breached by her boss. They are an irrelevance as far as Scotland are concerned, and their only hope of survival was well and truly buried when they rejected Murdo Fraser,s plan to create a newly named right-wing party North of the border, cutting their London ties, apart, of course, from their ideology. Go back South Mr Cameron. Nobody,s listening.
# Holebender 2012-03-24 13:15
Quoting alexb:
the news that Cameron had two Navy ships, and four R.A.F planes to protect him on his visit to North Britain, makes me puke.

Wow! Really? That must be the biggest presence the MOD has had in Scotland for several years.
# proudscot 2012-03-24 14:37
Quoting Holebender:
Quoting alexb:
the news that Cameron had two Navy ships, and four R.A.F planes to protect him on his visit to North Britain, makes me puke.

Wow! Really? That must be the biggest presence the MOD has had in Scotland for several years.

Aye HB, especially when you recall that a few weeks back, when two Russian warships appeared in the Moray Firth, the only Royal Navy ship available was berthed at Plymouth and had to sail all the way up the length of the British coast to confront them. By which time the said Russians had sailed off, no doubt scared off by this demonstration of the UK’s “stronger together” military might. NOT!
# Roll_On_2011 2012-03-24 13:40

I see that Theresa May is shoveling the garbage of mass imigration and passports at the borders.…/…

In her speech to the Scottish Conservative conference in Troon, Theresa May will say that if Scotland joins Europe’s borderless Schengen area it “will open Scotland’s border up to mass immigration”.

Don’t you just hate these repeats? The Unionists are starting to replicate the BBC as far as repeats are concerned.
# BeltaneFire 2012-03-24 13:49

The Tories are having a conference in Troon?

Cameron and May have come to Scotland?

Barbarian hordes at the gates?

Lord Trimble says there will be violence?

I’m so overcome with fear, I’m just going out for a coffee!

Some of the SNP’s conference fringe meetings had bigger attendances.
# Marga B 2012-03-24 14:12
The very idea of Trimble thinking it appropriate to couple “identity” and “violence” in a speech sponsored by a UK political party is quite unacceptable.

Talking of violence, the defence contingent accompanying a UK PM on a Scotland visit is also interesting – do we know the equivalent for other out-of-London or international visits, or is Scotland uniquely dangerous?
# Grenscot 2012-03-24 16:33
On a recent trip to the Caribbean, William Hague was accompanied by a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship as was Prince Edward. When the US President attended a conference in Trinidad a couple of years ago we had squadron of USAF F15s based in Grenada for about two weeks
# Seagetagrip 2012-03-24 14:16

Very interesting interview on Newsweek Scotland this morning with a sensible lad from Lerwick who said when asked about Tavish and his prophesies of a departing Shetland that he thought that Tavish was flying kites and that Shetland had been treated with consideration by the SG under Alex Salmond.He also said that whatever happened with the Referendum rule from Westminster was the last thing they wanted. He thought that some form of devolutionary powers in an Independent Scotland might be up for discussion. All in all, he was pretty friendly towards our aspirations.
# aiberdeen sheep 2012-03-24 14:33
that will open up a can of worms, the north east will want devolution if Shetland gets it.
# Holebender 2012-03-24 14:45
There is nothing wrong with decentralising power. Bring it on!
# aiberdeen sheep 2012-03-24 14:49
i agree, but next the north east will want to raise and spend all the taxes raised in its area.

I live here and there is a lot or resentment towards the central belt and what is perceived as all our business rates/taxes going to pay for the central belt infrastructure whilst nothing is getting done/has been done here.

That is changing of course.
# J Wil 2012-03-24 16:09
“…there is a lot or resentment towards the central belt…”

Another legacy of Labour. Only treat those decently who are likely to vote for you.
# red kite 2012-03-24 21:23
Get the economy moving, get the “shovel ready” projects moving, and the central belt could again become the powerhouse it once was. Remember we once fuelled much of an empire, no reason it couldn’t happen again.
# Siôn Jones 2012-03-24 14:31
Cameorn says:

“I thought we were going to be watching the movie Braveheart, it turns out it’s Chicken Run.”


“What planet are these people on?”

And then

“I promised respect and that’s exactly what we’re giving.”

Demonstrates a bad case of cognitive dissonance, or down right dissembling.

He says one thing and does another – never trust a Tory!
# Peter A Bell 2012-03-24 15:18
At the moderately over-subscribed tête-à-tête that was the Scottish Conservative Party’s conference in Troon last week the Scottish Tories’ ex-leader in waiting peeked out from behind David Cameron just long enough to stake her claim to lead the fight to deny Scotland independence.

With all the fanfare an asthmatic kazoo duo might muster she launched her own wee campaign groupette called, according to her press release, Conservatives Friends of the Union (CFU). Although they perhaps understandably prefer to leave out the “Conservatives” bit as much as possible.

The same press release seeks to give the impression that this is a broad-based “grass-roots” campaign group. A claim which is rather pointedly contradicted by it being so inextricably linked to the Tories. Davidson seems blissfully oblivious to the fact that simply having the word “Conservative” in the title will be enough to deter that significant swathe of the Scottish populace who regard the Tory brand as toxic and would rather wear a dog-turd on their lapel than a badge that identifies them with the Conservative Party.

This is not the only way in which the whole thing has evidently been as poorly thought through as we might expect of any knee-jerk reaction. Davidson’s is not the first right wing group to bear the name, “Friends of the Union”. This was the name used by a loyalist organisation in Northern Ireland that was implicated in attempts to sabotage the peace process there. Whether the association is intentional or merely clumsy there can be no doubting that it is, to say the least, unfortunate.

Further evidence of the lack of thought that has gone into cobbling together this group becomes obvious when you go looking for its online presence. It seems that it didn’t occur to Davidson or any of her staff that it might be a good idea to secure relevant domain names before announcing their intentions. So it is not at all surprising that if you enter the web address,, you find yourself redirected to the SNP website courtesy of some unidentified but evidently rather astute geek somewhere. Davidson will doubtless bleat about SNP “black ops”, but the simple fact is that this is all down to her own embarrassing incompetence.…/…
# ButeHouse 2012-03-24 20:38
Very good post Peter. Hits most of the more obvious bells. VOTE YES
# Katie Beardie 2012-03-24 22:45
Who did that then? What a hoot.
# graememcallan 2012-03-24 16:25
Please, lets just use “F.U” when describing friends of the union ;-)))
# Holebender 2012-03-24 16:31
I got modded off for that a few days ago so I don’t expect your comment to be up for long.
# ButeHouse 2012-03-24 20:51
So, madam’s first conference speech as leader today. Whereas I’ve praised her at times for her hard hitting, well argued FMQs performances I have to say I found this speech strangely hollow and unconvincing.

The words were there, the articulation was passable but there seemed very little conviction.

Having such a small audience in a small hall didn’t help, especially the fairly large numbers of whom seemed less than enthusiastic, many not even bothering to join in during the expected bouts of clapping.

She doesn’t have the presence of Bella or Murdo or the mini gravitas of Ferguson or the panache of Carlaw.

But like others I’m delighted, nae, overjoyed that the Tories are the flag bearers for the anti Independence Campaign. Shambles.

# tartanfever 2012-03-24 21:13
I watched the speech also and totally agree BH, she wasn’t convincing at all. Her articulation was so bad at times you would think she didn’t believe what she was saying. Must have been the pressure of having Teresa May in the front row !

As for the words themselves, like all the unionist leaders from all the party conferences, just empty hollow rhetoric and SNP bashing. Not one policy announcement, just the grand fairy tales about how great the UK is and aren’t the Tories just wonderful.

Oh, I tell a lie, there is a policy change. The Scottish tories are going to re-brand themselves and change the ‘tree’ logo to something else. Worth going all the way to Troon to hear that gem.
# Peter A Bell 2012-03-24 21:44
I didn’t pay much attention, frankly. But I did note that she spoke of “one thousand days” when referring to the referendum campaign. Which I took to indicate that she has finally resigned herself to the fact that neither she nor “her Prime Minister” have any say in the matter of scheduling the poll.

Perhaps now she will stop whining about that, at least.
# Katie Beardie 2012-03-24 22:39
Hum. I’ve just been checking out the Tory online news site. Looks quite nice and lots of info re the Troon conference. However, the one thing I did notice was that there were no comments to the articles. I can only conclude that they have no supporters.
# banditti 2012-03-24 23:14
I hate the tories and all they stand for as someone on disability benefits I panic each time I see a brown envelope from the postie. However the sight of brian donohoe scuttling about trying to attach himself to the neocon unionists only bothered about his own job- how could anybody vote for this man
# Angus 2012-03-25 00:22
Its all about England.
Wonder how the conferance hall has coped with so many zimmer frames?
Sorry if thats not PC, just a reflection of the fan base.
# call me dave 2012-03-25 00:51
I hear that there were 400 in the hall listening to the PM. Including probably about 50 police / plain clothes types.

The only way is up as they say.

The old timers like Churchill and Sir Alec Douglas Hume could walk to the street corner and get more in them days where people knew their place..

But we’re different now!
# Angus 2012-03-25 00:38
Typed in ‘Friends of the union’ into google, first 2 links it comes up with is Ulster loyalist sites from 1987, based in Belfast.
So this is what they are trying to drag us down to!
Sectarianism, they think, is a god send?!
# saorsa1937 2012-03-25 14:22
The Home Secretary warned at the Tory Conference that an Independent Scotland would be more at risk from the terrorist threat than it is in the United Kingdom.
Aye, that’d be right ! The main reason why the UK is at risk is that militant people seek revenge for what they see as an illegal invasion and occupation of their sovereign country by the UK Government.
After Independence, Scotland will refuse to become involved in such illegal activities. This will remove ‘at a stroke’ the principal excuse for attacking us.
Thus, when we are independent we will in truth be more secure, not less so, and this latest outburst is just more Unionist scaremongering.
# saorsa1937 2012-03-25 14:24
More of the same ! (referring to my previous post).

The same piece in today’s Scotland on Sunday reports the specious claim by Tories that with Independence would come waves and waves of immigrants, and that this is prevented by our membership of the Union. Who are they trying to fool ? (probably just themselves !). Which planet have they been on these last few years ? The UK Border Agency has been really effective, hasn’t it ? (rhetorical question !) They and the UK Government openly admit that they have no idea how many people from abroad are here illegally.
When Scotland is independent, who really doubts that we could do a better job ? (“We could hardly do worse !” I hear you cry !)

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