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The Young Unionists chairman Michael Shilliday has been in Edinburgh addressing the Conservative Future conference.
Chekov has the full text of the speech here. But I’m reproducing only a few paragraphs which I feel contain his core message. The following is aimed at the Conservative-minded in devolved regions:
The ourselves alone alliance of the SNP and DUP have made clear that they intend to try to pin the blame for any and every pressure and failure on the finances of their administrations on an English Tory Government. It is up to us in the Scottish Conservatives and Ulster Unionists to make sure that they don’t get away with that lie. It is up to us before and after the election to be honest about the public finances, and to be up front with the public in the face of unashamed hypocrisy and dishonesty. It is up to us to make sure that the Scottish and Northern Irish electorates know that a Conservative Government is not an English Government, it is a British Government, fighting for Scotland and fighting for Northern Ireland.
The phoney argument about “subsidies” for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has all but disappeared from the lexicon of English representatives. Sir Edward Carson, very much the father of Ulster Unionism, argued passionately for extra resources for schools in rural Mayo and elsewhere in pre-partition Ireland. The principle was equal services for equal taxation of equal citizens. That principle still holds today, and no longer is the Conservative Party backing away from that commitment to our nation. No longer is the Conservative Party suggesting that Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish MP’s should be a lower class of MP. It is quite clear that David Cameron knows that he could be the last Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and that he is doing what is necessary to avoid such a situation, out of conviction. It is clear that the Conservative Party is determined to maintain the entire Union.
The challenge then for what you might call the “Celtic Conservatives” is to both nurture our hunger for Executive authority in the devolved political arenas, and upon obtaining such authority, readily demonstrate the effective difference that can be made when conservative solutions are applied to social, economic and political problems.
It is vital we do not surrender any of the devolved executives to the bankrupt intellectual houses of socialism and small-minded nationalism.