Sketch – The re-awakening of Baron Forsyth


Scottish Conservative leader, Annabel Goldie, has the appearance of a primary school headteacher. Capable of striking fear into any wayward pupil she still manages to appear somewhat benevolent underneath. She certainly trades on an image of being a tough old mare and a tough old mare who knows what is best for you. At last week’s conference in Perth she highlighted this in her speech saying: “There is an old nag in the field who’s been round the course and who’s got form when it comes to taking on the boys.

“Someone who decides what they can and cannot do, somebody who holds the balance of power in this parliament and who will act without fear or favour.

“That old nag is me.”

So there you have it, anyone steps out of line and it will be six of the best from Ms Goldie. However, if Goldie does have some benevolence about her then another Tory making his presence felt last week certainly does not. Somewhere in darkest Stirlingshire a creaking coffin door was heard to open as the prince of darkness Baron Forsyth of Drumlean rose. Of course in his previous life he was Thatcher’s tartan bogeyman Michael Forsyth and he was back on form in Perth.

Speaking at a fringe meeting he attacked the party for backing the Scotland Bill and its increased fiscal powers for Holyrood. As a mortified Murdo Fraser looked on the feared Baron broke rank from party policy and launched a staunch defence of the union. A parliamentary candidate from another party opined, in private, recently that party’s don’t like having debates on controversial subjects as part of the main conference due to them being reported on as ‘splits’. At Perth you could see the reason why, Fraser and his cohorts are doing their best to detoxify the Tory brand in Scotland. It will certainly not be helped by the spectre of 1980’s Thatcherism, unionism and being told what is best for you. Goldie may get away with a bit of lecturing but Forsyth almost certainly will not.

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