Right now, with today’s political talk rightly or wrongly focused on a possible “Yes” vote in the Scottish independence referendum to the exclusion of almost everything else, the Tories, as the senior partner in the Coalition, need to hold firm and not allow splits or other distractions to take hold. They need their loyalists on board. But not all their loyalists are prepared to toe the line.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
One might have thought from her slightly surreal appearance on this morning’s Murnaghan show on Sky News (“first for breaking wind”), including the ridiculous idea that Young Dave would wait until the party conferences to announce a withdrawal from the ECHR and a dumping of the Human Rights Act, that former Tory MP Louise Mensch was one of those loyalists.
After all, there she was last year, happily chirping away, echoing the party line as she told anyone listening “It’s fine with the Saltire. It’s a Scottish win and a British one. Because Scotland is part of Britain”. She even managed to squeeze in the Better Together hashtag. Yes, she was in favour of the Union.
She managed it again as the message was reinforced earlier this year: “Scotland right now is not dependent, we are two countries, a province and a principality, interdependent and unified”. Ms Mensch was strictly on-message, Cameron could rest easy, the distant constituency of Manhattan Upmarket was covered.
And then came the Murdoch press’ conversion to the idea of a “Yes” vote and therefore an independent Scotland. Suddenly, Ms Mensch had produced a miraculous and fortunate U-Turn: “Hooray! I really support Scots independence and it would be fantastic for England and the Conservatives were it to happen”. Wait, what? That’s not what she said last year. Or even earlier this year.
Then she started to get a little flaky: “You’d have two center [sic] right Governments and Labour would be totally shut out. More to spend on Wales too”. I bet the Welsh just love being patronised – first the loathsome Toby Young, then Ms Mensch. And won’t Alec Salmond just love being called “centre right”?
Why the sudden about-turn? “I am a Conservative, started out a unionist but always a bit iffy and the debate has made me not a Unionist anymore. Union with Wales, NI”. So that’s a Unionist who, er, isn’t one. Perhaps she could tell us how she can be a Conservative and not be supporting the Union with Scotland. That support is part of being a Conservative. Or did she never bother with the small print?
And why that change of heart? Would this, perchance, be something to do with a similar change of tack from Creepy Uncle Rupe? As Derek Jameson would have said, it surely would. U-Turn, nice Mr Murdoch? Whatever you say, sir. Louise Mensch knows all about being on-message. But not necessarily the Tory Party one.