The ‘Scottish Tory’ fallacy

geoutcomeThere’s a horrible flaw in this question from the latest Wings Over Scotland/Panelbase poll. It treats “Scottish Tory MPs” as if they were a discrete group separate from the “Conservative majority” in the same way that SNP MPs are distinguished from either a Conservative or a Labour government at Westminster.

Notwithstanding the efforts of the media to convince us that Ruth Davidson is a real leader of a real party with a real group of MPs over which she exercises real authority, the real reality is that there are precisely NO “Scottish Tory MPs”. There are only British Tory MPs who have managed to get elected in Scotland (frequently with the help of British Labour voters).

Ruth Davidson has precisely NO authority over those British Tory MPs from constituencies in Scotland. They are all answerable only and fully to Theresa May and her Whips.

The phrases “dependent on the votes of SNP MPs” and “dependent on the votes of Scottish Conservative MPs” are used as if they refer to things which are directly and meaningfully comparable. That’s just plain wrong.

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About Peter A Bell

Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer. None of my attitudes are immutable. None of my conclusions are final. None of my opinions are humble.
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2 Responses to The ‘Scottish Tory’ fallacy

  1. RevStu says:

    Tha’s a feature, not a flaw. Nobody’s suggesting the Scottish Tories are a separate party, but it’s a geographical fact that 13 of them represent Scottish constituencies.


    • Peter A Bell says:

      It’s the equivalence between “Scottish Tory MPs” and SNP MPs that I find problematic. Treating both as if they are actual Westminster groups is misleading. Which is not to say that the poll question is invalidated. It may be possible to extract something useful from it. Indeed, you have done so. But this one aspect is in need of clarification.


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