Scottish Conservatives have 'ruthlessly targeted pro-Union vote'

Douglas Ross gave his keynote speech to his party's conference on Saturday.

INSIGHT: Scottish Conservatives have ‘ruthlessly targeted pro-Union vote’ STV News

Douglas Ross found his voice to deliver his keynote conference speech unaided, except he said by Lemsip.

On Thursday he was unable to do First Ministers Questions because his throat was seizing up.

Yesterday, there was talk of him only being able to speak for five minutes and having to get the help of other MSPs to deliver parts of his speech, and his introduction to the Prime Minister on the conference platform was cursory.

Today, he told his conference how he wanted to move the Scottish Conservatives on, how he wanted them to be challenging to win, taking the “silent majority” of Scots with them to “beat the SNP” and move Scotland on.

Since 2014, the reality of Scottish politics has been that voters are divided largely along constitutional lines.

To a large extent that has suited the SNP on one side and the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party on the other, because the Tories have ruthlessly targeted that pro-Union vote, overtaking Labour to become the second biggest party in the Scottish Parliament.

Douglas Ross said “coming second place, being the largest opposition, is not enough”.

But it’s much better than coming third, just ask Labour. 

Although if you did ask Labour they would point to a Savanta poll in the Scotsman this week which suggested Labour had overtaken the Tories for second place.

The reality of politics is you can’t deliver much outside government whether you are second or third unless you are willing to do deals like the Greens did, propelling themselves in to ministerial seats from fourth place in last year’s Holyrood election.

What Douglas Ross, today, and Anas Sarwar, two weeks ago, were doing was kick starting their council election campaigns and kicking off their General Election campaigning.

They talk of taking power from Nicola Sturgeon, but more than that, they are trying to take votes from each other; trying to split the anti-independence vote differently.      

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