THE switch by the Edinburgh councillor Ashley Graczyk from the Tories to the SNP should remind us that not all the members and supporters of Scotland’s governing party have moved there from the left.

On the contrary it stands to reason that many SNP voters must have migrated from the right. There may be a greater proportion of socialists in Scotland than in most Western countries, but they have always fallen short of an absolute majority. Quite the reverse, the Tories – at least in the shape of the old Unionist party – are the only ones to have gained an absolute majority in the post-war period, at the General Election of 1955. The steady decay of this majority is what has produced so many floating voters ready to be seduced by alternative principles.

READ MORE: Former Tory councillor quits party and backs Scottish independence

But just look at all the parliamentary constituencies beyond the central belt that have elected not a single Labour MP since universal suffrage began, and so can be presumed to have a mainly right-wing electorate. Most are now in the hands of the Nats, even after a good many in the north-east were foolishly thrown away in 2017. This happened as a result of the government lurching to the left and adopting a manifesto to match.

READ: Former Tory councillor's journey from No to Yes in full

Instead of sweeping the country, it repelled many who had up till then rested content with the earlier line of an SNP being all things to all men and women. I hope the lesson has been learned.

The conversion of Ashley Graczyk is another straw in the wind. I expect she will find what I found when I preceded her on her course a dozen or so years ago, that there are already a lot of people in the SNP who agree with her politics, not only in the rank and file but at much higher levels too. Better not to elaborate, because such people usually prefer to keep their heads down – certainly at party conferences when howling mobs of activists egg on speakers from the platform to make promises at best impossible, at worst ruinous.

READ MORE: Tories tell ex-councillor to quit after declaring support for Yes

I comfort myself that all will be well once Independence Day arrives. It’s comin’ yet, for a’ that, and when it does come we will discover it also needs to be a new dawn of Scottish capitalism.

Ashley is deaf. She says her main grievance is that the Tories will not agree to extend beyond another year the life of the Access to Elected Office Fund which gave her the means to embark on a political career in the first place (the reason, I’d guess, is it has not had enough of a take-up). If she wants to pursue her career under a different party banner, I would urge patience on her. There are not many political causes that come to fruition within a year – just look at Scottish independence for a start. If everybody resigned as soon as they found this out, the system would fall apart. How long will it be before the government of Scotland cures the problems of education or the health service? More than a year, I bet you.

Another thing bugging Ashley is the conclusion she has reached that “the political parties are expected to have ultimate responsibility to meet extra costs for disabled candidates. I’m concerned the UK Government wants to shift the responsibility of costly unreasonable adjustments to political parties”. Here’s a second piece of advice from an old political lag: be careful what you wish for. To my mind it is not part of any government’s duty to favour one kind of parliamentary candidate over another.

The National:

If the political parties want to do so, that’s their affair – they are private, self-regulating organisms. And they have not been inactive in matters of equality. They have raised the number of women parliamentarians, and none of them seems to care any more about a candidate’s sex life. But if we start to say the state (in effect) should select for its favours one particular category of person, at what point does this stop? The UK may end up with a state that selects only candidates who please it, as I’m sure it would like to do anyway. Where is democracy then? The House of Commons would turn into the House of Lords.

As a matter of fact the Lords is where we must look if we want to find active politicians with a disability. It has half-a-dozen of them at present, whereas the Commons has none. But in the past several MPs with various handicaps made it to Westminster: Jack Ashley, who was deaf, David Blunkett, who was blind, Anne Begg, who needed to access the chamber in a wheelchair, and Gordon Brown, who has only one eye. It is not a reasonable point of view to say a parliament must represent the voters in any proportional fashion apart from how they vote. Nobody claims that democracy is a perfect system, only that it is better than all the rest.

If I may say so, I think conservatives have more to bring to the national movement than titbits straight out of the pork barrel. They anyway share a good deal with nationalists, for both see the nation as the best political framework for people to work out their own aspirations. For most of us, personal life is bound up with a family, which in turn is bound up with a community, which is in turn bound up with the country we live in, which may itself be composed of one or more ethnic or linguistic groups. If we lose this rich matrix, life is poorer and happiness harder to find. So society can never be just a rational construct, as socialists pretend, but is built on basic emotions too.

This is also why conservatives normally support the rights of individuals or of spontaneous groupings against the state (though this principle does not necessarily apply in Theresa May’s UK).

It is true the SNP tries to distance itself from such ethnic nationalism, so that English immigrants, or indeed Romanians or Bangladeshis, should not be made to feel unwelcome if they have a genuine wish to make a contribution in Scotland. I think there are limits to the opposite construct, civic nationalism, because we don’t want our culture to be so neutral and bloodless that nobody can feel excluded from it. That tendency has made a failure of the multiculturalism which alienates so many natives of England, leading to Brexit, Ukip and other horrors.

In Scotland we strike a better balance, so civic nationalism is not quite as prevalent as the Scottish Government would wish it to be: how many Scots really felt able to support the English team in the World Cup? Be that as it may, ethnic and civic nationalism will always share certain elements, with the result that conservatives and nationalists can enrich each other’s insights.

In Scotland the whole business is complicated by the fact that still quite a lot of people regard themselves as first and foremost British. So Britain is the nation to which they owe their prime allegiance, and Scotland just a region of it. But this number is in long-term decline, and we can expect that to continue.

Brexit Britain does not strike me as an admirable place, with its growing divisions and intolerance. Its economic future looks dismal.

I think the Scottish Government and the rest of us should try to point the contrast with our own country. Then we may actually become and remain nicer.

This summer the biggest blots on such a benign landscape are processions of people patrolling Scottish streets and bawling “Tory scum”. These would do well to reflect that, if independence is to come, it will need to attract many more supporters of a conservative disposition than those who voted for it in 2014. Insult is hardly the way to win them over.