THERE’S been a lot of furore over this “Tory-free Scotland” thing, a lot of feigned insults and faux outrage – but I can see the good in everything, and it gives me an opportunity to clear some of the fog …

If I were to point to someone and say: “This person is averse to change or innovation and holds traditional values, favours free enterprise and has socially traditional ideas”, you wouldn’t think that person is a bad person, would you?

So it may surprise readers to learn that the description I gave of that person is the definition of a conservative.

When I say that, I’m not talking about “Conservative” as in a member of the Conservative and Unionist Party; I am talking about a person who holds conservative values, both personal and political. I’ll describe people with these values as “conservative” and members of the political party as “Tories”.

Now, it kinda holds water that a person who is “conservative” would vote “Tory” – they do, after all, share the same name as their intended audiences and a belief system – or do they?

Let’s explore some “conservative” values one by one and see if they still fit the “Tories”.

Value one: “Averse to change or innovation.”

I suppose the biggest illustration of the disparity is Europe. Firstly, it was a Tory government that took us into the EEC, led the charge as it morphed into the EU and – after more than four decades of membership and us getting used to the change – it was a Tory government that took us out of the EU. So in the space of 40 years or so, they inflicted three massive constitutional changes on the UK. “Averse to change?” I’m calling that one debunked.

Value two: “Holding traditional values and socially traditional ideas.”

Well, let’s think about that in the context of a recent leader. Can a Tory Party led by Boris Johnson really claim any moral high ground? This is, after all, the man who has lied to his bosses (a former Tory leader and the Queen) and conspired to have someone beaten up in the past.

He has had extramarital affairs, an indeterminate number of children and had one of his most recent children out of wedlock! I’m not criticising Boris for his complicated family situation – it is the 21st century, after all, and I actually couldn’t care less if I tried.

But with all of this in the public domain, the Tory Party membership chose him to lead them! Even with his very obvious character flaws and numerous personal breaches of “traditional conservative values”! All of this despite there being other and more honourable people in contention for the role of leader and ultimately Prime Minister.

Finally, conservative value three: “Favouring free enterprise.”

In the heady days of the 1980s in Thatcher’s Britain, I would have given them this hands down … but the 1980s are half a lifetime ago and a lot has changed since then.

Due to Brexit, £103 trillion in assets are now being traded on European trading floors that were being traded in London pre-Brexit! JP Morgan alone took £260 billion out of the country to Frankfurt the day before the transition period ended.

We hear a lot about all the free trade deals we have done with the rest of the world since leaving the EU. But trade deals have to have favourable terms before they can be advantageous – and every EU trade deal was negotiated under the proviso that no party can give any other partner more favourable terms than the EU. So if a nation has an EU trade deal, the UK can’t get a better one! Meaning that in trade terms, Brexit was absolutely pointless.

And then just when we thought that they couldn’t plumb any lower than the depths of Johnson as PM, they inflicted Liz Truss upon us! Leaving us with 49 days of absolute incompetence that crashed our economy, raised all of our bills and put businesses to the wall. There was an internet meme circulating that when Kwasi Kwarteng was summoned back from Washington to be sacked, the pilot made him sit in the toilet all the way back as he didn’t want him near business or economy; don’t we all now wish he’d never been anywhere near either?

In summary, if a conservative is averse to change or innovation, holds traditional values and ideas and favours free enterprise, then it should be clear to them that the Tories are no longer “conservative.”

Being conservative is a legitimate and honourable political and social position – albeit not one I share. Labelling the current incarnation of the Tory Party as “conservative” slanders the term.

True conservatives will be needed in Scotland, and I believe they’ll have a vital role to play in making an independent Scotland a success. Their supporters and truly conservative politicians will always be welcome in Scotland. But to achieve this, it becomes necessary to separate conservatives and Tories.

Because looking at the current crop of Tories, we can’t unsee what we’ve seen, the harm done will take decades to undo, and Scotland has consistently rejected them since 1955.

I’m with Humza on this one. I want to see no Tory MPs in Scotland after the next election (which, if we look past the headlines in the mainstream media, is what he actually said).

But I look forward to seeing how conservative voters and a new generation of truly Scottish conservative politicians, unsullied by the patronage and cronyism of the Tories, contribute to our independent future.

When Conservatives in Scotland can get their heads around this idea, I reckon they’ll join Humza, and all reasonable Scots, in wanting the Tories out of Scotland!

David Birkett

Convener, SNP Peterhead

IAN Murray says the UK is a country. He’s wrong. It’s a state comprised of three nations and a province. Viceroy-in-waiting Murray pretends to represent Scotland, but his English Labour bosses view it as the UK’s “northern region”, ripe for continuous plunder.

He claims Rachel Reeves (pictured) will conjure economic growth without spending more money. Impossible. Public – not private – spending always leads economic growth. Expecting the private sector to step up is pure fantasy.

Reeves doesn’t comprehend that a government with its own currency and bank can spend as much as required to fund public services and make the investments the economy is crying out for. Her ignorance is breathtaking.

Presumably with a straight face, Murray said Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan (GPP) will attract private investment, despite how Starmer has ditched the GPP. He boasts that GB Energy – a shell company to be headquartered in Scotland – will be a boon to business, but not to the Scottish people, to whom these energy riches belong. The bounty will still flow south.

The proof? Scotland’s annual tax contributions to the UK have increased by £14.2 billion over the last decade. Its public sector generated annual revenue of £73.3bn last year, which accounted for 8% of total UK contributions – dwarfing those from Wales and NI.

And here’s the kicker. Oil and gas aren’t included. In 2022/23, North Sea oil revenue was £10.57bn, up from £2.66bn the year before. 90% is from Scottish waters, around £10bn, so Scotland’s total contribution last year was £83bn. But we got back just £42bn.

The last thing we need is a preening Viceroy Murray overseeing the unceasing plunder of our resources and impoverishment of our people.

The “union” is a legal sham concocted to justify Scotland’s colonisation by its voracious “partner”. We must end it.

Leah Gunn Barrett