June 25, 2001
My famed powers of prediction again failed me. When I was looking, last week, at the five candidates to take over the leadership of the Conservative Party, one name failed me, that of Michael Ancram. After a first flurry of expectation when the contest started, he was written off. Now, suddenly, he is being seen as the "unity" candidate who can reassure the right with his instincts and reassure the left with the feeling that he is a jolly decent old cove.
Michael Ancram is seen to have a large set of handicaps. Firstly, he is a Catholic, although as the front runner Michael Portillo is also Catholic (although non-practising) this does not matter. There is also the fact that he is an aristocrat and a very grand one too (even though he has not yet inherited the family title he is still an Earl). He is seen as being on the left of the party, although he is distinctly to the right of the ideological left's candidate, Ken Clarke indeed, he has probably scuppered Clarke's campaign by entering. He was also the party chairman during and in the period leading up to this election, and so some of the blame for the poor result must attach to him.
There is one more serious impediment to his election as leader of the Conservative Party, and that is his nationality. Most of England is now being run by a foreign regime. The Prime Minister is a Scotsman. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a Scotsman. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Britain's perennial third party, is a Scotsman. The "independent" speaker of the House of Commons is a Scotsman. The leader of the House of Commons is a Scotsman. The foreign secretary was a post that until recently was held by a Scotsman. There seems no place in senior British politics open to the English. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the writ of the government over which the Scots lord barely runs in Scotland. The Scottish parliament decides how its disproportionate share of government spending is spent, and makes most of its own laws, while the government that its denizens run makes the laws for England.
This is where Michael Ancram comes in. It is hard to tell from the way he speaks that he is in fact a Scot. He sounds so, well, English. In this way, he is very like Tony Blair. Michael Ancram may have been born in Scotland, and spent most of his legal and political career there, but he was educated in an English boarding school, and so sounds like an English toff. However he comes from a Scottish aristocratic family (his father is a Scottish Marquis) and he served for years on the Scottish bar and became an MP for a Scottish constituency. He went south and got a safe English seat, but his friends and loyalty are to the north of Hadrian's Wall.
This matters greatly to the Conservative Party. The party is no longer a party of the United Kingdom, it is only its English supporters who have stayed loyal to the party. Unfortunately, the party is ignoring this. The party's almost total lack of seats in Scotland and Wales (they won one, and came fourth in terms of votes) could be an advantage, an ability to focus on the 85% of the British population who live in England. Instead, it is seen as a problem, something that the party needs to overcome. The case for English nationalism, a severance from the Celtic parasites, has never been stronger. The Conservative Party should sever its links with branches in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and unequivocally support the dissolution of the United Kingdom. It may be perfectly understandable that any half talented Scot would want to escape the provincial confines of Edinburgh, but it is no excuse that they should rule over us. Michael Ancram is a perfectly congenial fellow, but he comes from a narrow parasitical class who spend our wealth and make our laws but think themselves too good to obey them, and I'm not talking about the aristocracy.
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