USE YOUR VOTE FOR ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE, URGES DAVIDSON
Scottish Conservative leadership contender Ruth Davidson today [sat] made an impassioned plea to party members who have yet to return their ballot papers to vote for the 'once-in-a-lifetime, generational change' she promises.
'This is a unique opportunity for the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party to halt the decline in our fortunes, to turn things round and to recapture that spirit and determination that we need to be winners again,' she said.
'This is arguably the most important election in our party's history because it will determine whether we cease to exist - or whether we rebuild, revitalise and walk tall once again in Scottish politics and Scottish life.'
Speaking ahead of the party's West of Scotland conference in Eastwood, Glasgow, Ruth said she knew from her nationwide tour of Scotland's 59 Westminster constituencies that 'though the pulse has weakened in recent years, the heart and soul of the party is still very much alive'.
She added: 'Let's not kill ourselves off. That would be a huge mistake that we will regret for evermore. This is a time to grasp the kind of change that will really transform our party. I come to you offering that change – once-in-a-lifetime, generational change that will make huge difference.
‘I have absolute faith that it can be done and I am appealing to all those members who have yet to vote to put their faith in me. I will not let you down.'
This is the first time that the party's 8,900 members have a chance to elect a leader for the entire party. Annabel Goldie, whose decision to stand down sparked the election, is the leader of the party's 15 MSPs at Holyrood but not of the movement as whole.
Ruth said: 'Given the magnitude of the issues at the heart of this election, it is understandable that some members have yet to return their ballot papers. After all, the entire future of the party could rest upon the result. But I appeal to them not to leave things to chance and to use their votes.
'I am certain that abolishing the party and trying to start a new one is not the right answer. The sheer practical difficulties of doing that are almost unfathomable. It is not just me and many other Conservatives who say that; wise political academics such as Professor James Mitchell also recognise the dangers involved in going down that blind alley.
'I am not afraid to stand up and say I am a Conservative and I truly believe there are many, many people in this country who can be persuaded to also be proud of their Conservative values and principles. Of course, I am not pretending it will be easy, but I know with the kind of generational change that I offer it can be done.'
Ruth also today pledged to fight 'tooth and nail' to protect and promote Scotland's place within the United Kingdom.
She said now was the time to stand up and be counted as the Nationalist nay-sayers talked down the Union.
'It makes me angry when Alex Salmond tries to portray anyone who doesn't agree with his separatist agenda as in some way unpatriotic or less Scottish than him,' she said.
'I am proud of being Scottish and proud of the contribution Scotland makes to the United Kingdom - and the benefits that contribution returns.
'I have watched Scottish soldiers with a Union Flag on their arms patrol the streets of Kosovo to protect people from the horrors of ethnic cleansing. I know that Great Britain is a force for good in this world and the UK would not exist without Scotland in it. When Alex Salmond finally decides to call his referendum, I will go door to door to door to put forward the positive case for our United Kingdom.'
‘I refuse to cow down to the SNP or to Alex Salmond. I am a proud Scottish Conservative and I am a proud unionist.
‘Alex Salmond may think he can roll back three hundred years of history. I won’t let him. He wants to tear Scotland away from its rightful place at the heart of the United Kingdom. I won’t let him.
‘He wants to bring the United Kingdom to a crashing, crushing, irreversible end. I won’t let him.
‘You don’t negotiate with men like Alex Salmond. You stand up to them and fight. That is what being pro-Scottish is about.’
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