Lot of publicity for the suggestion by Murdo Fraser that the Scottish Conservative Party should be 'disbanded' and replaced by a new centre/right party in Scotland. This suggestion must be taken seriously because Murdo is in with a good chance of becoming the leader of the Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament. The idea (and attendant publicity) is great for Murdo, whom I know, and who has always been a great enthusiast for developing a distinctive 'Scottish' Conservative presence North of the border, in the same way Nick Bourne did in Wales during his period as leader. In passing, I should opine that I believe Andrew Davies will follow the same furrow as Nick. Murdo's suggestion is also good in that it will lead to debate amongst Scots about the Conservative Party, which hasn't happened in any positive way for a while.
I do remember there being some discussion about a change of name for the Conservative Party in Wales amongst Assembly Members a few years ago. I think it was my colleague, David Melding, who is now Deputy Presiding Officer who made the suggestion. I never knew how serious David was about the idea, but he certainly wanted us to consider ways of connecting better with the Welsh electorate. The name change was never taken seriously as I recall - but a change of image and attitude was. Even though I was not in favour of setting up the National Assembly, I've always felt that the referendum result of 1997 was a moment of great change for Welsh governance. Since the result was announced on that fateful Sept 19th morning, I've been supportive of a distinctive 'Conservative' part in Wales committed to a successful Assembly, growing in power and stature - but remaining part of the United Kingdom. It underpinned my politics during my 8 years as an AM, and it has not changed since I became an MP. But in the end, a change of name is not enough. What really matters are positive attitudes and policies towards Scotland and Wales.