A Brace of Cabinet Ministers

Following in the footsteps of Michael Gove, Theresa Villiers, the Northern Ireland Secretary, became the second Cabinet minister to visit the Whitesome Ark, when she dropped in for tea and sandwiches on Friday 12th February on her way from Edinburgh to London. The Ark can now probably lay claim to being country's most politically well connected village hall, and the members of our Berwickshire branch are becoming quite blasé about taking tea with those who sit at the nation's top table. 

Tweeddale drinks party

A drinks party was held at Portmore House on Wednesday 20th January by kind permission of David and Chrissie Reid to welcome the new branch chairman, Fiona Campbell, and to provide an opportunity for Cllr Michelle Ballantyne, for our candidate in Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, to outline her views on the task ahead of her... and us. The photo--with apologies for the politically incorrect rosy hue--shows David Reid, our host for the evening, urging Cllr Michelle Ballantyne, our candidate in MSTL, Fiona Campbell, the new branch chairman, and Robert Miller-Bakewell, the association chairman, on to ever greater efforts. Robert looks as if he could do with a break.

New Education Paper

Looking forward to this May's Scottish Parliament elections, the Scottish Conservatives have published a new paper containing proposals for ways in which Scottish education can be improved. The emphasis in this paper is on measures that do not require extensive or lengthy legislation but which can be delivered in the short term.In essence the proposals are for individual schools to be given more autonomy, to channel Scottish Attainment Challenge funds directly to schools with a high proportion of children from socially deprived backgrounds, for high performing schools to share their ideas and practices with low performing ones and for the creation of school clusters. 

Christmas lunch 2015

The Association's Christmas lunch was held on Sunday 13th December at the Buccleuch Arms. A packed Salmon Room listened to an address by Lady Emma Pidding, former Chairman of the party's National Convention and a recently ennobled peeress. After her talk, Lady Pidding kindly drew the raffle and a suitably Christmassy Lady Mary Biddulph is seen here collecting the very last of a seemingly never-ending succession of prizes that ensured every table departed laden with Christmas goodies. 

Regional list ranking

For the 2016 Holyrood election every voter will be able to cast two votes, one for their chosen constituency candidate and one for the regional list of the party of their choice in the region in which their constituency is located. In the case of the Scottish Borders, that region is the South of Scotland.

John Lamont adopted for Holyrood '16

At a meeting on the evening of Monday 20th July 2015, John Lamont, the sitting MSP for the constituency of Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, was unanimously adopted by the members who attended as their candidate for the seat in the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections. Scott Rutherford, newly appointed as our campaign manager, was introduced to members at the same meeting.

General Election 2015

The Scottish Borders Conservative and Unionist Association encompasses the whole of the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk Westminster constituency and the Tweeddale region of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale. Congratulations to David Mundell, the sitting MP for DCT, who successfully held off a strong SNP challenge to retain his seat. Congratulations too on his appointment as Secretary of State for Scotland. Commiserations to John Lamont, our candidate in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, who lost by just 328 votes to the SNP.

The cake has landed

The cake offered as a lot in the recent Rory Stewart dinner/auction has now been baked. Did nobody tell the cook that blue is the colour for spring/summer 2015?

Scottish Manifesto launch

Following on from the launch in Swindon of the Conservative Party manifesto for the 2015 general election, the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party launched its general election manifesto today in Glasgow. Here's the front cover, read on to view the contents.

Rory Stewart Dinner

An audience of 120 at the Buccleuch Arms listened to Rory Stewart MP, Chair of the Defence Select Committee, speak in support of John Lamont’s campaign to win the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk seat this May and then promise to introduce him to the House of Commons once he had done so. Rory began his talk by stressing the importance of a Conservative victory in this seat and in the UK as a whole. The British economy is now growing faster than that of any other G7 nation, the deficit has and is continuing to be reduced and jobs have been created on an unprecedented scale; but more work needs to be done and only the Conservatives will do it. On the other hand, a Labour victory in May, whether outright or propped up by other parties, would put all of this at risk.