William Hague predicts Tory election “breakthrough” in Scotland

You can bet your mortgage against it.

William Hague flew by helicopter in to Scotland today, declaring: "I believe we're on the verge of an important breakthrough for the Scottish Conservative Party."

He added: "The only way to bring about change at Westminster is to have Scottish Conservatives elected; there's no other way to do it. The choice in this election is between change or ruin in the United Kingdom.

"We need to make sure there's a strong Scottish voice within a Conservative majority. That's a very important component so government can really represent all parts of the UK."

This, surely, is the least credible forecast so far in this three-day-old campaign. Scottish sources say that not only are the Tories heading for meltdown once again in Scotland, but even Scottish Tories find David Cameron and George Osborne hard to swallow. Meanwhile, there are fears among traditionalist Unionist Scots, including some Scottish Tories, that the UK could break up under the Conservatives.

At the same time, there is further evidence of an SNP-Tory love-in (see also last link), the former joining the latter in attacking Labour's National Insurance increase.

Talking of the rumbling NI row, the supposed "waste" savings (about which, see Mehdi Hasan's blog) and the red-tape cuts David Cameron's Tories are falling back on as the election draws near, the campaign echoes precisely the same strategy pursued by Hague in the 2001 election (see examples here and here). That was just before he lost by a landslide.







James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.