By Campaign Agent Marykate Monaghan
Note: views expressed are those of the individual and not representative of TalkPolitics.
Theresa May’s fall from power has been looking increasingly more likely for some weeks now. Unsurprisingly, the most debated aspect of her downfall has rather been who will be her successor. Likewise, while we do not know who will replace May, we do know whoever it is must follow in her footsteps by taking up the enormous task of leading the country through the exit negotiations with the European Union. If handling the most important policy change for years was not enough, the successor will also have the fate of the party on their shoulders, as well as even the future of the British political landscape. Out of all the possible options, Ruth Davidson appears the best suited to face the task ahead.
Ms Davidson has already proved her worth to the party through her role as kingmaker during the General Election this summer. The 13 seats won in Scotland for the Conservatives were vital in saving the party from complete embarrassment, clinching the necessary majority for the government - with help from the DUP.
Her value within the party is only strengthened by the positive coverage of her within the media, depicting her presence as charismatic and down-to-earth: an impossibility for any other figure within the Conservative Party right now. The coverage of her unique matter-of-fact and friendly attitude within the political world is only emphasised by her speech technique of using more colloquial and humorous language, a stark contrast to Phillip Hammond’s approach, for example. Likewise, her humour drastically differs to her other rival in Boris Johnson, whose appeal falls more in the category of a House of Common’s jester, contrasting with the witty style used by Ruth Davidson. This is only emphasised by her intelligent shifting of the questioning of the Conservatives being “in bed with the DUP” by countering that Arlene Foster would not "be comfortable being in a bed with me".
The feisty affairs involving Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister for Scotland, and Davidson outline her talent in opposition. Her scrutiny of the Scottish Nationalist Party has been effective and hard to shake off, illustrated by their 10-year anniversary in government being undermined by her critique of their continuous problems with education. Her presence in Holyrood forms a constant pressure for the Scottish Government, and her expertise questioning accompanied by her charismatic approach to First Minister’s Questions outlines her compelling role within politics of holding individuals and parties to their promises and policy targets.
Thus, if Labour’s populist approach to campaigning continues its success and results in the keys to Number 10 ending up with Jeremy Corbyn, Davidson’s precise criticism could be even more powerful on the opposite side of the chamber. Given the Labour Party’s reversal on scrapping tuition fees and renewing Trident, to name but two, she would have a perfect foundation to start from.
To say Theresa May lacks leadership would be an understatement. Her absence of control and direction for the country, as well as the Conservative Party, has echoed her inability to lead. By contrast, everything Ruth touches seems to turn to blue. A testament to this is the dramatic resurrection of the Scottish Conservatives.
Following the Thatcher years, the thought of any seats for the Scottish Conservative Party was wiped out. The use of Scotland as a guinea pig experiment for the poll tax and the ensuing economic chaos placed the nail in not only Thatcher’s political coffin, but also that of the Conservative’s appeal. In stark contrast, under Davidson's leadership, the party has not only increased in membership, but gained greater representation inside the Commons and Holyrood. The number of Conservative MSPs, MPs and even local councillors within Scotland has witnessed a huge upturn, outlining Davidson’s expert leadership in shaping and formulating the rise of support for the Conservative Party in local, regional and national areas and issues; something that wouldn’t go amiss for the rest of the British Isles.
Therefore, following the General Election held in June, continuing uncertainty over Brexit Negotiations, and worsening infighting within the Conservative Party, Theresa May’s checkmate seems inevitable. To avoid conceding to the Labour party, the Conservatives must change their pawn to another Queen, and explore the possibility of placing Ruth Davidson in pole position.
Sources and Further Reading
- Chris McCall, Analysis: Could Ruth Davidson become prime minister?, The Scotsman (2 October 2017)
- John Rentoul, I’m convinced Ruth Davidson could be the next prime minister, even if the bookies favour Boris Johnson, The Independent (21 October 2017)
- Vicky Spratt, Could this woman be the next Prime Minister? The Debrief (23 October 2017)
- Brendan Hughes, Ruth Davidson: I'm not sure Arlene Foster would be comfortable getting into bed with me, Irish News (3 October 2017)
Image: Scottish Parliament @ Flickr