The following is an exclusive interview with James Mac Millan.
Q: What did you think of John Lamont’s contribution in the Hollyrood debate on the “sectarianism bill”?
A: Lamont’s contribution to this debate was inept, and drew attention away from what some might say was Ms Cunningham’s mishandling of the bill, and focussed public attention on how divided the Tories were and how incompetent their Justice spokesman is. The SNP must be delighted at his shenanigans! The fact that some are talking about him as a possible Scottish Tory leader points to how dire the Party’s prospects in Scotland have become.
Q: Were you surprised by Mr.Lamont’s views?
A: Disappointed, but not entirely surprised. It is odd that at the very time the Tories are trying to widen their support in Scotland, one of their front bench spokesman comes across as being as out of touch as ever. He should have known that all evidence points to the startling success story of Catholic schools in Scotland, their deep integration in the State system and their positive impact on bigotry at all levels. I’m afraid that there are too many John Lamont’s still in the Tory Party in Scotland – petty provincial “Golf Club snobs”, with nothing to be snobbish about – the type that still bridle indignantly when the local Catholic businessman applies to join…
Q: Is his position now, in your opinion, untenable?
A: He is completely out of step with his Party and openly contradicting party policy, which is to support faith schools and the principle of educational choice. He is clearly not competent of political responsibility at this level. He should apologise, and publicly give his support to his own Party’s policy on this matter. Failing that he should enunciate his opposition to his party. If he does this, he can no longer be the Party spokesman, and should resign.
Q: If he does not resign what should David Cameron do?
A: The Tories down south must be shaking their heads at all this. No wonder the Lamont’s of this world have become such a political liability for the Party. He should be sacked. But it would be better for the Party in Scotland to be seen to be dealing with their own problems, rather than big brother, down south having to step in again to sort it out.
Q: If he remains in post what message does this send to Scotland’s catholic community?
A: The Scottish Tories would dearly love to attract more Catholics to vote for them. In many ways this the best time to do that, when the Labour Party seem to be abandoning the values that social conservatives, like Catholics and others hold dear. Labour has been taken over by a middle-class metropolitan elite, hostile to traditional values and at odds with many in the country on a whole range of issues from social and international justice, the family, marriage, abortion, embryo experimentation and choice of schooling. Thanks to this clown Lamont, bang goes any opportunity of rapprochement, or even dialogue, between Scottish Catholics and the Scottish Tories. Some of us feel that is a pity.