Farage and Tice’s recently-approved Reform UK party is heading to Scotland this morning to unveil their Scottish branch this morning, with Tice promising to announce a mystery leader and outline their blueprint for the Holyrood elections (whenever they may be). The secrecy over who will lead the party’s efforts north of the border smells like a classic defection moment, à la Carswell and Reckless.
While there’s rumour of a Tory defection, Guido notes independent MSP and former Scottish Tory leadership candidate Michelle Ballantyne has been singing from the Faragian hymn sheet since she quit the Conservative whip a month ago – the defection of whom would result in the party’s first MSP. Expressing her thoughts on lockdown to one constituent on Facebook she argues:
“I share your feelings, the damage being done is irreconcilable with the impact of the virus. Parliament handed a mandate to the Government to make decisions without consultation (I was guilty back then of following the whip, I have since resigned to vote as I believe fit).
“There doesn’t appear to be any balanced analysis. The average age of death with Covid (I’m told that just having a positive test is enough to make someone a Covid death) is around 83 and yet we are willing to sacrifice the lives of our young people, it makes no sense.
“I wish I could offer you more hope but there seems to be a collective madness in politics at the moment that sets anything other than Covid deaths aside as sad but necessary collateral damage.”
Michelle – who is usually more than happy to chat to Guido – is keeping quiet…