As has been noted in the Gurn, the Conservatives have recognised and embraced the web unlike some political parties.
They have a campaign website with issues which I would think everyone to a degree would support no matter what their political persuasion. The Tories have chosen subjects to support that very few will disapprove of. ‘Save the great British pub, support our small shops, save your local GP’, the list goes on.
Their ‘Help our High Street’ campaign is one that everyone can identify with, for every High Street is in demise, some more than others.
Sadly the £60 million which is the amount of money on offer for the campaign is not a lot of money to share amongst all the towns in Scotland, and I fear the campaign for most part will become little more than a giant begging bowl from residents all over Scotland, pouring out their heart felt stories of the town they once had.
Our High Streets have however changed forever. Ignoring for a moment the current credit crunch we as shoppers are drawn to the likes of the Inverness Eastgate centres and the Internet for many of our purchases. We want choice and we want value for money and the local High Street just doesn’t seem to do either of those. We just want goods, not a chat with the shopkeeper, or the chance to socialise with acquaintances ‘up the street’. I suspect that even with a new town supermarket our High Street would be struggling.
But the winner out of ‘Help our High Streets’ will be the Conservatives for they have found a matter dear to our hearts and shown that they as a party are prepared to act, no-doubt hoping we will remember all their ‘save our way of life’ campaigns at the next election.
No matter how successful the campaign has been as a Conservative Trojan Horse, hints as to who might win the money are already there to be seen, Chris Walker, Conservative candidate for a borders seat says on the matter ‘It’s up to us now to convince the Scottish Government that we should have the lions share here in the Borders’. Will it come as any surprise if the winners of the ‘Help our High Streets’ are those with Tory candidates in marginal seats who are hoping to get elected?