Text of a letter dated 10th November 2001, sent to Mr David McLetchie, Leader of the Scottish Conservative Group in the Scottish Parliament:
Rt Hon David McLetchie MSP The Scottish Parliament Edinburgh EH99 1SP
Dear Mr McLetchie
I resigned from my local Scottish Conservative & Unionist Association (Inverness East, Nairn & Lochaber Nairn & Lochaber) on 17th September, and from my positions as a Vice-Chairman of the Association and Secretary of the Inverness Branch, to mark my displeasure at the election as Leader of the Conservative Party of Mr Iain Duncan Smith on 13th September. The move of the Conservative Party to the right experienced under William Hague seemed likely to be continued under the new Leadership.
However, until last Thursday I had considered you to be, if not exactly 'liberal' (with a small 'l'), then not one of the right-wing 'headbangers', but I have unfortunately had to revise my view.
Your tenacious efforts to expose the activities over fourteen years of the former First Minister of Scotland, Mr Henry McLeish, in failing to make necessary declarations in respect of rental income streams received for his constituency offices in Fife, whilst an MP, are to be applauded, as is the support (in the later stages) of Mr John Swinney. You can in my view rightly take credit for not being susceptible to the various pressures, only some of which are discernible to a member of the general public such as me, which I am sure were brought upon you to 'cease and desist'. However, during a live interview broadcast on BBC2 on the afternoon of Thursday November 8, the day Mr McLeish resigned, you opined that Scottish parliamentary time had been wasted, by Mr McLeish and the Scottish Executive, on 'unimportant' matters such as the repeal of clause 28, when they could have (one presumes you believe) used this time to debate on more important, if not fundamental [my comment] issues. Of course, what they took time over was 'Clause 2a', the equivalent in Scotland of 'Section 28', but let that pass. I find such a categorisation of the removal of a blatantly discriminatory and spiteful piece of legislation [with its references to 'pretend family relationships' and 'promotion' of homosexuality] to be completely outrageous and highly unacceptable in a politician in a modern democracy.
What I find puzzling, but in some ways revelatory, is that you should choose the moment of your triumph (and it was undoubtedly a triumph to have exposed the 'humbuggery' of much of the comment on the matter of his constituency affairs whilst an MP by Mr McLeish and his Labour Party apologists) to highlight an issue which is 'over' in Scotland and of interest now mainly to the small rump of support your Party retains in Scotland. You may believe you are right on the issue of the need to have retained 'clause 2a', but the reality is that you are 'flogging a dead horse'. I find it difficult to believe that making comments such as you did will attract anyone not until now a supporter of your Party to view it with any more favour than they did prior to your having made it, nor will it attract homosexuals such as myself back to a Party which, despite its protests to the contrary, still shows itself to be riven with bigotry, racism and homophobia. There are other issues you could have highlighted to reinforce your success vis à vis Mr McLeish, but the choice you did make is the revelatory bit.