It's absolutely marvellous to be here from Scotland as part of our United Kingdom Conservative family with our leader David Cameron as our Prime Minister.
I am sure that David is more than a match for the new Labour leader, Red Ed - a man who has unashamedly taken the Labour Party right back to the socialism of the Seventies.
D'you know, when you type 'Miliband' into the computer - what do you think the first thing is that spellcheck comes up with? Militant. Back to the Seventies indeed! And who will ever forget them? You may think you've got it bad at Westminster with Red Ed. But spare a thought for us in Scotland. Red Ed has found a new chum in Alex Salmond who praised the new, Old-Labour leader and welcomed him to the 'sensible ground' of politics. Sensible? Aye, right. And next year I'll be Miss World! So I don't just have unreconstructed Labour to contend with in Scotland, I have Red Ed's tartan-troosered friend, Red Eck. But praise where praise is due. Last week, Alex Salmond joined me and other party leaders in Scotland to make a joint factual submission to the Strategic Defence Review about Scotland's proud contribution to Britain's defences. We met Liam Fox with that powerful submission. But that submission also lays bare a very inconvenient truth for Alex Salmond. Because one fact underpins that document. It is this. Scotland would not have one single defence job if we were independent. Not one. We only have these defence jobs because we are part of the United Kingdom. Be in no doubt that the Scottish Conservatives will always act in the national interest, never the nationalist interest. Now, as we approach the Scottish Parliament election next May, there is a big challenge confronting Scotland. It is the leaden hand of socialism which has gripped Scotland since the 1970s. It will get new oxygen from Ed Miliband and absolutely no challenge from Alex Salmond. Listen to this for an irony - devolution was supposed to create a Scottish Parliament for Scottish solutions. But instead of being an engine for reform, Labour and the SNP have used it to put the brakes on reform. For them, the Statist Quo rules OK. But not for me. Not for the Scottish Conservatives and not for Scotland. This week, here in Birmingham, I have set out a radical agenda for public service reform in Scotland. I have dared to ask the tough questions. I have dared to challenge the sterility of the 70's socialism that still grips Scotland. I have set out my vision for a new Scotland. A Scotland that shakes off the shackles of the past. These are tough times. We do face adversity. But while other parties may duck the challenge, the Scottish Conservatives will rise to it. While other parties may dodge the issues, we will tackle them head on. While other parties are stuck in the past, we will drive Scotland forward. Our eyes are firmly fixed on the future. Yes, there's an election in May. Bring it on!
Outside of politics, her interests include the countryside, music and literature.
Friday, April 12Rachel Maclean has been selected to fight Birmingham Northfield for the Conservatives at the next General Election.
Friday, April 12Karen Allen has been selected as the Conservative Party candidate for the South Shields parliamentary by-election.
Promoted by Alan Mabbutt on behalf of the Conservative Party, both at 4 Matthew Parker Street,
London, SW1H 9HQ