Financier Peter de Vink, a stalwart of the Scottish Conservatives since the mid-1970s, explains his frustration with the party's current direction

I fear we are once again harking back to the old days where we draw a line in the sand on Scotland’s constitutional journey.

The negative arguments of the current leadership will cause more Scots to support independence rather than vote against it, while leaving the party condemned to the pages of history.

Here's the party that stands for independence of views, freedom of speech, freedom of action, and yet we are so intolerant when it comes to this. They look complete plonkers. They look so inept. Ruth Davidson, she is so out of her depth it's just a laugh.

In the invitation to the lunch [to Alex Salmond at Edinburgh's New club] I said I had come to the conclusion that independence was actually a very attractive option for Scotland.

Some people sent that to their friends in the higher ranks of the Tory party and they accused me of running with the hare and chasing with the hounds. I said, 'Bollocks, this is a local election [to Midlothian Council in May], nothing to do with independence', but they said No. So I became a victim of the cabal.

They said I have to be a unionist to be a Conservative, which I think is barking mad.

The Tory party is painting itself in again by absolutely dismissing independence just as they dismissed devolution

Look at what a pathetic party it has become, with one member of parliament at Westminster. I call that pathetic... always hankering back to the past. Why not look to the future?

Scotland can stand on its own feet and can earn what it spends and spend what it earns and it stops being a subsidy junky thanks to [the] Barnett [formula].

I think if we became independent we could start thinking out of the box.

What I'm trying to say its that it’s better to prepare for reality. I am almost convinced beyond reasonable doubt that we will have independence and when it comes then we are going to have missed the boat. That's my message.