16 March 2011

David Owen, Margaret Thatcher, referenda and Vicky Pollard

In March 1979 the Scots voted narrowly 'Yes' in a referendum to set up a Scottish legislature - but not by enough to overcome the requirement that a total of 40% of the electorate should approve.

It was a time when the Conservative party were a significant force in Scotland - particularly in rural areas and the North East and their strident opposition was clearly important in delivering large 'no' votes in these areas.

But their opposition took the form of 'vote NO and we'll bring in something better'. In an eve of vote message to the Chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Association, Margaret Thatcher wrote, "Many people of all parties, as well as Conservatives, believe that the right answer to the Government's proposal is NO. A NO vote does not mean that the devolution question will be buried. It will open the way for all parties to explore together a lasting alternative arrangement which can enjoy the support of the whole British people."

The Scots had to wait a further 18 years for their wish for self government to be fulfilled and in the meantime the Conservative and Unionist party collapsed to insignificance north of the border.

Move forward 32 years and we have another referendum and another politician asking people to do a Vicky Pollard and vote 'no, but yeh, but no...'

Owen wrote in Sunday's Independent "...a principled "No to AV, Yes to PR" can keep the door open for real reform. Popular demand for PR won't go away after a No vote...I urge you to vote for constitutional change because you believe in it. Electoral reformers who vote "No to AV, Yes to PR" will help to establish that it is the best system. Stand firm with the courage of your own convictions."

Sounds familiar?

No, but yeh, but no, but yeh...

1 comment:

  1. What no picture of Tony Blair cuddling some despot? I worry for your blood pressure if you don't release all that pent up hate...

    Dr Death has got a point, AV is a miserable little compromise that is no way fairer than FPTP.