Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Night The Government Fell

Its 30 years since the last Labour Government fell, in a vote of no confidence. It is prehaps coincidence that some of the issues which forced the downfall of the last proper Labour government should surround the current New Labour government 30 years on.

Its weaknesses with the economy, and the inability to control/satisfy wage demands were two of the key featured of the last Callaghan’s government. Though what actually brought the government down was Callaghan’s dilemma over the aftermath of the devolution referendum.

New Labour, on the other hand, have been strict with public pay, but been rather lax in its dealings with big business. The result has been much worse, with the UK on the brink of bankruptcy. A retreat to “Old Labour” is nothing more than talk. Further more, if rumours about the Calman Commission are true, regards planning permission, New Labour will be storing up trouble for itself.

This however is a blog about the events of 30 years ago. While the obvious victors on the night were the Conservatives, while Labour were the very real losers, though not in so stark terms as would be seen 5 weeks down the line. What of the SNP? It was their motion of no confidence in Labours handling of the Scottish Referendum, which brought the government down. Yet it was the SNP who suffered in election terms, only re-emerging in the Scottish consciousness in the late 80’s. Because of the SNP’s hand in the emergence of Thatch, the central belt electorate felt that the SNP were “Tartan Tories”

Indeed, my own family do not vote because of this. My Dad has a memory of Winnie Ewing appearing on TV straight after the vote saying that a Thatcher government would be good for Scotland. Not the most accurate prediction I have ever heard.

The events of 30 years ago, lead to the type of policy making which is only now coming home to roost. I only hope that we see a similar end to the current right wing consensus over the next couple of years.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the right wing consensus looks like it's here to stay, even in these critical economic times simply because progressive political movements are so fractured.

The much predicted lurch to the left of the labour party, hasn't yet materialised, so what we are likely to see in the future is further splits and fall outs amongst all left wing groups. If the recession only lasts a few years, we will see a painfully slow recovery of the left, but if it bites deeper and lasts longer, we could see surprise coalitions developing between environmentalists and lefties, the green (ahem) shoots of which we are seeing now.

Allan said...

You might be right, if comments made by James Purnell are correct. The other thing which was widely prediced to happen was that pro-scottish parties of left and right the would emerge post devolution. Don't see any sign of that happening...

subrosa said...

It's such a pity so much is blamed on Thatcher. I rather liked the poll tax, I paid far less than the old rates.

I realise what she did to steel and coal was unforgivable but the unions ruled this country at that time and it made for a bad economy. They now rule it again don't they, hardly a peep about the Dunfermline. Unions ought to be reorganised, I'm not anti the idea but I'm certainly anti the way they do nothing for their members.

Allan said...


The problem with the Poll Tax was gthat it was a flat rate fee, it would have been a farer system if there was an income variable to how much you paid. I am too young to have been eligable, I remember that one of my classmates was only eligable to pay one day's worth, he was treatining to not pay and do all sorts...

Agree with you on Union's too, good idea on paper, but lead by wannabe old old Labour polititians.