#936: 1959, Dinah Washington, What A Diff’rence A Day Makes

by George_East on September 20, 2014

To get the votes the No campaign needed in the referendum on Thursday, the three Westminster leaders signed a pledge on the front page of the Daily Record to give Scotland more power to run its own affairs, and for that process to start the day after the referendum.

None of this was thought through. It was born of panic and desperation.   Cameron didn’t want to be the PM who lost the union; Miliband did not want to be the Labour leader who lost the Scots Labour MPs from the Parliamentary Labour Party; and Clegg wanted to feel like he still mattered (hmm, a pledge signed by Clegg in an election campaign, what could possibly go wrong there…).

Then the result came in the early hours of Friday morning and it was a more decisive rejection of Scottish independence than expected: 55-45 or thereabouts.   The architect of the referendum, Alex Salmond, resigned removing from the equation the politician best placed to hold the feet of the Westminster politicians to the fire, and then depressingly, predictably it became all about England. Our political elites demonstrated within hours of the final result that they had learned precisely nothing from the experience of the referendum.

The implementation of the solemn pledge is now subsumed in a battle about narrow party advantage at Westminster. Cameron and Osborne have seen an opportunity to shaft Labour and Miliband’s Labour have reacted like terrified rabbits in the headlights, finding themselves in a completely foreseeable (by all except them, it would appear) trap of their own making. In the meantime, the Scottish voters to whom that pledge was made have been forgotten. And the Westminster-based politicians wonder why they are held in such contempt by the voters.

What a difference a day makes, indeed.

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