The Lie That Won’t Die

Do Scots get the government they vote for?

Zombie Hordes

Two weeks ago, Reverend Stu Campbell of Bath, aka Wings Over Scotland, proudly revealed an anniversary. It was 12 years, he breathlessly announced in a post called The Longest Lie, since he first debunked the notion that Scottish votes influence the outcome of UK General Elections. The last time it happened was 1964, he told his adoring followers.

Quite a statistic. But is it true?

Not even remotely. As in, not only is it misleading, it is demonstrably false. In every sense. It contains not a scintilla of truth. Unfortunately, it has now entered the post-modernist Scottish political lexicon along with similar myths, such as the Nationalist whine that Scotland never gets the Westminster Government it votes for. Presumably, they mean apart from the 11 occasions post-WW2 when Scotland voted for the party that won the General Election and formed the Government?

To illustrate the truth, these are the General Election results from 1966 to 2010. On every occasion, Scotland voted Labour.

  • 1966 – Labour Government
  • 1970 – Conservative Government
  • Feb 1974 – Labour Government
  • Oct 1974 – Labour Government
  • 1979 – Conservative Government
  • 1983 – Conservative Government
  • 1987 – Conservative Government
  • 1992 – Conservative Government
  • 1997 – Labour Government
  • 2001 – Labour Government
  • 2005 – Labour Government
  • 2010 – Con/Lib Dem coalition

So, in fact, over 12 elections, Scotland got the government it voted for 50% of the time. Such is democracy.

But how often did Scottish votes influence the outcome? Not in 1966 or in 1970, when first Labour then the Conservatives won with comfortable majorities. But look what happened in Feb 1974, when Ted Heath called an early General Election to decide “who governs Britain”. The result across the UK was:

  • Conservative 297
  • Labour 301

While in Scotland the result was:

  • Conservative 21
  • Labour 40

Total UK votes

  • Conservative 11,872,180
  • Labour 11,645,616

In summary, England/Wales voted Conservative, Scotland voted Labour. Throughout the UK, more people voted Conservative than Labour. But because Scotland voted Labour by a sizeable majority, Labour won the election and Harold Wilson became Prime Minister. I would call that a fairly significant Scottish influence. I’d love to hear an argument to the contrary. Stu? Hello?

Should I go on? How about the 1979 General Election, which was called early as a result of 11 SNP MPs backing Margaret Thatcher’s Vote of No Confidence in the Labour Government? That marked the start of 18 years of Conservative rule. Seems like a very significant Scottish influence, which launched the bitingly accurate mantra: Vote SNP, Get Tory

How about more recently? Remember the Theresa May snap General Election in 2017? In Scotland, the Conservatives gained 12 seats from the SNP, mainly as a reaction from a Scottish electorate sick to death of Sturgeon shrieking about a second independence referendum. The final tallies by party were:

  • Conservative 317
  • Labour 262
  • SNP 35

If those 12 Scottish Tory seats had gone to Labour or the SNP, their combined total would have been 309 to the Tories 305. If Sturgeon had only accepted the result of the independence referendum, she would have been asked to help Jeremy Corbyn to form the next UK Govt. Now, that’s influence, albeit squandered.

It’s hardly surprising thet the peddler. with Wee Ginger Dug, of the whisky export duty myth and The Wee Blue Book (of lies) would push misinformation in pursuit of his dying cause. Perhaps this kind of misinformaton could have had a free pass in heady days of pre-referendum fervour. But this is 2024, and the old lies don’t work any more.

As we approach the 2024 General Election, expect to see further easily-disprovable lies in this exact vein from increasingly desperate Scottish Nationalists. When you see these fairy tales, recognise them for what they are: total fantasy.

David Griffiths is the co-host of The Majority Show, broadcast live every Wednesday at 7pm. Follow him on Twitter/X: @Erudite4Unity

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Written by David Griffiths

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