Polls in the 1992 General Election predicted a Labour victory. The outcome was the election of a Conservative government gaining the largest number of popular votes in British history. Thatcher had been rejected by her own party and an end to Thatcherism had popular support. Her successor John Major was seen as weak and ineffective and unemployment was high.
So what went wrong?
Towards the end of their flagging campaign The Tories enrolled fear as their ally. They told voters that a Labour victory would mean higher taxes and higher prices; what their posters described as a double whammy. The right wing press took this up, with the Sun at the forefront, ending with a front page on Election Day that still excels all other offensive offerings of the gutter press.
Yet not a single convincing argument was produced to justify the double whammy claim. The Major Government that followed was a failure. On the 16 September 1992 (Black Wednesday) It lost over £3 billion on an entirely home grown financial disaster. It found it could not meet its obligation to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. It had already squandered an estimated 27 Billion of reserves propping up the pound.
With a pathetic bleat, “If it’s not hurting it’s not working” Major justified unemployment and recession as the only way to get inflation down. His final gesture before leaving office was to privatise British Rail.
The cynical theme of the current, “frighten the life out of the suckers “, does not look very different from its 1992 model.
And once again the fear is groundless; the SNP lost the referendum on independence gaining only 45% of the vote. At the moment there is no reason to believe another referendum would produce any different outcome. The Scots are voting SNP because they find its programme for the government of Great Britain more palatable than that of the Westminster parties. There are plenty of voters in England and Wales who agree with them.
If no party has an overall majority then the views of the other Parties must be considered. Deny this to Scotland and a breakup of the UK is inevitable. To accept the Tory’s deception means voting for more privatisation and growing inequality.