In 1997 after nearly 20 years of Conservative rule a labour government swept to power with a landslide victory over largely disorganised opposition. The party had campaigned successfully on the issue of major constitutional reform and among these reforms was devolution for Scotland.
The controversy that had surrounded the 1979 referendum was less of an issue this time around and the West Lothian question was more a subject for intellectual debate than political policy.
The people were asked to vote on two questions:
‘I agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament’
‘I agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-varying powers’
In contrast to 1979 the campaign for the ‘yes yes’ vote was far more coordinated across the political parties with the conservative ‘Think Twice’ campaign lacking any real cohesion.
On 11 September 1997 the public voted yes on both counts. Following this result, the Scotland Bill was introduced in Parliament in January 1998 and became law as the Scotland Act in November that year.
After nearly 200 years Scotland once again had the government it deserved.