Devolution White Paper: How views can change

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The Independent Online
Robin Cook, now Foreign Secretary and a supporter of devolution, was a vice-chairman of the Scotland Says No group in 1979. He told the House of Commons: "After devolution, the position of Scottish members will be untenable. I shall be able to vote on matters concerning English education, for example, but English members will not be able to vote on Scottish education ..."

Michael Ancram, now the Conservatives' constitutional spokesman and vehemently anti-devolution, is a former member of the Thistle Group, which called for a Scottish Parliament with tax-raising powers and control of monetary policy. In 1976, he wrote in the Times: "The movement for greater self-determination in Scotland is undeniable and justifiable. Nor should it be confused with the separatist philosophies of the Scottish National Party. The only link between them is the growing support the latter will receive if the former is denied."

Even Margaret Thatcher was pro-devolution in 1975. She told a rally in Edinburgh: "The establishment of a Scottish assembly must be a top priority to ensure that more decisions are taken in Scotland by Scots."