Letter: Implications of the Tory losses

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The Independent Online
Sir: After Newbury and the county council elections in England, and the Conservative Party conference in Edinburgh, bewildered Scots are asking how a 31 per cent Tory vote in England is 'a bloody nose' but a 25 per cent Tory vote in Scotland last year was 'a triumph'; how a 28 per cent swing against them was 'a bit of a set-back', but a mere 1 per cent increase in their vote, resulting in scrape-through victories and 11 seats out of 72, was 'a renaissance'. Strange how all the hype being broadcast to England never made these figures clear.

Nor, on Scottish experience, should the disaffected English hold their breath for the result of any rethinking by this paternalistic government. We asked for the 'bread' of democratic renewal and are offered the 'stone' of more visible government control and quangos. We asked for the 'fish' of industrial renewal and are offered the 'serpent' of nuclear dumps and unwanted rail privatisation.

For the first time in our lifetime, the South is experiencing what the North, Scotland and Wales have suffered over and over again. It is to the credit of the generous and compassionate Scots that I have not once heard a sneer or jibe about the 'whingeing English', only the hope that now, like us, they will recognise that Britain's political system fails the test of modern life, and must be reformed if any of us are to prosper. Will the voters who delivered the bloody nose also administer the therapy of Charter 88?

Yours sincerely,

MARION RALLS

Secretary,

Campaign for a Scottish Parliament

Edinburgh

15 May

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