BY ANNE HOWIE
MANCHESTER, England - "A New Dawn: Scotland Wakes Up To People's Parliament" was the September 2 headline of the Scottish newspaper the Daily Record. The day before, government proposals for devolution for Scotland had been approved overwhelmingly. With a 60 percent turn out, 74.3 percent voted for the establishment of a Scottish parliament, with lawmaking powers in such areas as health, education, local government, and most courts.
On the proposal that this parliament would have the power to vary tax rates, 63.5 percent voted in favor. Every area of Scotland returned a "yes" vote on the first question, and only two returned a "no" vote on the second. The result marks a shift from 1979, when 52 percent voted in favor of a similar proposal. That vote did not carry, because the election rules required a "yes" vote equal to 40 percent of eligible voters.
This shift is clearly fueled by a will to resist the continuing assaults on the conditions of working people, particularly cuts in social spending.
"I always thought we should have our own parliament, especially after Thatcherism. That woman killed off our industries from London," was the response of James Flannery from Govan, Glasgow. He was referring to former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
"I think the Parliament will look after pensioners and improve the health service. Things can only get better," said Stuart Laing.
Labour Party prime minister Anthony Blair said of the vote results, "the era of big centralized government is over. This is a time of change, of renewal and modernization."
Meanwhile, the referendum on the setting up of an
assembly in Wales, taking place September 18, appears to
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