What would a yes vote in the devolution referendum mean for Scotland and the United Kingdom?
In the run up to the Scottish Devolution Referendum, 'Frontline' examines both sides of the debate for an independent Scottish assembly. This excerpt from the programme looks at the campaign for a Yes Vote.
Those in favour of devolution require one and a half million of the electorate to vote 'Yes'. For devolution to pass, 40% of the electorate must vote Yes. This hurdle to devolution was built into the act by anti-devolution Members of Parliament.
The referendum is cutting across party lines with liberals, communists, some Tories, Scottish Labour, and the Scottish Nationalists all campaigning for a Yes vote.
Margo MacDonald Deputy Leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) talks about the campaign to date and the consequences of a yes result.
If the yes win, then it's accepted that the Scottish nation is alive and well and is fully capable of determining for itself how it should evolve and grow.
At an SNP referendum meeting, Margo MacDonald emphasises the improved democracy that a devolved government would bring to Scotland and derides those who still cling to London rule.
The alternative to voting yes is to be derided in Westminster and to be laughed at throughout the world.
The British Labour Party is also running a Yes campaign but separate to the SNP in the hope that they can avoid being tarred with a nationalist, separatist brush. The Labour Party argue that it would be an economic disaster for Scotland to separate itself from the United Kingdom. A Labour Yes vote is in support of the Scotland Act to build on the distinctive history, culture and traditions of Scotland within the framework of the United Kingdom.
This episode of 'Frontline' was broadcast on 26 February 1979. The reporter is Forbes McFall.
The Scottish Devolution Referendum was held on 1 March 1979 with 51.62% of the electorate voting in favour of devolution as proposed in the 1978 Scotland Act. However, turnout in the referendum was just 64% with the yes vote representing 32.9% of the electorate. Under the Scotland Act, devolution couldn't become law unless a minimum of 40% of the electorate voted yes.