Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Neil Kinnock role in Thatcher coming to power.

On the day of  Margaret Thatcher funeral Neil Kinnock will not be attending . The former Labour leader has instead chosen to attend a memorial service for a former councillor in Wales next Wednesday.

So at least he will be visiting his old constituency . When was he last there?

Perhaps he should  attend her funeral because he played a major part in her rise to power.

A career politician who eschewed academic success and followed the  route of student politics. He   obtained a  degree in industrial relations and history in 1965. A year later, obtaining  a a postgraduate diploma in education. Between August 1966 and May 1970, he worked as a tutor for a Workers' Educational Association (WEA)

But barley  four years after graduating  at  the age of 28 he was elected for the  constituency of Bedwellty in Wales (later Islwyn) for the following general election. He was elected on 18 June 1970 and became a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party in October 1978

 He almost immediately began making a name for himself  by opposing devolution to Wales and Scotland . Labour government policy at the time was in favour of devolution for Wales, but the wider party was split. Calling himself a 'unionist', Kinnock was one of six south Wales Labour MPs to campaign against devolution on centralist, essentially British-nationalist grounds He dismissed the idea of a Welsh identity, saying that

"between the mid-sixteenth century and the mid-eighteenth century Wales had practically no history at all, and even before that it was the history of rural brigands who have been ennobled by being called princes"

.In the Wales referendum, 1979, the proposal for devolution was rejected.

In Scotland antii devolution MPs  had fixed the referendum special conditions on the referendum stipulating at  least 40% of the electorate would have to vote Yes in the referendum.

So although Scotland had voted yes 51.62% to 48.38% the referendum was considered lost.

Under the terms of the Act, the Act could then be repealed by a Statutory Instrument to be approved by Parliament. However, the government's decision to abandon devolution for Scotland led the Scottish National Party to withdraw its support for the government. A subsequent vote of no confidence led to the resignation of the Callaghan government, and an election was called

This led to Labour perpetuating the myth that the SNP  brought down the Callaghan government and let in Thatcher.

But the election had to ve called by October and the real people who brought in Thatcher were those Labour MPs  like Kinnock who fixed and campaigned against devolution.

If the devolution campaign had been won in Scotland alone then Labour may have gone on to win the 1979  election. But the loss give the impression of a failed government.

Kinnocks reward was to become leader of the Labour Party and face Thatcher over the Chamber but never defeating her. or her successor John Major.

So remember that one of the reasons that Thatcher came to power was that a Welsh MP put his own ambition over his own Nation and condemned it  it to years of poverty and deprivation.

1 comment:

  1. I'll never forgive Kinnock for what he did in 79.

    His hatred of 'Welshies' was more than his hatred of the Tories.

    Interestingly, the French state, taking a leaf out of Kinnock et al, inserted a similar threshold for the recent referendum on uniting the two Alsace departements to create one unified Alsace region which would have had some additinal powers. The French state said that at least 25% of the whole electorate had to vote yes (essentially giving the vote to dead people).

    The vote for an Alsace region was something like 63% in favour in one deparatement and 47% in favour in the other. So one voted against and one for, but it was close. However as the turn out was some 35% the vote wouldn't have been accepted in any case.

    As in the UK, the right wing (NF in France) and Left wing (communists with the socialists split) were against an Alcasian region. The one large french party which was in favour was the Gaullists if I'm correct.

    More (correct figures here)