Scotland’s influence on UK Governments 1945-2010

I read this on a Facebook discussion and thought it was too good to go unshared. So, please forgive me Ross Allan, for not asking your first.

The 67 years since the end of World War 2 have seen 18 General Elections to the Westminster Parliament, with the following outcomes (sources below):

– on ONE occasion (1964) Scottish MPs have turned what would have been a Conservative government into a Labour one. The Tory majority without Scottish votes would have been just one MP (280 vs 279), and as such useless in practice. The Labour government, with an almost equally feeble majority of 4, lasted just 18 months and a Tory one would probably have collapsed even faster.

– on ONE occasion (the second of the two 1974 elections) Scottish MPs gave Labour a wafer-thin majority (319 vs 316) they wouldn’t have had from the rest of the UK alone, although they’d still have been the largest party and able to command a majority in a pact with the Liberals, as they eventually did in reality.

– and on ONE occasion (2010) the presence of Scottish MPs has deprived the Conservatives of an outright majority, although the Conservatives ended up in control of the government anyway in coalition with the Lib Dems when Labour refused to co-operate with other parties in a “rainbow alliance”.

– which means that for 65 of the last 67 years, Scottish MPs as an entity have had no practical influence over the composition of the UK government. From a high of 72 MPs in 1983, Scotland’s representation will by 2015 have decreased to 52, substantially reducing any future possibility of affecting a change.

The simple reality of the matter, established indisputably and unambiguously by these stats, is that England and the rest of the UK are and always have been perfectly capable of electing a Labour government if they want one, whatever Scotland does.

The truth is that Labour doesn’t need Scottish MPs, and an independent Scotland would NOT give the Tories a permanent majority in the remnant UK. Those are the facts, and voters should be deeply mistrustful of anyone who tells them anything else.


1945 Labour govt (Attlee)


Labour majority: 146

Labour majority without any Scottish MPs in Parliament: 143



1950 Labour govt (Attlee)


Labour majority: 5

Without Scottish MPs: 2



1951 Conservative govt (Churchill/Eden)


Conservative majority: 17

Without Scottish MPs: 16



1955 Conservative govt (Eden/Macmillan)


Conservative majority: 60

Without Scottish MPs: 61



1959 Conservative govt (Macmillan/Douglas-Home)


Conservative majority: 100

Without Scottish MPs: 109



1964 Labour govt (Wilson)


Labour majority: 4

Without Scottish MPs: -11


(Con 280, Lab 274, Lib 5)


1966 Labour govt (Wilson)


Labour majority: 98

Without Scottish MPs: 77



1970 Conservative govt (Heath)


Conservative majority: 30

Without Scottish MPs: 55



1974 Minority Labour govt (Wilson)


Labour majority: -33

Without Scottish MPs: -42


(Without Scots: Con 276, Lab 261, Lib 11, Others 16)


1974b Labour govt (Wilson/Callaghan)


Labour majority: 3

Without Scottish MPs: -8


(Lab 278 Con 261 Lib 10 others 15)


1979 Conservative govt (Thatcher)


Conservative majority: 43

Without Scottish MPs: 70



1983 Conservative govt (Thatcher)


Conservative majority: 144

Without Scottish MPs: 174



1987 Conservative govt (Thatcher/Major)


Conservative majority: 102

Without Scottish MPs: 154



1992 Conservative govt (Major)


Conservative majority: 21

Without Scottish MPs: 71



1997 Labour govt (Blair)


Labour majority: 179

Without Scottish MPs: 139



2001 Labour govt (Blair)


Labour majority: 167

Without Scottish MPs: 129



2005 Labour govt (Blair/Brown)


Labour majority: 66

Without Scottish MPs: 43



2010 Coalition govt (Cameron)


Conservative majority: -38

Without Scottish MPs: 19




About Hugh Wallace

Soldier, sailor, policeman, engineer, scientist, democrat, socialist, environmentalist, advocate of Scottish Independence
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10 Responses to Scotland’s influence on UK Governments 1945-2010

  1. Stuart Clark says:

    NOT all Scotland votes Labour

    as has been pointed out numerous times

    If you take the number of MPS , the Labour MPS have an unfair as there share of the vote refects in an imbalance of MPS

    in 2010 1000 035 Scots voted LAb and got 43 MPS

    yet 465k Scots vote Libe and got 11 MPS

    50% of the vote and only 25% of the MPS

    Its worse with the conservative party
    416k Scots voted Tory in 2010 and only one MP

    So basicly the 4 million Scots in the elctroater and the 2.4 million of those that actually vote , are represented by 43 MPS that only 25% of the elcetorate voted for

    Going back to 1979 , 32% of Scots voted for MAggie , 922k , yet we only got 22 MPS

    yet 1,1 million voted LAb and got 44 MPS

    The 880k Scots who voted Tory and Liberal in 2010 , would have no chance of forming a govt , if we did not have a UK wide system , as they would alwasys be outvoted by the Labour party

    (with its advantade in first past the post )

    Incidentally thats teh reaosn Scotland was not independent 50 years ago , if the UK did not appeal to so many in Scotland that dont get properly represented , then their would have been a split years ago

    880k Scots voted Lib or Tory in 2010 , 922 K Scots voted LAb , in 2005 , both groups got a share in govt


    • Hugh Wallace says:

      You are completely correct Stuart. Independence, and a proportional representation system of government, allows these unheard voices in Scottish politics to emerge. Approximately 75% of registered voters in Scotland do not vote for Labour yet they returned 71% of the MPs to Westminster in 2010. The system is broken; independence allows us to fix it.


  2. Stuart Clark says:

    Thats true HUgh , But the YES side are cherry picking stas to suit themselves ( as both sides do off course )

    The principal tenet of INdy is “Scots get the Govt Scots vote for ”

    if this were true the last 50 years , then 40% of Scots who vote LAB , would have a permanent hegemony with 705 of the MPS

    it also fuels the fire that “Scots are naturally left wing ”

    Indeed they do vote for left leaning parties , but the swing is not pronounced (say 10%)

    And belies the amount of Scots who vote for centrist ideas

    New LAB did not change because of SE England , there are 66% of properties in Scotland owner ocuupied , Scots took up “right to buy ” more than any other part of the UK

    950k Scots voted for MAggie , and her Trade Union reforming , council hosue buying , 1979 deal .

    admittedly after the Miners striike in the 1987 election the Tory vote dropped 20%

    And that brings us to the crux of everything . the complete Victory by Maggie and her reforms , her humilation of the left , and a more than justified sense that it was spiteful and vindictive .

    It getting intense nwo Hugh , here s a quote from my favourite book , it sums up the time we are in

    “Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes — a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”


    • Hugh Wallace says:

      I’m not quite sure what your point is Stuart. None of what you have written is in any way an argument against Scottish independence. Unless what you are trying to say is that Scots are as horrible and nasty as everyone else so we should remain in the UK with all the other horrible and nasty people?


  3. Stuart Clark says:

    Scotland’s influence on UK Governments 1945-2010

    Hi Hugh

    Your Thread title is

    Scotland’s influence on UK Governments 1945-2010
    and you go on to provide evidence supporting the idea that the Scottish vote has little influence at Westminster (over the last 60 years you mention )

    Your preferred data sample for this is the number of MPS

    By Your use of the Numbe rof MPS elected in Scotland your argument holds water


    my point is that “number of MPS ” is not the only way to interpret data

    I prefer to use actual votes cast

    And I mention the vagaries of the FPP system ,, and the statistical anomaly that

    922 k Scots voted in 2005 and formed a Govt (in the UK ) and this is considered democracy by your rational


    880k Scots voted for coalition parties in 2010 , and also got a share in Govt , yet they only garnered 25% of the MPS the other side did , with a 30k shortfall in the vote

    By highlighting one anomaly of recent times , I prove their is a flaw in your method of basing things on number of MPS

    by raising reasonable doubt , i can question the foregoing 60 years of GE that you refer to

    I was showing these figures to a young YES supporter , yesterday , in a very friendly way , and he did not believe the stats !


  4. Hugh Wallace says:

    You may prefer to use the number of votes cast but the only relevant figure are the number of seats gained and the influence they have on the UK parliament.

    You are completely correct to say that the number of seats gained does not reflect the Scottish population’s actual democratic will, hence my point that your statements actually are quite a strong argument in favour of Scottish independence.


    • Stuart Clark says:

      “You may prefer to use the number of votes cast but the only relevant figure are the number of seats gained and the influence they have on the UK parliament”

      The only party in Scotland with an antipathy to the UK parliamen tis the SNP , and they elect 6 MPS

      The Labour MPS owe allegaince to the British Labour party , they identify social refom as a pressing need and take a broad view of the UK

      they recognise that though there is poverty in Scotland , it is also prevalent over the whole UK , and those in greatest need get priorty , not those who live inside a particular border

      A Scottish Conservative or a Liberal , with a small business , a self relaint person , who works and pays tax regardless , may not approve of Govt Largesse ,prefferring a low tax environement , and a pay as you go attitude to things like bridge tolls , dental appointments etc

      Well if “Scotland had got the Govt it voted for every time in the last 60 years ”

      and The Labour party would be incumbent

      The Liberals and Tories being not an inconsderable size (say 35% )

      Will never get a chance to have their views expressed , as the people who put in more thna they take out , will alwasy be a minorty .

      Yet in a large democracy like the UK , all the Tories and Libs , can reach out and unite with similar minded folk , in Merseyside , and Bristol

      And democracy can see to it that Govt are roatate dand a broad sweep of the popn gets crack , over the decades

      True with prop rep in an indy Scotland you will defintely see a resurgence in right wing politics

      Scots may not be able to vote Tory by the connotataions ,

      I have a freind these last 15 years , a YES Supporter , you knwo usual story , bought his council house in Livingston 30 years ago , sold , traded moved up , now he has a lovely family , 2 cars , an acre of lof garden , and a big house .

      he is very left wing , “Free Tuition , Free NHS , ” “Free Bridge tolls ” , “He;ll never be a Tory ”

      yet . local kids were out playing and he was apoplectic about them “Trespassing on HIS LAND ”

      Neighbour was pruning a boundary hedge , “This is mine ! ” and the gates are on the padlocks everywhere

      I keep on meaning to drop a copy of “Animal Farm ” down for him to read

      Do left wing ideas only go in one direction ?
      or has he got corrupted by the consumer society ?


      • Hugh Wallace says:

        Stuart, this is pointless. The SNP received a mandate to call this referendum because they returned an outright majority – under proportional representation where it wasn’t supposed to happen – to govern within Scotland. Their manifesto pledge was to offer this referendum to the Scottish people and had they not done so they would have failed to live up to their own pledge and raison d’etre. EVERYONE who voted for them in 2011 knew they were voting for the party who’s primary purpose is independence for Scotland.

        We will all find out on the 19th what the Scottish people think about the choice offered to them but for you to keep on protesting about the fact that the vote has even been called is looking increasingly pathetic.


      • Stuart Clark says:

        Am not protesting about the vote HUGH , never have

        I think you may have me confused with some other online converstaion you have going

        My principal protests throught the weeks we have been discussing are

        the Statements by Alex Salmond (and every yes Supporter )

        “Scotland does not get the Govts it votes for ”

        I have disproven this or at least raised reasonable doubt as my work on the voting figures in the GE 2005 and 2010 shows .


        “Tories are an irrelvanc ein Scotland ” “More Pandas than Tories ”


        I disprove that by using the figure sof the peopel who actually vote , and demonstrating that it is a calculated attempt to beliitle the Tory voters in Scotland ,

        At no time to I ever compare Holyrood elctions or analyse them , Holyrood , cannot be compared to a GE , as it is a completely differnt system and each person gets two votes

        Interstingly enough I take next to zero interest in Politics , (Even though i alwasy vote in Council , Ge , Euro , and Scottish elections , as I see it a a duty in respect of those who died to get us a vote .)

        it was only in 2012 that I got involved in thsi debate , as it transcends politics , and knwo , i neve rrealsied the SNP stood on the referendum promise in their manifesto , I was not aware of it , but since I dont vote for them anyway . thats not their fault

        No this debate is necessary Hugh , the very fact that the whole country is now so animated about it is really testimony to the necessity of it all , it s a chance to clear the air , a catharis



      • Hugh Wallace says:

        Ok, you are delighted this referendum is taking place. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

        You are quite right that the Tories are belittled in Scotland. And that their true support is not represented in Scottish politics as per Westminster. So what? Whatever way you look at it you can show that the UK government rarely, if ever, represents the democratic will of the Scottish people.

        The point I was making was that the Scottish vote – as measured by the system we have in place – rarely influences the outcome of UK government elections, regardless of whether or not the UK government is Tory or Labour. As far as the UK political sphere is concerned, Scotland is irrelevant in terms of its democratic voice and is only relevant in terms of the income it represents to the UK treasury.

        Some of us want to have a government that considers our democratic voice to have relevance.

        That is the only conversation I am having right now.


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