Isobel Lindsay: Comparing the 1979 and 2014 referendums
COMMENT: Isobel Lindsay of Women for Independence looks back at the 1979 devolution referendum, and compares the build-up to the vote with the current referendum campaign.
Lindsay’s article is the latest in a series of Scotsman referendum essays.
Sometimes you can feel politics is on the move. That was certainly the case in the three months leading up to the 1979 referendum. In the autumn it still looked as if there would be a comfortable majority for a Yes vote. It was what the polls had indicated. It was the official position of the Labour Party, the SNP, the Liberals and the STUC.
At institutional level only the Tories and business organisations were opposed. Most of the Scottish press in terms of readership were in the Yes camp. The main anxiety was whether turnout would be sufficiently high to ensure the vote would pass the 40 per cent threshold of registered voters, the requirement of a backbench amendment.
But despite all the factors which should have produced a strong campaign and an easy win, you could sense the public mood slipping away.