The question of Scotland's constitutional status within the United Kingdom grew in importance during the 18 years between 1979 and 1997, a period of uninterrupted Conservative government. Our discussion of this period is located, firstly, within the framework of social cleavages discussed in Chapter 1. In addition, the position of each of the parties and their responses to pressures for change are considered and the process which led to another referendum being held on the issue is analysed. The experience of 1979 made home rulers suspicious of the device and in the 1990s opponents of devolution proposed a referendum as a means of attempting to stall the establishment of a Scottish Parliament. It is easy to understand, therefore, why supporters of a Scottish Parliament were seriously concerned when, in 1996, the Labour Party under Tony Blair's leadership proposed holding another referendum. As we shall see, however, the circumstances which led to this proposal were significantly different from those which had led to the first referendum.