An Important Matter of Principle The Decline of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
First published in 1999, this book examines the dramatic decline of the Conservative Party in Scotland. In 1955 the party secured over 50 per cent of the Scottish vote. At the last election it won a mere 17 per cent of the vote, losing its representation at Westminster in the process. But, until the publication of this work and despite its importance, relatively little was known about why the Conservative Party had declined so precipitously in Scotland. Many of the explanations for the party’s decline had largely remained untested. These included that the party had lost its Protestant base, suffered for its opposition to devolution and become too right wing for a normally progressive Scottish electorate. Using a unique collection of survey data, this work casts doubt on all three claims. Thus, this book makes a major academic contribution and examines, what for the Scottish Unionists, was An Important Matter of Principle.
1. Changes in Organisational Structure. 2. Factions and Tendencies. 3. Social Structure. 4. Religious Cleavage: An Elite/Mass Level Divide? 5. Religious Dealignment? 6. Devolution, a Scottish Card? 7. The Unionist Party. 8. The Imperial Factor. 9. Social Democratic Culture or the ‘Economy Stupid’? 10. The Scottish Press.
’...a fascinating and important study of the Scottish Conservatives. It challenges orthodox interpretations and offers new insights into the party’s decline. The accepted wisdom will have to be revised or, at least, refashioned following David Seawright’s work.’ Professor James Mitchell, author, 'Conservatives and the Union',