By Alexander Smith
in representation. The fabric outcomes of this problem integrated losses of economic and different assets, legitimacy and native wisdom for the Scottish Conservatives.
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Extra info for Devolution and the Scottish Conservatives: Banal Activism, Electioneering and the Politics of Irrelevance
2 A Tory-free Scotland Pierre Bourdieu once described parliamentary democracy as a struggle in which the most important agents – political parties – are engaged ‘in a sublimated form of civil war’ (1991: 181). Taking up this metaphor, I would suggest that when I began my fieldwork in September 2001, Dumfries and Galloway resembled a political battlefield which the Conservative Party could be said to have vacated. What eventually made the Scottish Conservatives of potential ethnographic Â�interest to me was exactly this apparent absence: the fact that the Scottish Tory was, so to speak, ‘lesser spotted’.
I once witnessed an exchange between the former Election Agent for the Dumfries constituency Molly Wilson and a key Party strategist. Sitting at a large table in the Conservative Party office in Castle Street, Dumfries, Ms Wilson was opening envelopes containing survey responses when she said to the two or three other activists present: You know, I just don’t understand it. Why did Dumfries go Labour [in 1997]? I mean, even in the 1970s, when Galloway went Scottish Nationalist, we kept hold of Dumfries.
To split Dumfriesâ•–…â•–We are a Royal Burgh. We grew from the Vennel through the High Street, expanded out to Kingholm, Heathhall and Locharbriggs. We have a population of 40,000 and we are a community. Now they want to split us up. We have to fight this all the way. (Dumfries and Galloway Standard, 15 February 2002) In ‘Battle lines drawn in political protest’, which appeared above this story in the top right-hand corner of the page, the leader of the Conservative councillors, Allan Wright, pointed out that 64% of the residents living within the proposed new PCA constituency would, in fact, be living in Dumfriesshire.
Devolution and the Scottish Conservatives: Banal Activism, Electioneering and the Politics of Irrelevance by Alexander Smith