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Devolution and the Scottish ConservativesBanal Activism, Electioneering and the Politics of Irrelevance$
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Alexander Smith

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719079696

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719079696.001.0001

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Dispelling Doonhamers: naming and the numbers game

Dispelling Doonhamers: naming and the numbers game

(p.37) 3 Dispelling Doonhamers: naming and the numbers game
Devolution and the Scottish Conservatives

Alexander Thomas T. Smith

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines the evidence presented to a public inquiry convened in November 2002 during the Fifth Periodic Review of Parliamentary Boundaries in Scotland, exploring the political struggle between local Tories and their opponents over an apparently banal form: electoral boundaries. Although this inquiry concerned proposals to redraw Westminster constituencies that would otherwise have had little (if any) impact on elections to local government and the Scottish Parliament, it became a major focus for political activists in the months prior to the Scottish Parliament elections. Local Labour Party activists and their allies, for instance, feared that through the Boundary Commission's strict application of the electoral quota, or by playing ‘the numbers game’, an identity neatly encapsulated in the name attributed to natives of Dumfries (Doonhamers) would be lost. The chapter goes on to ask what activists in the region meant when they described a proposed new parliamentary constituency in southern Scotland as ‘a hybrid unit’ made up of disparate parts that did not belong to the whole.

Keywords:   Scotland, public inquiry, Tories, Scottish Parliament, elections, Labour Party, political activists, Dumfries, electoral boundaries, parliamentary constituency

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