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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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Return of the lesser-spotted Tory

Return of the lesser-spotted Tory

(p.125) 8 Return of the lesser-spotted Tory
Devolution and the Scottish Conservatives

Alexander Thomas T. Smith

Manchester University Press

This chapter briefly sketches some of the incidents that took place in the aftermath of the 2003 elections in Scotland and examines whether the local Conservative Party had successfully addressed its crisis of irrelevance. The grounds on which activists made judgements about their own knowledge of local politics remained sketchy and uncertain. Senior Tories had to work hard at making political ‘change’ appear, locally and nationally. The chapter discusses the Tories' election campaign, along with banal activism and ethnography. The predicament with which the lesser-spotted Tory continues to be confronted confounds straightforward portrayals of contemporary Scottish politics. In Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Conservatives continue to face uncertainties and anxieties about the future. However, the sense of organisation that members of the Core Campaign Team achieved in 2003 gave many local Tories a new ‘spring in their step’, so to speak. It was with a feeling of optimism that they were able to approach a future in which they could now imagine one day winning the Dumfries constituency ‘back’ from the Labour Party.

Keywords:   Scotland, Conservative Party, elections, politics, crisis of irrelevance, election campaign, banal activism, ethnography, Dumfries, Galloway

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