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Thatcherism and the Scottish question

Mitchell, James and Bennie, L (1996) Thatcherism and the Scottish question. British Elections and Parties Yearbook. pp. 90-104.

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The decline of the Conservatives in Scotland has been remarkable. From its peak in 1955 when the party won 50.1 per cent of the vote the party's support has ebbed away. Elections in 1970, 1979 and 1992 saw slight improvements on previous election performances but did not interrupt the long-term decline of the party. This article deals with Thatcherism and the Scottish Question. By bringing together ideas drawn from literature on Thatcherism and the Scottish Question it is hoped to shed some light on both. The focus is on Thatcherism and anti-Thatcherism as social movements, rather than on the parties. The article begins with a discussion of the debate on Thatcherism and proceeds to consider the Scottish dimension in British politics before analysing the relationship between the two using public opinion surveys and election data. The aim is to consider whether Thatcherism in some sense helps explain attitudes towards Scotland's constitutional status.