Thatcherism and the Scottish question

James Mitchell, L Bennie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-104
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Elections and Parties Yearbook
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • thatcherism
  • Scottish independence
  • devolution
  • constitutional change
  • Scottish Parliament


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