Resisting labour: Unionists, liberals, and moderates in Glasgow between the wars



Smyth J (2003) Resisting labour: Unionists, liberals, and moderates in Glasgow between the wars. Historical Journal, 46 (2), pp. 375-401.

This article examines the co-operation between unionists and liberals in inter-war Glasgow. As with the parliamentary challenge of labour, unionists and liberals were confronted at the local level also. The usual response was some sort of municipal alliance or pact. In Scotland, where unionist support for continuing links with liberals was particularly pronounced, this took the form of specific ‘moderate’ parties created to contest local elections. This strategy was markedly successful in keeping labour out of office. The moderates secured their majority in Glasgow by completely dominating the middle-class wards and winning a number of working-class seats. Moderate success is examined through the essential unity of the middle-class vote, the more limited local franchise, and religious sectarianism. However, it became increasingly difficult for the moderates to satisfy both their middle-class and working-class supporters. The sudden emergence of a militant protestant party in the depths of the depression provided a temporary vehicle of protest, which split the moderate vote and allowed labour in to power in 1933.

; Labour Party (Scotland); Glasgow (Scotland) Politics and government 20th century; Political parties Scotland History 20th century; Local elections Glasgow (Scotland; Scotland Politics and government 20th century

Historical Journal: Volume 46, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2003
Publication date online08/07/2003
PublisherCambridge University Press

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Dr James Smyth

Dr James Smyth

Senior Lecturer, History