Dispelling Doonhamers: naming and the numbers game

Alexander Thomas T. Smith

in Devolution and the Scottish Conservatives

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780719079696
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703052 | DOI:
Dispelling Doonhamers: naming and the numbers game

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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

Chapter.  7259 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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