The politics of irrelevance

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:
The politics of irrelevance

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This chapter focuses on the apparent ‘crisis’ of irrelevance for the Conservative Party of Scotland, and, in particular, describes the ways in which Tory activists used press releases and letters to local newspapers to campaign on a set of seemingly ‘banal’ local issues. These included opposition to the closure of a local car park, increases in Council Tax and the removal of a roundabout at a busy intersection in Dumfries. The chapter suggests that Conservative activists were often less interested in the content of such issues than they were in problems of form. Local Tories became focused more on logistical and organisational questions – that is, activist methodology in the production of In Touch leaflets, press releases and letters to the editor – than on the issues which formed the content of their election campaign. These instruments were treated as if they were capable of generating electoral effects. Scottish Conservatives hoped that this would be achieved through the promotion of a ‘professional-looking’ campaign which would register in the memories of even the most casual and disinterested of observers.

Keywords: Scotland; Conservative Party; press releases; letters; Council Tax; leaflets; Dumfries; election campaign; Tories; crisis of irrelevance

Chapter.  10941 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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