Conservatives and the changing meaning of union

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The process of nation-building depends upon the nature of the state which
has been established. The union of Scotland and England created a union
rather than a unitary state, one which permitted some degr ee of
distinctiveness to its components, and consequently the nature of nationbuilding has reflected these origins. During the twentieth century, the
Conservatives were the party of the union state. However, under Mrs
Thatcher a shift occurred in the party's understanding of the nature of the
union. This was reflected in its responses to Scottish demands. The
literature on 'Thatcherism' helps us to understand the changes but alerts us
to the variety of different explanations that exist under that heading. In some
respects, since John Major became party leader there has been a reassertion
of the traditional Conservative position but the Thatcherite legacy remains
evident. This discussion of the changing interpretation of the union and
responses to Scottish demands in Conservative thinking contributes to our
understanding of the process of nation-building, debates on responses to
regional assertion and the nature of Thatcherism.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)30-44
Number of pages15
JournalRegional & Federal Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Scotland
  • conservative party
  • Scottish independence
  • thatcherism
  • British Union

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