In this article it is argued that everyday processes and rituals entrenched political identities in post-reform political culture. The intensification of formal party allegiances—that is, deep and enduring loyalties towards factions within the established partisan structure—was not solely a result of ideology. Allegiances were also strengthened by the local activities of parties and by the infrastructure enhanced (and to an extent imported) by the Scottish Reform Act. These two factors reinforced each other, encouraging a vibrant, and at times violent, set of election rituals. From particular analysis of the constituency of Roxburghshire, it is clear that local party organisations were more autonomous, flexible and deeply rooted in broader society than might be assumed. Moreover, the rituals and processes of electioneering were very closely linked to formal parties and party allegiance. Indeed, the phenomenon of electoral violence, thus far assumed to be practically non-existent in Scotland, was closely related to election rituals and parties. This all suggests that formal partisan identities were more developed, and at an earlier stage, in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK. These identities would go on to play a notable role in shaping the development of mid- and late Victorian Scottish society.
- 19th century