The Bulletin, ‘Londonisation’ and Scottish politics in the 1940s and 1950s

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This article seeks to examine Scottish politics in the decade or so following the Second World War. The objective is to uncover the texture of Scottish politics in a period that has been characterised rather simplistically. Much of the evidence for the paper is drawn from the Scottish popular press, most notably newspapers such as the Bulletin, which was a Glasgow publication with a Unionist outlook, motivated by a concern to keep Scottish issues to the fore and to resist centralisation. The article will examine the way in which common interpretations of this period in Scottish politics as being one dominated by a unionism that was common to the main parties, serves to flatten what was an interesting and contested landscape. There is a considerable literature on this period in British historiography that engages in a debate about the value of the idea of ‘consensus’ in British politics. The apparent consensus over the Union hid a range of important debates about the way in which the Union ought to operate that were of such an extent to bring the idea of a unionist consensus into question. Given that the SNP was such a marginal force in Scottish politics in this period, it seems more sensible to focus on the debates about the meaning of the Union rather than to adopt an existential focus that was simply not present in day-to-day political debate in the decade following the Second World War
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Scottish Historical Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Mar 2023

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