The radical thread : political change in Scotland : Paisley politics 1885-1924
This is a study of the transition of the political community of Paisley in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century, from one dominated by industrial paternalism and local Liberal Party hierarchies to one in which deferential modes of electoral behaviour had broken down. It questions many historiographical conventions and orthodoxies regarding the rise of' the Labour Party in Scotland and, by focussing on the language of political discourse, seeks to highlight an important historical continuum in the evolutlon of challenges to Liberal dominInance from both 'left' and 'right' in the form of locally defined Radical Tradition. Through the extensive use of the local press, company records records and trade union and party minutes, the study considers political change in its wider economic, industrial and cultural context, developing a theory of political change which reaches out to an appreciation of how 'community' forms determined both the pace and character of change. Beyond this, however, changes in Paisley are further considered in their national context. Through the use of national party archives, the collected papers of prominant political leaders and parrliamentarians and a wide variety of secondary sources, a picture of Paisley as a community which, whilst following many, national trends, proved locked in nineeteenth-century patterns of status politics far longer than comparable Scottish burghs and Engiish cotIon towns. The analysis of the evolution of political change, as presented in this study, moves bevond conventional class-based models of party politics to an appreciation of the totality of the political experience as the product of the continual re-definition of popular political traditions, and in this case, the emergence of new strands in a Radical thread.