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Title: West of Scotland industrial and commercial elites and their social, political and economic influence in the inter-war years
Author: Mackenzie, Angus
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2013
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Scotland struggled to come to terms with the collapse in the heavy industries in the early 1920s and the prolonged period of economic dislocation which followed. The pervasive sense that this was a nation in decline sapped self-confidence. This thesis examines the response of the leading West of Scotland industrialists to the extended inter-war trade depression. Focusing on their championing of a series of self-help initiatives firmly rooted in Scotland itself, the thesis reimagines Graeme Morton’s work on Unionist Nationalism for the more challenging conditions of 1930s Scotland, introducing a much stronger economic dimension to Morton’s original argument. Echoing Morton, the rationalisation of the staple industries and the creation of new institutions to aid recovery owed much to the associational culture of West of Scotland business. The Scottish National Development Council and the Scottish Economic Committee - two significant stepping-stones in the rise of corporatist planning - represented a confident assertion of a distinctly Scottish voice and provided a link between business and the increasingly autonomous Scottish Office. The explicit articulation of a Scottish national interest within the parameters of the existing union and imperial relationships sat easily with the progressive, pro-statist views of many inter-war Unionists, helping to consolidate the consensus within ‘middle opinion’. The thesis focuses on the actions of a trio of West of Scotland industrialists: Lord Weir of Eastwood, Sir James Lithgow and Sir Steven Bilsland. It will be suggested that their advocacy of Scottish solutions for Scottish problems represents a more muscular and far-reaching economic Unionist Nationalism which transcends the narrow vision of Morton’s nineteenth century urban Scotland, but also questions Colin Kidd’s dismissal of early twentieth century unionism as ‘banal’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain ; HC Economic History and Conditions