Monday, August 28, 2017

Conservative Glasgow


A brief search of the Socialist Courier archives would reveal that it has been critical of the traditional depictions of Red Clydeside's "revolutionary" image. Unfortunately, it has made us bed-fellows of the Conservative historian, Michael Fry.

Glasgow's radical histoy has been exaggerated, he argues, in his latest work, 'Glasgow: A History of the City.'
“There has been a lot of attention to the working class history of Glasgow. I don’t accept that these interpretations work. Before the 20th century there weren’t all that many strikes and there wasn't that much industrial unrest. The main aim of the working class in the 19th century was respectability. They wanted to work their way up in society: learn a trade, establish a secure family and home. These people were often regular churchgoers. There were rigid demarcations against the great unwashed – it took an apprenticeship of several years to be accepted into the craft. It was all an industrial and social structure that established respectability.”
Indeed contemporary photographs of the "militant" engineers show well-dressed bowler-hatted skilled engineers rather than being clad in caps and overalls. 
 Fry says “The working class Tory vote lasted in Glasgow until the 1950s, a sign of that older tradition. Govan had a Tory MP in 1955.”
He describes Glasgow as a “ very puritanical city."

1 comment:

Matthew Culbert said...

The older 'tradition' he refers to was cultivated and rooted in bigotry and sectarianism. It is still a fertile soil for cultivation by power seeking political self servers.