T O R Y H I S T O R Y 117
Tory history: Thomas Salmon’s
The popularity of Rapin’s Histoire ensured that it generated a large
number of responses from other historians. Indeed, both Thomas
Salmon’s Modern History (1724–38), the subject of this chapter, and
Thomas Carte’s General History (1747–55), the subject of the next,
provided direct attacks on Rapin’s account. However, whereas Rapin
had shown little interest in contemporary debates about public credit,
Salmon’s and Carte’s analyses were structured around criticisms of
the system of
A Tory-free Scotland
Pierre Bourdieu once described parliamentary democracy as a struggle in which
the most important agents – political parties – are engaged ‘in a sublimated form
of civil war’ (1991: 181). Taking up this metaphor, I would suggest that when I
began my fieldwork in September 2001, Dumfries and Galloway resembled a
political battlefield which the Conservative Party could be said to have vacated.
What eventually made the Scottish Conservatives of potential ethnographic
interest to me was exactly this apparent absence: the fact that the Scottish
Return of the lesser-spotted Tory
‘Politics has changed and politics is changing.’ (South of Scotland Conservative
MSP Alex Fergusson, addressing local Tory Party activists in February 2003)
In this chapter I will briefly sketch some of the incidents that took place in the
aftermath of the 2003 elections to ask whether local Conservatives had successfully addressed their crisis of irrelevance. One question with which senior Tories
sought to grapple was what, if anything, had changed as a result of their campaign? With much resting on the reading of a letter
‘Where the Tories rule’: Geoffrey Bing MP
The subject of this chapter is the pamphlet, John Bull’s other Ireland,
written by the Labour MP, Geoffrey Bing, KC, and published in 1950 by
the British left-wing Labour newspaper, Tribune. At first glance it looks
very like the kind of literature that was being produced by the contemporary Irish Anti-Partition League (APL), but actually Bing was not an
Irish nationalist. The pamphlet reveals some of the subtleties in the relationship of British socialists to Irish issues.
It opens with the
This book is an ethnographic study of devolution and politics in Scotland, as well as of party-political activism more generally. It explores how Conservative Party activists who had opposed devolution and the movement for a Scottish Parliament during the 1990s attempted to mobilise politically following their annihilation at the 1997 General Election. The book draws on fieldwork conducted in Dumfries and Galloway – a former stronghold for the Scottish Tories – to describe how senior Conservatives worked from the assumption that they had endured their own ‘crisis’ in representation. The material consequences of this crisis included losses of financial and other resources, legitimacy and local knowledge for the Scottish Conservatives. The book ethnographically describes the processes, practices and relationships that Tory Party activists sought to enact during the 2003 Scottish and local government elections. Its central argument is that, having asserted that the difficulties they faced constituted problems of knowledge, Conservative activists cast to the geographical and institutional margins of Scotland became ‘banal’ activists. Believing themselves to be lacking in the data and information necessary for successful mobilisation during Parliamentary elections, local Tory Party strategists attempted to address their knowledge ‘crisis’ by burying themselves in paperwork and petty bureaucracy. Such practices have often escaped scholarly attention because they appear everyday and mundane, and are therefore less noticeable. Bringing them into view analytically has important implications for socio-cultural anthropologists, sociologists and other scholars interested in ‘new’ ethnographic objects, including activism, bureaucracy, democracy, elections and modern knowledge practices.
This article addresses three topics. It describes Chartisms creation of a
‘peoples history’ as an alternative to middle-class history, whether Whig or
Tory. It locates the sources, most of which have not been noticed before, for
the Chartist narrative of the English Reformation. William Cobbetts
reinterpretation of the English Reformation is well known as a source for the
working-class narrative; William Howitts much less familiar but more important
source, antedating Cobbetts History of the Protestant Reformation in
England, is used for the first time. The article reconstructs that
narrative using printed and manuscript lectures and published interpretations
dating from the first discussions of the Peoples Charter in 1836 to the last
Chartist Convention in 1858. The manuscript lectures of Thomas Cooper are an
essential but little-used source. The article contributes to historical
understanding of the intellectual life of the English working class.
The role of the Home Office in the Peterloo Massacre remains contentious. This
article assesses the available evidence from the Home Office and the private
correspondence of Home Secretary Viscount Sidmouth to contest E. P.
Thompson’s claim that the Home Office ‘assented’ to the
arrest of Henry Hunt at St Peter’s Fields. Peterloo is placed within the
context of government’s response to political radicalism to show how the
Tory ministry had no clear counter-radical strategy in the months leading up to
the August event. The article further argues that although the Home Office may
not have assented to forceful intervention on the day, the event and its
aftermath were needed to justify the Six Acts which would ultimately cripple the
The eighteenth century was long deemed ‘the classical age of the constitution’ in Britain, with cabinet government based on a two-party system of Whigs and Tories in Parliament, and a monarchy whose powers had been emasculated by the Glorious Revolution of 1688–1689. This study furthers the work of Sir Lewis Namier, who, in 1929, argued that no such party system existed, George III was not a cypher, and that Parliament was an administration composed of factions and opposition. George III is a high-profile and well-known character in British history, whose policies have often been blamed for the loss of Britain's American colonies, around whom rages a perennial dispute over his aims: was he seeking to restore royal power or merely exercising his constitutional rights? This is a chronological survey of the first ten years of his reign through power politics and policy making.
The product of forty years of research by one of the foremost historians of Jacobitism, this book is a comprehensive revision of Professor Szechi’s popular 1994 survey of the Jacobite movement in the British Isles and Europe. Like the first edition, it is undergraduate-friendly, providing an enhanced chronology, a convenient introduction to the historiography and a narrative of the history of Jacobitism, alongside topics specifically designed to engage student interest. This includes Jacobitism as a uniting force among the pirates of the Caribbean and as a key element in sustaining Irish peasant resistance to English imperial rule. As the only comprehensive introduction to the field, the book will be essential reading for all those interested in early modern British and European politics.