Electors' Attitudes towards Local Government: A Survey of a Glasgow Constituency

AuthorIan Budge
Date01 October 1965
DOI10.1111/j.1467-9248.1965.tb00381.x
Published date01 October 1965
Subject MatterNotes and Review Articles
386
NOTES AND
REVIEW
ARTICLES
ELECTORS' ATTITUDES
TOWARDS LOCAL GOVERNMENT:
A
SURVEY
OF
A GLASGOW CONSTITUENCY
IAN
BUDGE
University
of
Strathclyde
I
THIS note presents
data
on two topics: the political behaviour
of
Scottish electors and the
general attitudes of electors to
local
government. The attitude
of
electors to
local
government
is
beginning to receive increased attention in Britain.' The study of Scottish politics has been
neglected, and this
is
regrettable, if only for the fact that it could provide
a
severe test for the
common assumption that political attitudes and behaviour are fairly uniform throughout the
urban areas of the United Kingdom.*
The data form the
results
of
a
sample survey of Cathcart-one of Glasgow's Parliamentary
constituencies-commissioned
in May
1964
from the market research firm
of
Alexander Howie
and Associates by the. Department
of
Politics
of
the University of Strathclyde.
The parliamentary constituency of Cathcart contains two municipal wards (Cathcart and
Langside) and part of
a
third (Govanhill). Interviewing for the survey was carried out during
the fortnight after the
local
elections
of
5
May
1964.
The municipal campaign itself was
uneventful, in spite of the exotic
labels
under which candidates in various parts
of
the city
stood.
Carrying on Glasgow's colourful political traditions were Scottish Nationalist, Com-
munist, Independent Progressive, Scottish Social Credit, Socialist Party
of
Great Britain,
Modem Labour Party and Liberal candidates, besides the dominant Progressives and
Labour.
The Progressives form
a
local municipal party which professes much the
same
philosophy and
policy as the Unionists advocate at the Scottish level-the Unionists participate in
local
politics
under their
own
party label in only one or two Scottish burghs, and not in Glasgow.
'Unionist' in
turn
is
the title Conservatives still
use
North of the Border. The Scottish Social
Credit Party does not appear to have any links with its Canadian namesake.
Candidates in the Cathcart wards covered a narrower political spectrum: Progressive,
Labour, Communist, and Scottish Social Credit.
The election in the city as a whole resulted in the capture of one seat by each major party from
the other. The seat captured by Labour was in Govanhill, part of which lies within the Cath-
cart Parliamentary constituency. Otherwise there was no change. Turnout in the city
as
a
whole stood at
38.29
per Cent of the registered electorate. Cathcart ward itself had
a
turnout of
45.19
per cent, Langside Ward
43.74,
and Govanhill
43.38.
The wards with which we are
dealing therefore had on average a higher turnout than that of the city as
a
whole.
Thc Cathcart constituency lies south of the river Clyde. The district contains the main types
of
housing to be found in Glasgow. In the part of Govanhill contained within the constituency
are
to
be
found the tenements of the working class: Laagside contains stone-built villas-
many
of
them flatted-and much private housing
of
the inter-war period. Cathcart ward itself
runs the gamut from large detached villas
to
the multi-storey flats of the large Castlemilk
council estate. The constituency thus contains in itself the typical architecture of the city Centre
and of the inner and outer suburbs. This varied character was a main reason for choosing it
as
the venue of the survey.
The
issue
of
low council rents and high city rates is the most bitterly
For example
L.
J.
Sharpe,
A
Metropolis Votes
(London: London School
of
Economics and
Political Science,
1962):
F.
Bealey and
D.
J.
Bartholomew. 'The
Local
Elections in Newcastle-
under-Lyme, May
1958'
British Journal
of
Sociology,
13 (1962)
pp.
273-85,
350-68.
*
J.
Blondel,
Vofers,
Parties
&
Leaders
(Harmondsworth, Penguin,
1963)
pp.
23-24, 26, 87.

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