? OR How far ……. The crisis in Scottish identity that developed after 1918?
Scots who had fought in Scottish regiments had a fierce ‘tribal loyalty’ (Trevor Royle) to their regiment and to their Scottishness, but were still loyal Britons – fought for King and Country.
Before the war there had been a Nationalist movement – ‘Young Scots’ that campaigned for home rule – not widely supported, Scottish Home Rule Bill defeated 1914. • 1920s – all three parties (Conservatives, Liberals and Labour) supported the union. Labour had been committed to Home Rule earlier in the 1920s, but that commitment faded after the first short-lived Labour Government of 1924. • Further Home Rule bills defeated 1924 and 1929.
1920s – decade of economic depression. Scotland suffered disproportionately to the rest of Britain. Unionists felt that resources of Britain and the Empire were needed and that Scotland couldn’t survive alone. • However – 1928 – National Party of Scotland formed 1934 joined with Scottish Party to form Scottish National Party. • Only 3000 votes in 1929 General Election (less than 5% of vote), but beginnings of Scottish nationalism.
Reasons for this: • High unemployment and decline of Scotland’s heavy industries – shipbuilding, textiles and coal mining. After the war – Scotland’s place as ‘Workshop of the Empire’ being challenged. • Scottish literary renaissance influenced ideas about Scottish identity– e.g. Hugh McDiarmid – Scottish nationalist and Socialist poet and journalist (The Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle), Lewis Grassic Gibbon – nationalistand socialist author(Sunset Song).
Crisis in identity manifested (shown) partly by the high numbers of Scots emigrating after the war – 1921-1931 population fell for the first time in a century. Feeling that Scotland ‘being emptied of its population, its spirit, its wealth, its industry and its talent’