Oceanspan : deindustrialisation and devolution in Scotland, c. 1960-1974

Phillips, J. (2005) Oceanspan : deindustrialisation and devolution in Scotland, c. 1960-1974. Scottish Historical Review, 84(1), pp. 63-84. (doi: 10.3366/shr.2005.84.1.63)

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Publisher's URL: http://www.eupjournals.com/doi/abs/10.3366/shr.2005.84.1.63


Oceanspan was a grand design for Scotland's economic, industrial and social regeneration. It attempted to position Scotland as a land bridge between the Atlantic Ocean and Continental Europe: raw materials would flow in from the west, utilising the deep water of the Firth of Clyde, and be converted into finished goods for export across the North Sea. The chief architect of the plan was William Lithgow, the Port Glasgow shipbuilder, and it was publicised by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, an organisation that encompassed representatives of local authorities and trade unions but was dominated by business interests. The plans were geared to assisting new industries notably electronics, but implied special privileges for the older heavy industries with which Lithgow and Lord Clydesmuir, chairman of the Scottish Council, were associated. Substantial public investment was required, which was resisted by both Labour and Conservative governments. Only the political sympathies of the Scottishcouncil leaders, nurtured further by the various social and industrial difficulties facing the Conservative government in 1971 and 1972, notably the miners' strike and the work-in at Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, averted a substantial public row. Oceanspan nevertheless represents an important episode in the longer history of the emergence of devolutionary or nationalist impulses in modern Scotland, for the plans linked Scotland's apparent economic and industrial stagnation with the alleged problem of remote administrationof policy in Scotland from Whitehall, and incorporated demands for enhanced policy powers for the Scottish Office.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Phillips, Professor Jim
Authors: Phillips, J.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:Scottish Historical Review
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
ISSN (Online):1750-0222
Copyright Holders:Copyright ©2005 Edinburgh University Press
First Published:First published in Scottish Historical Review 84(1):63-84
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordancce with the copyright policy of the publisher

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