Churchill’s defeat in Dundee, 1922, and the decline of liberal political economy

Tomlinson, J. (2020) Churchill’s defeat in Dundee, 1922, and the decline of liberal political economy. Historical Journal, 63(4), pp. 980-1006. (doi: 10.1017/S0018246X19000475)

192576.pdf - Accepted Version



This article uses Churchill's defeat in Dundee in 1922 to examine the challenges to liberal political economy in Britain posed by the First World War. In particular, the focus is on the impact of the war on reshaping the global division of labour and the difficulties in responding to the domestic consequences of this reshaping. Dundee provides an ideal basis for examining the links between local politics and global economic changes in this period because of the traumatic effects of the war on the city. Dundee depended to an extraordinary extent on one, extremely ‘globalized’, industry – jute – for its employment. All raw jute brought to Dundee came from Bengal, and the markets for its product were scattered all over the world. Moreover, the main competitive threat to the industry came from a much poorer economy (India), so that jute manufacturing was the first major British industry to be significantly affected by low-wage competition. Before 1914, the Liberals combined advocacy of free trade with a significant set of interventions in the labour market and in social welfare, including trade boards. The Dundee case allows us to examine in detail the responses to post-war challenges to these Liberal orthodoxies.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tomlinson, Professor Jim
Authors: Tomlinson, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:Historical Journal
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-5103
Published Online:13 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Cambridge University Press
First Published:First published in Historical Journal 63(4):980-1006
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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