Gladstone in Oldmeldrum

It was at the Oldmeldrum sports where the local heritage society were displaying there collection of photographs and memorabilia about the Town and the sports/highland games. In amongst the photographs was this delightful little gem.

 

Gladstone in Oldmeldrum Square 1884

Gladstone in Oldmeldrum Square 1884

It is a reminder that there was a very different politics in Scotland prior to the current conflict between nationalist and unionist protagonists.

Scotland was a strongly liberal country but with strong attachments to empire and British institutions from which it did extremely well. With the decline of the Liberal Party and the polarisation of politics into left and right (After ww1) , this innate liberalism was suppressed. Despite notions of red Clydeside and the socialist narrative of history, Scotland actually moved towards Toryism. By the 1950s and within living memory of Gladstone, Scotland voted Conservative with an absolute majority of votes and seats to unionism. Something never achieved by the Labour Party or the SNP in their history.

While liberalism revived in the 1990s and the early part of this century, the polarisation this time of nationalism, again has seen the near demise of a successor to Gladstone’s liberals, the Liberal Democrats.

Places like Oldmeldrum, before being thought of as conservative had traditionally been the bastions of liberal opinion as Scottish Burghs were where Gladstone’s Liberal Party drew its support.

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