Dumfriesshire, Scotland, has had a long and complicated political history. For years, the area has been a battleground, vigorously fought for by both Labour and the Conservative party. At a time when the Tories are struggling in Scotland, it is one place where the Party has a presence.
'Dumfries and Galloway' was won by the Conservatives in the 2001 General Election leading one Scottish paper to quip that there had been a rare sighting of that exotic breed 'the lesser spotted Tory' in rural Dumfriesshire. Boundary changes, however, removed this win in 2005 though the party gained another nearby seat on election day.
Laurie Taylor travels to this former Conservative stronghold to find out how local party activists have coped with political decline in Scotland . How have they mobilised themselves? How will they win over new votes without alienating the old Tory vanguard? And is 'banal activism', which elevates the importance of local car parks and roundabouts over national issues, the answer to their problems?
Alex Smith, PhD student in Political Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh
Ted Thompson, former labour party activist
Fiona Reid, Journalist with the Dumfriesshire Newspapers Group
Roger Grant, Councillor at Dumfries and Galloway Council
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