Political developments in Scotland

In 1914, the Liberal Party was the most powerful political party in Scotland but by 1918 it was divided.

The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a significant political force in the West of Scotland, while the mainstream Labour Party was soon to become one of the two major political parties. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party began to attract new voters from the middle classes living in the cities.

The ILP had been formed by Scottish miner Keir Hardie in the late 1880s and was among the various organisations that formed the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) in 1900. The LRC later became known as the Labour Party.

Political parties in wartime Scotland

When war broke out in 1914, the main Labour Party supported the war effort and even joined the coalition government of 1916. The ILP consistently opposed Britain's involvement in the war.

The policies of the ILP were more radical than the mainstream Labour Party and eventually the two parties went their separate ways in the 1920s.

The radicalisation (favouring of extreme or fundamental changes) of politics in Scotland greatly affected the main political parties and many voters began to support the ILP or the Labour Party as a way of challenging the old ways. This radicalisation also had an effect on those who did not want change - the Conservatives (Tories).

The events of ‘Red Clydeside’ gave hope to people who wanted change in Scottish society and was a major cause of the radicalisation of Scottish politics.