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Dundee and the Empire'Juteopolis' 1850-1939$
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Jim Tomlinson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748686148

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748686148.001.0001

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Conservatism, Protection and Empire in the 1930s

Conservatism, Protection and Empire in the 1930s

(p.121) Chapter 7 Conservatism, Protection and Empire in the 1930s
Dundee and the Empire

Jim Tomlinson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the complex, intertwined Conservative politics of protectionism and empire in the Scottish city of Dundee, dubbed Juteopolis, during the 1930s. In the anti-Labour landslide of 1931, Dundee elected its first Conservative MP since the Great Reform Act, Florence Horsbrugh. Re-elected in 1935, for the whole of the decade Horsbrugh was faced with responding to the desperate economic plight of Juteopolis as it suffered from the collapse of international trade, but most of all the competition from India's jute industry. In the face of the shrinkage in markets for its products, Dundee suffered from the worst unemployment rate of any major city in Britain in the 1930s. In the early 1930s both the question of the British Empire's economic policy and the question of India were central to political debate in the Conservative Party. This chapter considers the Conservatives' failure to protect Juteopolis from Calcutta competition; Indian competition, based on low wages and hence low overall costs, was rapidly successful in out-competing the British goods.

Keywords:   Conservative politics, protectionism, Dundee, Florence Horsbrugh, India, jute industry, British Empire, economic policy, Conservative Party, low-wage competition

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