Imrie et al. argue that if urban studies is to avoid the problems associated with the linguistic turn in other fields, then it will be necessary to link an engagement with language to a critical political economy. The recent Special Issue of Urban Studies on "Discourse and Urban Change" has made a highly positive contribution in this respect. This paper attempts to contribute to the further development of this linguistic turn in urban studies. First, it offers some critical reflection on the recent Special Issue. Secondly, it proceeds to present a case study of opposition to the closure of shipyards on the River Clyde, Scotland, under the Conservative government of Edward Heath in 1971. In precipitating Heath's U-turn, this opposition had very significant consequences for Britain's urban areas. In understanding how this came about, however, a focus on language-use, linked to a critical political economy, is required.