Building sub-national government

Gender and power-sharing – why a Citizens’ Assembly is needed in Northern Ireland

Gender and power-sharing – why a Citizens’ Assembly is needed in Northern Ireland

The prospects for Northern Ireland’s power-sharing democracy look bleak. A Citizens’ Assembly is planned for members of the public to deliberate on the disputed topics. Claire Pierson and Jennifer Thomson argue that these forms of public participation have a particular benefit for the representation of women, and has the potential to break down entrenched party political divides.

Brexit means a bleak future for UK public spending and probably for intra-UK governance relations

Brexit means a bleak future for UK public spending and probably for intra-UK governance relations

In the London-centric world of the UK-wide and English media, too little consideration has yet been given to what Brexit means for public spending (almost all of it bad), and for UK-devolved government relations. David Heald explains the need to focus on the long-term important issues.

The UK and Canada: democratic legitimacy could matter more than geographic representation in the upper chamber

The UK and Canada: democratic legitimacy could matter more than geographic representation in the upper chamber

Upper chambers have the potential to represent different geographic groups within a multinational state, and so accommodate minority identities. However, research by Mike Medeiros, Damien Bol and Richard Nadeau indicates that, though there is support for democratic reform of the House of Lords and Senate in Scotland and Quebec respectively, there is, in fact, greater support for central democratic reform than for subnational representation.

The prospects for electoral reform in Wales

The prospects for electoral reform in Wales

With the introduction of the Wales Act of 2017, the National Assembly gains significant new powers. As part of this, it can enact its own proposals for electoral reform, including changes to the electoral system and introducing votes at 16. Jac Larner takes a look at what these changes would entail, and the prospects for implementation. 

Constitutional change in local government: council backbench committees have the potential to enhance overview and scrutiny

Constitutional change in local government: council backbench committees have the potential to enhance overview and scrutiny

The Wright reforms of the House of Commons’ select committees increased the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny in Westminster. Andrew Coulson (Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham) assesses whether the proposed Betts reforms to local authority oversight and scrutiny committees could do the same for local government. 

A mess of pottage? The North of Tyne deal and the travails of devolution

A mess of pottage? The North of Tyne deal and the travails of devolution

John Tomaney (University College London) focuses on the proposed deal between government and the North of Tyne area. He explains why it fails to meet the government’s own definition of appropriate devolution arrangements, and why local government leaders have nonetheless accepted it.

Politicising national identity: how parties try to define ‘Welshness’ for themselves

Politicising national identity: how parties try to define ‘Welshness’ for themselves

The politicisation of national identity in Wales has increased dramatically since devolution. But political parties do not present a common version of ‘Welshness’, writes Sophie Williams. Each party expresses its own version instead, conflating national identity with their own political ideology in the process.

How the planning system lets homeowners overwhelm the broader public interest

How the planning system lets homeowners overwhelm the broader public interest

Britain needs more housing, especially in the South East, yet the green belt still enjoys a great deal of protection from development. John Sturzaker (University of Liverpool) looks at the difficulty of establishing whether NIMBYism is motivated by self-interest or legitimate concerns – and the imbalance of power between people who need housing, and those […]

Outside the south-east, Britain’s towns are struggling to hold on to their young people

Outside the south-east, Britain’s towns are struggling to hold on to their young people

Many of Britain’s towns are shrinking; big-city Britain is largely thriving. Taking south Wales as an example of these divisions, Ian Warren explains why his new Centre for Towns will advocate for the future of our towns, particularly during a period when both major parties in the UK parliament appear committed to city regions. Similar PostsSadiq […]

Why is the North so hard to govern?

Why is the North so hard to govern?

Devolution has evolved into an uneven process, with much greater progress achieved in some parts of the country compared to others. But why is the North so difficult to govern? John Fenwick (Northumbria University) offers some explanations, and points to the north-east in particular as an area with a strong sense of regional identity but fluctuating, unclear […]