Regional governance policy in Britain: history and modernity

Kodaneva S.I.


Recent events, especially Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, have reintroduced the issue of the separation of the national regions of this country into the political discourse of Great Britain. First of all, it was about Scotland, the leader of the national party of which N. Sturgeon announced almost immediately after the launch of the procedure for the country's withdrawal from the EU that she would seek a new referendum on Scottish independence. In Northern Ireland, though less actively, there have been calls for a vote on the issue of joining Ireland. And even in Wales, though with some delay, a wave of national consciousness began to rise, resulting in the creation of a commission to consider the issue of possible secession. In the political and scientific discourse, there was talk that the UK could soon break up. At the same time, there was another position, according to which regional politicians seek to expand autonomy with the help of threats of secession. In order to answer the question of how serious the concerns expressed by many about the upcoming separation of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are, it is necessary to analyze the recent history of the development of relations between the central government of the country and these regions, how these relations have been institutionalized in recent decades and what factors have contributed to the strengthening or, conversely, weakening of the territorial integrity of Great Britain. This article is devoted to finding the answer to these questions. The conducted research allows us to conclude that the policy of regional governance of Great Britain has always been based on the principles of «constitutional uncertainty» and «ambiguity». The British political establishment has avoided the normative consolidation of the status of national regions, the systematic reform of territorial administration, preferring to respond to current challenges mainly by political means.


United Kingdom; devolution; Scotland; Wales; Northern Ireland; Brexit; regional policy.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2023.03.15

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