- Preface and Acknowledgements
- List of Figures
- List of Maps
- List of Tables
- List of Text Boxes
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: Subnational Democracy in Europe: Changing Backgrounds and Theoretical Models
- The United Kingdom: Is there Really an Anglo Model?
- Ireland: Halting Steps Towards Local Democracy
- Belgium: A Tale of Regional Divergence?
- The Netherlands: Subnational Democracy and the Reinvention of Tradition
- Luxembourg: The Challenge of Inclusive Democracy in a ‘Local State’
- Germany: Varieties of Democracy in a Federal System
- Austria: From Consensus to Competition and Participation?
- Switzerland: Subsidiarity, Power‐Sharing, and Direct Democracy
- Denmark: Between Local Democracy and Implementing Agency of the Welfare State
- Finland: The Limits of the Unitary Decentralized Model
- Sweden: Party‐dominated Subnational Democracy Under Challenge?
- Norway: The Decline of Subnational Democracy?
- France: Between Centralization and Fragmentation
- Italy: The Subnational Dimension to Strengthening Democracy Since the 1990s
- Spain: The Consolidation of Strong Regional Governments and the Limits of Local Decentralization
- Portugal: Local Democracy in a Small Centralized Republic
- Greece: A Case of Fragmented Centralism and ‘Behind the Scenes’ Localism
- Malta: Local Government: A Slowly Maturing Process
- Cyprus: Political Modernity and the Structures of Democracy in a Divided Island
- Poland: Europeanization of Subnational Governments
- The Czech Republic: Local Government in the Years after the Reform
- Hungary: Remarkable Successes and Costly Failures: An Evaluation of Subnational Democracy
- Slovakia: Local Government: Establishing Democracy at the Grassroots
- Estonia: Challenges and Lessons of the Development of Local Autonomy
- Latvia: Experiments and Reforms in Decentralization
- Lithuania: Brave Enough to Implement Daring Democratic Reforms?
- Slovenia in Transition: Decentralization as a Goal
- Bulgaria: The Dawn of a New Era of Inclusive Subnational Democracy?
- Romania: From Historical Regions to Local Decentralization via the Unitary State
- European Subnational Democracy: Comparative Reflections and Conclusions
- Structure of Subnational Governments in Europe, 2007
- Subnational finances in Europe
- Trust, importance of local/regional government, and levels of corruption in Europe
- Subject Index
- Name Index
Abstract and Keywords
Like many aspects of government and politics in the UK, it is a challenge to find one defining moment that shaped the local government systems. This lack of plan reflects the gradual decline of the local government after their heyday in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Part of the problem of the gradual decline of the local governments is the absence of a key event and clear foundation that established this institution. The closest to a defining moment was the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, which democratized the medieval system of the government of towns and cities. While this consolidated the decision-making framework which required the whole council to be responsible for policy making and democratized existing corporations and new corporations, the Act however did not introduce a uniform system of elected local government. Rather, it reflected the lack of codification of local government in the UK which has continued to exist until the present time. This article discusses the system of local government in the UK. It explores the themes of centralization in the overall government system of the UK and how it affects the local government system of the nation. Created centuries ago and deemed significant, the local government however has struggled to maintain an effective and legitimate force in British politics and policy-making. In spite of reform efforts, such as the establishment of the Greater London Authority and the mayor for London, local government nevertheless continues to see its decline and its minimized role within the peripheries of British political life. It has continued to witness its weak visibility, representation, and influence in the centre-fold of the British government.
Peter John is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, School of Public Policy, University College London.
Colin Copus is Professor of Local Politics and Director of the Local Governance Research Unit in the Department of Politics and Public Policy, De Montfort University. His main research interests are: local political leadership, local party politics, local governance, and the changing role of the councillor and he has published widely on these subjects in academic journals. He has carried out research work for government departments and worked with ministers and MPs on policy issues. He has worked closely with practitioners in local government on a range of consultancy and research projects. Colin has been the editor Local Government Studies since 2001. He has also served as a councillor on a London Borough council, a county and a district council and three parish councils.
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