This article first presents the features of the union state tradition. It then investigates the central themes in devolution research on the four nations of the UK. In addition, a number of overarching, UK-wide problems which arise from the failure to conceive of devolution as an integrated set of reforms to the UK state are covered. It argues that this disconnected approach to the UK's territorial constitution, while consistent with the traditions of the union state, is inherently unstable now that the UK has several governments rather than one, each with competing mandates. It further sets out a number of scenarios which may emerge as the UK grapples with this new territorial politics. The scope for the UK centre to hold the ring is compromised by its failure to renew itself for the post-devolution era and by its continuing preoccupation with England.
This article evaluates the nature and significance of the localist turn, set in a theoretical and historical context. It explains two salient contradictions in New Labour's localism: its simultaneous appeals to market entrepreneurialism and conservative communitarianism and the fact that despite the rhetoric of localism, political centralism has increased. It first addresses the normative foundations of localism and centralism. It then explores how different conceptions of power have affected the study of localism. The emergence of contemporary localism is considered, before proceeding to examine the New Labour approach since 1997. The final section explains the Blair Paradox in terms of contradictions within neoliberalism. It is shown that if the coercive strategies of dissident movements are to be effective locally in the long term, they will have to assert themselves on the national and perhaps the international stages in an attempt to replace neoliberal capitalism.