Consortium for
the North of England

Blogs and Resources

AriannaGiovannini | 03:06 |
In this page you can find links to blog articles which shed light on some of the key issues at stake in the debate on devolution, governance, identity and political economy in the North of England.

Power to the North? Prospects and Challenges to Devolution and City Deals - Videos of Panels
Richard Hayton, University of Leeds

In January 2016, the WRCN held a workshop at the University of Leeds which enjoyed the contributory support of leading academics and political figures interested in the subject of devolution to the North of England. These includes Professor Martin Jones (University of Sheffield) who delivered the opening address and Lord Bob Kerslake who presented the keynote. The subsequent panels analysed a range of issues affecting 'power to the north' such as economic, regionalism, and local identities.    

Understanding Labour's English Questions
Michael Kenny

The government’s plans for a significant devolution of powers to Greater Manchester continue to generate considerable debate. Critics have focused on their implications for policy in key areas such as health provision, on the model of executive leadership that Osborne favours in the form of the directly elected mayor (Talbot, 2015) and on the question of whether this represents a top-down, enclosed form of governance, or one that might permit a revival of the wider civic culture.

Osborne's Northern Powerhouse Centralises Power and Devolves Blame
Daniel Bailey, PhD Candidate, University of Sheffield.

The Sheffield City Deal – part of George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse project – was announced last week to coincide with the Conservative Party conference. The tone of the debate around devolution has been strikingly positive thus far from both right and left. Its proponents argue that it is an indispensable component of the solution to the UK’s economic, social and democratic ills.

The Scottish 'Indyref': One year on. - Devolution in England ignores they key lessons from Scotland's referendum.
Arianna Giovannini, Research Officer, SPERI.

One year has passed since the Scottish independence referendum took place. Although in the end the people of Scotland voted against self-government, the so-called ‘Indyref’ shook up not only the Scottish but also the wider UK political and social landscape. Hence, on the first anniversary of such a momentous vote, it is worth trying to reflect on the effects it has created across the country.

Why the North, why now, what's new?
Craig Berry, Deputy Director, SPERI

In the wake of the general election, Englishness as a national identity is being articulated in an increasingly aggressive manner.  When all the dust has settled, we may in future come to see this as the key legacy of the 2015 general election – or even of the 2008 financial meltdown that continues to shape politics in the UK.  In this post (the first in a series of two) I argue that this trend reinforces the importance of Northern England to progressive politics.

Under New Management? Devolution and regional economies.
Karel Williams, CRESC, University of Manchester.

“It is time for you to take control of your own affairs….we will hand power from the centre to cities to give you control over your local transport, housing, skills  and health care. And we’ll give the levers you need to grow your local economy and make sure local people keep the rewards.”

Northern  Voices. How far can a bottom-up 'new regionalism' go towards answering the English question?

Ed Cox and Arianna Giovannini survey the new political parties that have emerged in the north of England advocating greater decentralisation to English regions. While electoral success may be some way off, this is a propitious time in UK politics for building democratic momentum behind a bold and positive vision of devolution.

Why the North, why no, and what's new? Part Two - Osborne's plans to spell 'devo-danger' for the left in Northern England
Craig Berry, Deputy Director, SPERI

Devo-Manc, and its equivalents in the other regions of Northern England that will surely follow, is being sold as a key element in the creation of George Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’.  In the first of these posts, I argued that Labour’s future might depend on rekindling Northern England’s ‘inner powerhouse’.  Here, I focus on how and why the Conservative government has taken the initiative in the English devolution agenda, and the danger this poses to the left.

Cities under a Conservative government - stress, divisions, dissent?
Rowland Atkinson, University of Sheffield

What will this election result mean for our cities and for questions of inequality, social division and fairness? What will urban political life be like under a now fully Conservative-led government, without a coalition and a likely fractious relationship with the constituent parts of the UK? Will a housing crisis, migration, segregation, crime, health and education form key areas of social policy that continue to have dramatic spatial consequences?

Fostering 'civic capitalism' within regional polities: Not all devolution is necessarily 'good devolution'
Dan Bailey, University of Sheffield

At the recent book launch for the new SPERI book, Civic Capitalism, it was suggested by IPPR North Director, Ed Cox, that cities (and particularly cities in the North of England and Scotland) represented the ‘most likely spatial scale for the development of Civic Capitalism’. He pointed to cities such as Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, all of which have enjoyed a dose of devolution in recent years and, as such, now have greater capacity to cultivate alternative varieties of capitalism.

'Devo-Manc': Northern Powerhouse of Northern Poorhouse? Centralisation has certainly failed, but the promise of devolution to Greater Manchester is being massively hyped.
Professor Mike Moran and Professor Karel Williams, Manchester Business School

Manchester is a great world city which has long divided observers.  In the mid-nineteenth century, what was for de Tocqueville a ‘foul drain’ and for Taine ‘Babel built of brick’ was for the Edinburgh Review, by contrast, ‘foremost in the march of improvement, a great incarnation of progress’.  Most recently, with ‘devo Manc’, the city of 1980s de-industrialisation and indie music has been transmuted into a symbol of post-industrial regeneration and devolved government.

Devolution in the North of England: time to bring the people into the debate?
Arianna Giovannini, SPERI

In the wake of the Scottish independence referendum, the ‘English Question’ has gained new political traction, emerging as one of the most crucial issues underpinning the debate on the future of the Union. In spite of its result, the Scottish vote has certainly shed light, with a renewed emphasis, on the presence of a growing democratic deficit across and within the  nations of the UK, and in particular in England. This, in turn, has triggered a new interest both within political elites and the wider society on the role and place that England should have in the context of an increasingly decentralised UK.

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