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Constitutional Policy & Territorial Politics in the UK Vol 1Volume 1: Union and Devolution 1997-2007$
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Jonathan Bradbury

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781529205886

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529205886.001.0001

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Territorial Politics, the Central State and Devolution

Territorial Politics, the Central State and Devolution

(p.273) 10 Territorial Politics, the Central State and Devolution
Constitutional Policy & Territorial Politics in the UK Vol 1

Jonathan Bradbury

Policy Press

This chapter addresses UK central government and devolution over the whole period, focusing on how the centre articulated Britishness and approached the issues of law making and parliament, intergovernmental relations, and territorial finance in the light of devolution. The chapter places a principal focus on how the Blair governments developed the central state in the light of devolution. It explores the role of territorial pressures and constraints in thinking about adaptation at the centre; the availability of political resources in shaping approaches to reform; choices over the use of those resources; and the policy process adopted in making those choices. In so doing the chapter considers to what extent the evidence supports the proposition that following Bulpitt, the Blair governments sought to fashion an approach also to the development of the central state in the light of devolution that maintained a centre autonomy model of centre–periphery relations. The implication is that they sought this goal both to assist the successful embedding of devolution in ways amenable to the state as a whole, as well as maintaining effective UK government across all its priorities, not simply territorial management. The chapter draws on the published work of Trench, which was based on extensive interviews in Whitehall in the early 2000s, and reconsiders it within the book's framework of analysis.

Keywords:   UK central government, devolution, Britishness, central state, UK devolution, intergovernmental relations

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