Politics, Sovereignty and the Fight to Save the UK
How have decision-makers in Westminster and beyond fanned the flames of national division? Can this disunited kingdom come together once again?
The question of the United Kingdom’s survival, once taken for granted, now looms large in British politics. This book brings to life the historical roots of a contemporary crisis, revealing the assumptions underlying how politicians and bureaucrats make sense of the Union.
Why has the political class struggled to engage productively with devolution? Has the growing disenchantment of English voters with a detached central government influenced how MPs and civil servants regard the UK’s territorial integrity? And how have seismic events fuelled the tensions between Westminster and the devolved administrations, from the election of an SNP government and the 2014 Scottish referendum to Brexit and the pandemic? Politics today is dominated by a profound sense of pessimism about the long-term viability of the UK. Where do we go from here?
Fractured Union offers a vivid account of the country’s gradual loss of unity, and illuminates the forces and pressures which will shape the future of its nations and peoples. As nationalisms gain ground across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, this book issues a sharp challenge to those who believe in a united kingdom: deliver better and more responsive government, or risk seeing the UK fall apart.
Michael Kenny is Professor of Public Policy, and inaugural Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, at the University of Cambridge. He has written extensively on national identity, territorial politics and governance, and is the author of a prize-winning study of the impact of English nationalism on British politics.