Fractured Union

Politics, Sovereignty and the Fight to Save the UK

January 2024 9781805260523 336pp
Forthcoming Pre-order
Available as an eBook
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The question of the United Kingdom’s survival, once taken for granted, looms large in British politics. This book uncovers the roots of today’s crisis, revealing MPs’ and civil servants’ assumptions in their understanding of the Union, and profound pessimism within politics about its long-term viability.

Why has the political class struggled to engage productively with devolution? Has English voters’ disenchantment with a detached central government influenced how politicians and bureaucrats regard the UK’s future? How have seismic events fuelled tensions between Westminster and devolved administrations, from the SNP’s election and independence referendum to Brexit and Covid? And what now?

Fractured Union offers a vivid account of the gradual loss of British unity, illuminating the forces and pressures now shaping the future of both nations and peoples. As nationalism rises across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, this book issues a sharp challenge to those who believe in a united kingdom: deliver better, more responsive government—or risk the UK falling apart.


‘The most up-to-date account of why a union that was traditionally seen as a given has now become so contested. An impressive and illuminating read.’ — Tim Bale, Professor of Politics, Queen Mary, University of London, and author of The Conservative Party after Brexit

‘This book is the most acute and informed study to date of the crises and tensions within the British union from the 2014 Scottish referendum to the present—and of what the future might hold for the people of these islands.’ — Sir Tom Devine, University of Edinburgh


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.

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