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The forward march of devolution halted and the limits of progressive unionism

Andrews, Leighton ORCID: 2021. The forward march of devolution halted and the limits of progressive unionism. Political Quarterly 92 (3) , pp. 512-521. 10.1111/1467-923X.13044

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The philosophy underlying the creation of the devolved institutions in Wales and Scotland was expansive, leading to a growth in powers over twenty years. That approach is now under challenge following recent Brexit legislation, which marks a sharp contrast with the unionist approaches of the past. The Covid-19 pandemic provided a visibility boost for devolution, while exposing existing tensions in intergovernmental relations. This article identifies four forms of unionism in operation over the last twenty years—passive, activist, progressive and muscular—and questions whether muscular unionism can now be considered a form of statecraft. Those ‘progressive unionists’ who advocate further devolution should avoid ‘constitutional determinism’—the assumption that muscular unionism will inevitably lead to a breakup of the UK unless further constitutional reform takes place.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0032-3179
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 July 2021
Date of Acceptance: 22 June 2021
Last Modified: 27 May 2023 14:19

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