Dis-United Kingdom: The Multi-National State and the Prospects for a Federal UK

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper


In September 2014, Scotland voted apparently decisively to remain part of the United Kingdom. However, while a Yes vote would have brought the substantive upheaval associated with the creation of new state apparatus, the continuing status of Scotland as a component nation of the UK also points to constitutional change. The UK survived but the devolved settlement delivered in the wake of referendums in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the late 1990's requires further consideration. How does this historic multi-national state deal with diverse social and political attitudes without establishing a federal system - a settlement which is alien to the political elite in the UK? The paper considers the outcome of the Scottish referendum in the wider UK context, analysing the way forward for the constitutional settlement and evaluating the diverging social and political attitudes apparent in the UK's component nations. It argues that, while an outright federal solution is unlikely, the principles underpinning federalism - in particular, the equal status of constituent parts and their ability to contribute to political debate at the centre - look likely to inform the UK's constitutional debate, though whether they will have an impact on a lasting settlement remains to be seen.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAnnual Conference of the American Political Science Association - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 3 Sep 20156 Sep 2015


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the American Political Science Association
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


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