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From Brexit to the break-up of Britain?
From Brexit to the break-up of Britain?

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Week 3 Looking out through the lens of London

Introduction

In many respects the UK still has a highly centralised social, economic and even political geography, with London (or the wider London city region) at its core, even if its political centrality is increasingly challenged by the existence of elected institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The referendum vote and the consequences of Brexit highlight some of the tensions between London not only across the UK, but also specifically within England.

This week, rather than taking London for granted and assuming the centrality of its position, you will begin to reflect more fully on its relationship with the regions and nations of the UK. The aim is to understand some key aspects of the dynamics that shape London, but also to reflect on some of the ways in which they effectively shape uneven development and inequality across the UK. By looking through the lens of London, it becomes possible to explain some of the divisions reflected in the pattern of votes cast in the referendum and to highlight some of the tensions associated with the UK as a multinational state – and England as a particular nation within it.

By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • assess the arguments that London has a distinctive and determinant role within the economy and politics of the UK
  • understand how the development of London affects the development and patterns of development elsewhere in the UK
  • consider the ways in which those factors were reflected in voting patterns expressed in the referendum vote
  • Understand how uneven development has implications within London as well as in terms of London’s relationship with the regions of England.