The Dis-United Kingdom?

Posted on April 25th, 2016 by Alexandra Meakin

New video graphic by the Crick Centre and Shout Out UK shapes the constitutional debate:

  •  Digital infomatic explains the emergence of new territorial fault lines.
  •  Examines issues of constitutional spillover and devolution envy
  •  Designed to underpin major public conversation on the future of the UK

A new animation has been created by the Crick Centre and ShoutOut UK to untangle the complexities of constitutional change in the UK.

The video, Democratic Disengagement and the dis-United Kingdom, which explains why we have different systems of government across the UK, reflects on the impact of devolution and the consequences of the Scottish independence debate, asking the question: ‘Are we living in a dis-United Kingdom?’.


Released in the run-up to the forthcoming Scottish Parliament elections, the three-and-a-half minute clip introduces how the UK is run, how these arrangements have come about and why they matter – providing a summary of recent academic debate concerning the distribution of power and national identity in the UK.

It has been produced by Dr Kate Dommett as part of the Crick Centre’s role as an Economic and Social Research Council Knowledge Exchange Hub to take the latest academic research and transmit it to a wider audience.

Crick Centre Director, Professor Matthew Flinders, said:

“The Crick Centre is committed to engaged citizenship and believe it is vital that academic research reaches as wide an audience as possible.

These films are designed to introduce the public to key political issues, ensuring that anyone – no matter their level of political knowledge – can understand what is happening in contemporary politics.”

How united is the UK

Constitutional change is not new, but in recent years it has been the topic of sustained political interest. Examples include the Scottish Independence Referendum, new legislation for ‘English Votes for English Laws’ (EVEL), the creation of City Regions and the forthcoming referendum on EU membership. These changes have a range of implications for how the UK is governed and have prompted academic research on public attitudes, the implications of change, and international comparisons.

The video helps to explain why we have different systems of governance in the UK and the background to recent calls for change. It highlights that England has historically been underrepresented in governance arrangements, but that the establishment EVEL in the House of Commons and the move for greater regional devolution has begun to alter this situation.

This is the second of three videos produced by the Crick Centre and ShoutOut UK.  The first video, Why do we Hate Politics? looked at political disengagement. The third – soon to be launched – tackles the topical issue of Europe.

Read Kate Dommett’s blog about the background to Democratic disengagement and the dis-United Kingdom?

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