The forthcoming English Devolution White Paper will set a course of travel to excite, entertain and frustrate in possibly equal measure. There is still a tremendous amount to learn from the first two decades of the millennium and its unheralded revolution in strategic local governance – something Localis hopes to explore further in our current research project for London Councils on New Mayoral Models.
However, much of the post-election debate has, for political reasons, focused on the needs of small towns. With it has come a focus and a return to founding Conservative principles in the notion, first espoused by Edmund Burke, of the role of ‘little platoons’ as a means to restoring civic fortunes and rebuilding national solidarity.
Preserving the electoral gains in constituencies across the North and the Midlands will require a sense of uplift and aspiration and showing actual proof in people’s lives – from wages to high streets to healthcare.
But what does devolution and levelling up pragmatically mean from a One Nation perspective that reaches all parts of the country?