This site is about the politics of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales (and the smaller islands). Its main focus is on the evolving constitutional settlement – and potential settlements – arising from events ranging to the Good Friday peace agreement (Belfast Agreement) to the rise of the SNP to Brexit.

The broader context of all of this is globalisation, specifically neoliberal globalisation. Brexit, whatever happens next, marks a watershed. It represents the most serious rolling back of liberal institutionalism thus far. The rolling back of globalisation’s ‘flat’ or ‘borderless’ world has being going on for sometime now. The world is witnessing a resurgence of particularist identities: the rise of the Hindu nationalist BJP in India, Putin’s embracing of the Orthodox church in Russia, Erdogan’s Islamism in Turkey, Trump’s nativism, Israel’s insistence on an ethnic Jewish identity – all the way to ISIS, which is a particularism with pretensions to universalism.

The economic backdrop to all of this is a situation in which just 62 individuals own as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion of the planet’s inhabitants. See An Economy for the 1%, Oxfam 2016. But that’s the global picture. The local picture is of wage stagnation, job insecurity and ‘austerity’.

This blog is intended to fall somewhere between the purely academic and the purely journalistic. That is, it aspires to being both academically credible and simultaneously accessible to non-specialists and to the general public.

Sean Swan, 30 October 2016

(I’m a lecturer in politics at Gonzaga University, but the views expressed on this blog are my own and those of any contributors, they should not be assumed to represent the views of Gonzaga University)