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Title: The political-economy of Blair’s “New Regional Policy”
Authors: Harrison, John
Keywords: New Regional Political Economy
Economic Regionalisation
Democratic Regionalism
New Labour
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: © Elsevier
Citation: HARRISON, J., 2006. The political-economy of Blair’s “New Regional Policy.” Geoforum, 37 (6), pp. 932-943
Abstract: The ‘region’ and ‘regional change’ have been elusive ideas within political and economic geography, and in essence require a greater understanding of their dynamic characteristics. Trailing in the backwaters of the devolution to the Celtic nations of Britain, the contemporary era of New Labour’s politicaleconomic ideology, manifest through ‘third-way’ governance in England places the region and its functional capacity into the heart of geographical inquiry. Drawing upon a new regionalist epistemology, this paper seeks to recover a sense of (regional) political economy through a critical investigation of the development and formulation of Blair’s “New Regional Policy” (NRP). I address how New Labour has attempted to marry economic regionalisation on the one hand, and democratic regionalism on the other. This paper specifically questions the wisdom of such a marriage of politically distinct ideologies through a critical investigation of the underlying contradictions of their strategy from both a theoretical and empirical standpoint. Demonstrated both in the North East no vote in 2004, and in the post-mortem undertaken by the ODPM Select Committee in 2005, the paper illustrates how a loss of political drive gradually undermined the capacity of devolution to deliver in England. Finally, I argue that through the lens of the NRP we can speculate on some of the wider issues and implications for the study of regional governance.
Description: This article was published in the journal, Geoforum [© Elsevier] and the definitive version is available at: www.elsevier.com/locate/geoforum
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2006.04.001
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/4425
ISSN: 0016-7185
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Geography and Environment)

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