New Labour and Regionalisation: Chalk and Cheese or Slow New Dawn?
The trend towards the substitution of government by governance discussed in the previous chapter is a phenomenon extending across nation-states, across tiers of government and across functions of government. It can be seen both as empirical reality and as an appropriate response to changed conditions in the late twentieth century; and as a process of negotiating the fragmented public sphere. Governance represents a way to maintain democratic purchase on an economic and social world which threatens to evolve according to internal dynamics without reference to citizens’ preferences. However, the way in which new institutional forms and architectures are negotiated evolves through the interaction of the democratic political process with external pressures thereon. Therefore politics matters in understanding it. With regard to the new governance of the English regions, most innovations of governance have occurred at the will or suggestion, or have been facilitated by the actions, of the New Labour government elected in May 1997.
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