“For how long will English constituencies and English Honourable members tolerate at least 119 Honourable Members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland exercising an important, and probably often decisive, effect on English politics while they themselves have no say in the same matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?”
The West Lothian Question, Tam Dalyell, 1977
The emergence of alternative forms of geo-political order, independent city-states, enclaved principalities, autonomous regions and transnational unions suggests that the traditional Westphalian mode of nation-states and looped topologies is being overwritten. The future is neo-medieval.
The United Kingdom is nominally a unitary nation-state and Westminster, it is assumed, reigns supreme. However, the UK contains within it four politically (un)represented nations - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - along with a multitude of other geo-political units with varying economies, histories, sub-nationalities and powers. In practice, or in principle, the UK is quasi-federal, or federal-in-waiting, and ‘England’ precludes federalism as an alternative future for the Union.
The scenario is explored through a radical alternative to devolution in which in an effort to avoid the future break of up of the UK and as a post-Brexit political and economic strategy, Westminster and the Department for Exiting the EU draw up blueprints for a new UK, the United States of Greater Britain (USGB). The USGB is to contain 13 states, each with an elected parliament, equal powers and a citizenry. Yorkshire, with a population larger than Scotland, an economy twice the size of Wales and a historic collective identity is chosen as the ‘proto-state' with which to begin this process.
In the town of Todmorden, now cut in two by the Yorkshire and Lancastria state boundary, new typologies and urbanisms emerge in response to and as a consequence of its border condition. The projects explore the trade-offs, allegiances, spatial reconfigurations and tactics employed by the Yorkshire Party, the Yorkshire state and other actors in pursuing various priorities, opportunities, policies and ambitions.