Taking Soundings on The Northern Powerhouse with Dr Arianna Giovannini, 14 Feb 2017


Dr Arianna Giovannini on

The Northern Powerhouse and devolution: revolution or chaos?

The Northern Powerhouse agenda, and the devolution deals associated with it, were presented by George Osborne as the making of a ‘devolution revolution’ in the North of England. But while the signing of the ‘Devo Manc’ agreement has followed a rather smooth path, the plan is developing in an uneven way across other parts of the North, especially in the aftermath of Brexit and of Osborne’s departure as Chancellor.

The aim of this talk is to highlight the key issues underpinning the Northern Powerhouse and Devo-Deal discourses, questioning whether these strategies have the potential to lead to a more economically, politically and socially sustainable system of governance across the North. To unpack this argument, I will draw on the case of Yorkshire—an area that seems to epitomise most of the idiosyncrasies implicit in the current devolution agenda for the North of England.

It will be argued that, beyond rhetoric, the Northern Powerhouse and Devo-Deals agreements in the North are still part of an un-codified, ‘muddled’ process based on a centrally orchestrated patchwork of spatial and governance ‘fixes’ that lack a common purpose, a sound democratic basis and, crucially, a clear roadmap.


Dr. Arianna Giovannini is a Lecturer in Local Politics at the Department of Politics and Public Policy, De Montfort University, Leicester. Her research focuses on territorial politics and devolution in the UK, with a particular emphasis on the ‘English Question’ and the case of the North of England. Currently, her work in this area concentrates on the tensions between technocratic and democratic approaches to devolution in the context of the recent ‘Devo Deals’ and ‘Northern Powerhouse’ agenda, as well as on the link between territorial identity and devolution in the North.

She is on Twitter @AriannaGi

VENUE: Room CL311, Calverley Building, Leeds Beckett University, Woodhouse Lane,

DATE & TIME: 6 – 7.30pm, Tuesday 14th February 2017.

HOW TO FIND US: Enter the university through the huge glass doors opposite the Dry Dock on Woodhouse Lane.  Walk straight ahead, descending a flight of about ten stairs. Turn right at the next set of stairs and get into the lift in Calverley Building. CL 311 is on the third floor. For disabled access, please ask the staff at the reception desk on the right, through the glass doors.

The North – what democratic future?

The Hannah Mitchell Foundation presents three events:

Scotland will hold a referendum on independence from the United Kingdom on Thursday 18th September – we consider the wider implications for the UK and in particular the North of England at these events:

LEEDS: Thursday September 11th at the Civic Hall, Calverley Street, Leeds LS1 1UR at 7.30pm. Speakers include Prof. Jeff Henderson, Dr Ying Ho, and Paul Salveson 

MANCHESTER: Monday September 15th, at the Friends Meeting House, Mount Street M2 5NS at 6.45pm. Speakers include Dr Andrew Blick, Jenny Cronin (Hannah Mitchell Foundation), Richard Carter (Yorkshire First). Chaired by Dr Andy Mycock. This event is organised jointly with Unlock Democracy.

Coming up: Saturday September 21st: Hannah Mitchell Foundation Labour Conference Fringe Meeting: Northern Democracy? Yes please!
Starts 4.00pm Town Hall Tavern, Tib Lane Manchester M2 4JA. Chaired by Anne Baldwin. Speakers include Linda Riordan MP for Halifax , Cat Smith (PPC Lancaster and Fleetwood), Lee Sherriff (PPC Carlisle)

All events are free. More details www.hannahmitchell.org.uk