In this interview, our Senior Research Fellow Professor Colin Talbot talks to Professor Rod Rhodes of Southampton University about relations between UK central government and local and regional tiers of government.

In 1988, Professor Rhodes published his seminal book on this topic, “Beyond Westminster and Whitehall”. At the time the dominant view – especially amongst the political class – was that the UK was a highly centralised, unitary, state. Prof Rhodes challenged this view with a detailed, and novel, analysis of how the UK was really a ‘differentiated polity’.

In a retrospective discussion with Prof Colin Talbot, Prof Rhodes revisits his thinking then and talks about what has happened since in UK government.


Professor Rod Rhodes is Professor of Government (Research) at University of Southampton.

Professor Colin Talbot is Emeritus Professor of Government at the University of Manchester and a Senior Research Fellow of the Federal Trust.