Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

PAIR3054 A (Dis)United Kingdom? Myth and Reality in British Politics

Module Overview

Recent referenda on UK withdrawal from the European Union and Scottish withdrawal from the UK appear to have brought simmering tensions in politics on these islands to the fore - or perhaps even created a newly polarised politics. Moreover, while support for nationalist parties has increased, support for the traditional parties of left and right that have dominated Westminster politics for the last 100 years seems to have returned. What are political scientists to make of current UK politics? The module takes and interactive and open-ended approach to teaching and learning. Students will leave the module with a greater understanding of the institutions and actors that have shaped modern British politics. The module aims to equip students with social science tools and vocabulary that will enable them to better navigate, predict, and intervene positively in politics in the UK.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module aims to explain recent developments in the politics of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We will ask: How does Brexit change the politics of the United Kingdom? Is our uncodified constitution really unique and if so how does it affect the behaviour of politicians and those that work for government? What role does national identity play in a nation that is itself a 'kingdom of nations' and does regional devolution pull that kingdom apart or hold it together? How do the electoral and party systems of the UK dictate the decisions that voters and politicians make about who governs? How has UK politics changed in the last century and what have key actors done that will continue to influence the polity and its citizens?

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of how British political history shapes modern British politics and be able to justify arguments about when and how UK politics may or may not be seen as exceptional.
  • Offer theoretically-informed and evidence-based analysis of developments in UK politics.
  • Apply skills in different types of written communication including writing analytical essays and shorter pieces aimed at applying learning to the immediate political and policy problems of the day.
  • Analyse numerical and text-based data where information relevant to UK political phenomena is held.


1. The British Constitution 2. Governing the Kingdom 3. Scotland 4. Wales 5. Northern Ireland 6. England 7. The party system 8. Post-war consensus and the Thatcherite juncture 9. Blair and New Labour 10. Cameron and the Coalition 11. UKIP and Brexit

Learning and Teaching

Independent Study121
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Analytical essay  (2500 words) 60%
Coursework portfolio  (1500 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: PAIR1001 OR PAIR1002 OR PAIR1004 OR PAIR1005

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.