One of the main charges made this week against Ken Livingstone is that he sought to create a 'mini-state'. A State within a state.. independent of the national government in some way.
The fact is that cities like London are now more than the administrative and commercial centres for the nation which they were in the age of the railways. Since the globalisation of capital, they do have their own economic identity. Globalisation has led to the fragmentation of the old national unit, as Scottish devolution also shows.
The role of the nation state is now to obey the rules of the global market, and pick up the pieces when it fails, as with Northern Rock. Its role as an expression of the political will of the masses is over, if it ever existed.
What still remains though, is the desperate need for something to oppose the demands of property and ownership over everything. An entity to support the quaint notion that it is not a crime to steal a bucket of water to put out a fire in a neighbours' house which might otherwise burn down the entire street.