Devolution: a flawed process exposed by the Supreme Court

When the Supreme Court published its ruling on the Article 50 case, it was one of the most significant developments in the UK’s recent constitutional history. The sovereignty of parliament was upheld, and Britain’s established model of representative democracy was reaffirmed, placing a clear constitutional limit on the executive power of the Prime Minister and the government. The case, which was brought originally by Gina Miller to the High Court who had argued that the Primer Minister could not use executive powers to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in order to begin the process of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, also upheld another established point of Britain’s constitutional framework. The judges of the Supreme Court found, unanimously, that the devolved parliaments and assemblies in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland do not have to be consulted and therefore do not have the power to veto decisions taken by the UK parliament at Westminster, even when those decisions ordinarily would require consultation of devolved legislatures by Westminster.

The ruling on January 24th exposed a key flaw in the process of devolution in the United Kingdom. Historically, Britain has been very resistant to decentralisation, and even today has been described as ‘almost the most centralised developed state in the world‘, with the vast majority of power concentrated in Westminster and Whitehall. The process of devolution has meant a gradual shift in a new direction, moving power away from the centre in London and distributing it around the country, empowering different communities around Britain much greater say in their own governance. Devolution for Scotland and Wales has seen the creation of new political institutions which can act independently of Westminster in certain areas, and have opened up British politics to a new level of citizen participation which offers the potential to invigorate democracy and restore public confidence in the entire political system. The process of devolution has continued, with further powers devolved from Westminster to Holyrood, the seat of the Scottish Parliament, following the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, and a successful referendum in Wales on further powers for the Welsh Government.

However, devolution has progressed in fits and starts, taking leaps forwards at times, and steps back at others. It has also been marked by considerable unevenness. Scotland possesses powers that go far beyond those of Wales or Northern Ireland. Yet England, thus far, has seen only very limited devolution, such as the planned creation of ‘metro-mayors’ in some urban conurbations based on the model of the mayoralty of London, and the so called ‘English Votes for English Laws’ law which allows English MPs at Westminster to veto certain bills. Indeed, demands for devolution in some areas such as Yorkshire and Cornwall remain largely ignored. Due in part to this unevenness and inconsistency in the progress of devolution, the process has yet to fully unleash its renovating and empowering potential for British democracy. On the contrary, disengagement, a strong sense of disenfranchisement, and anger at the political system remains a significant feature of public attitudes towards politics in the UK in 2017. This is perhaps most strongly felt in many of the areas around Britain which voted for Brexit on June 23rd 2016. It is little coincidence that those same areas are the ones which have experienced the least devolution and where the dominant political power over people’s lives is felt by many to be the distant and disconnected centres of London and Brussels.

In spite of the decentralisation and devolution which has occurred over the last three decades, the ruling by the Supreme Court in January, in particular its refusal to recognise the power of veto or even the right of consultation of devolved governments around the UK, shines a bright and revealing light on the true nature of devolution in Britain. Under this process, power has been delegated, rather than truly devolved. The UK Parliament at Westminster retains the final and ultimate authority. It can act at will, with or without the consultation, let alone consent, of any of the other parliaments and assemblies. This is the true nature of parliamentary sovereignty in the unwritten and barely legible constitution of British democracy in the 21st century. Devolution as we have it today is merely the illusion of self-determination, and it is insufficient to meet the needs and demands of the people, or to engage millions of disenchanted people with the political processes that govern their communities and their lives.

The solution to this fundamentally flawed system of decentralisation is an alternative system which puts all of the different parts of the UK on an equal footing with each other and with the central government in London. A system which truly empowers the nations and regions of Britain to govern their own affairs without undue interference from Westminster or having their rights and dignity trampled upon or completely ignored as if the days of Empire, when to be British meant to be English, were still with us. Today we live in a new era, where English and British are not synonymous and we have built an overwhelmingly open, tolerant and cosmopolitan society. It’s time our political system reflect our society and the nature of political relations within it. This is what federalism can offer Britain. But much more than this, federalism offers the possibility of a genuine political renewal, capable of gradually transforming public attitudes towards our democracy and our politicians. It can do this by putting power in their hands, moving it away from the Westminster bubble and out into the nations, counties, cities, towns and villages of Britain. By making local politics more meaningful it will garner trust and bring ordinary people to engage in politics.

Devolution as we have it simply cannot deliver this kind of vision. It is illusory, hollow and transparent. Ordinary people see through it and know who really wields the power. Federalism, on the other hand, offers us empowered local communities that maximise public participation and deliver better governance to the people, whilst maintaining the cohesion and identity of the United Kingdom nationally and internationally. To continue along our current path of limited devolution where the central government retains final control on every issue, will inevitably drive wedges between the peoples of Britain and push our historic and proud nation towards greater depths of nationalism, populism and social disintegration.

By Robert Jones, Federalist Party Board member.

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Disclaimer: This article expresses the personal views of its author, and may not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of the Federalist Party.

On Brexit and the future for federalism in the UK

On June the 23rd 2016 the government of David Cameron finally fulfilled a pledge to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union which he had arguably been gradually cornered into by the eurosceptic quarter of his Conservative party and the threatening rise of UKIP. The validity and applicability of the result of that referendum has been, and will continue to be argued back and forth for some time. As the result became clear it was hailed as an overwhelming victory for the Leave campaign, mandating the British government to begin the process of withdrawal from the EU. This appeared to be validated by Cameron when he stood on Downing St the following morning and announced his resignation as Prime Minister, effectively conceding a total defeat. Whoever was to take over the leadership of the Conservatives, and by default become PM, would have the heavy responsibility of implementing the Brexit mandate, the ‘will of the people’ as it has been so frequently lauded. And that is just the role that Theresa May has taken up. But the truth is that the only overwhelming feature of the result was its unexpected nature. Most pollsters and political commentators, even politicians, indeed even on the night of the 23rd, Nigel Farage himself, had expected a victory for Remain. But Leave’s win, surprising and shocking though indeed it was, was in fact only by a very narrow margin. The referendum revealed a nation divided, and not at all some kind of all-empowering mandate for an absolute reversal in the country’s relationship with Europe and the world.

As soon as the result became clear, the hearts of millions who held out hope for a different result, sank. For them, the result wasn’t just about the EU and Britain’s membership of it, but about our place in the world, indeed, the cohesiveness of society beyond national boundaries. On June 23rd, the cosmopolitan world view took a beating. But for as much as we could attack the referendum, be it for its advisory nature, its limited participation, the complicated nature of the decision, or indeed the extent to which it might undermine established parliamentary representative democracy, the result was what it was. Many of those whose hearts sank, who awoke to a darker, less predictable, more dangerous world on June 24th, have begun to resist. We have been searching for answers, to find out why, what went wrong, and how can we stop it? The 48% as many proudly label their collective resistance to the Brexit nightmare, draw hope from legal challenges, parliamentary procedures, technicalities of international law and even opinion polls. And although there may be merit in many of the complex arguments that can be put forward, the most fundamental element of Brexit, whichever ‘type’ of Brexit we get, soft or hard, is that Brexit means the UK ceasing to be a member of the EU. For whatever voice and entitlement the 48% have to be heard, to have their views considered as we proceed towards this, the 52% also has a voice and entitlement which is at the very least, no lesser than that of the 48%. Britain must, therefore proceed to give notification of withdrawal under Article 50, and commence the march towards the door. For whatever others argue, there is a democratic and unavoidable mandate for that. But that alone. Any other element that might comprise Brexit has no clear mandate of any kind, be it leaving the single market, the customs union or restricting immigration from Europe. Just because Nigel Farage erected a racist billboard aimed at appealing to xenophobic anti-immigrant sentiment for the Leave campaign, it does not mean and we cannot assume that anyone (other than perhaps Farage himself) voted Leave for any reason other than to leave the EU. We cannot play a game of interpreting the motives of voters with crystal balls, we can only act on their mandate, nothing more, nothing less. The final circumstances under which Britain leaves the EU must reflect the true mandate derived from the referendum. Prime Minister May has repeatedly called for the nation to come together, leaving aside the divisions and their accompanying labels of Brexiteer and Remainer, and she is right to do so. But they are hollow words, unless she is ready to bring forward a compromise between the two sides around which both can unite. Expecting Remainers to give up everything and accept an extreme version of Brexit such as she has proposed, to negotiate taking the UK out of all existing arrangements and seeking a new bilateral Free Trade agreement with the EU on Britain’s terms, is as unrealistic and unlikely to end these divisions as if she were to ask Brexiteers to accept not only staying, but further integration and joining the Euro.

The challenge before us, irrespective of how we voted, is to accept the result of the referendum within the terms in which the question itself was posed, but without shrinking away from the emerging political reality in the UK, or giving in to those who want to ‘tack on’ to Brexit additional meanings that would seek to turn us away from our cosmopolitan outlook. In Brexit Britain, the country’s identity and self-image, its social and political vision, and its constitutional arrangements are all in a state of flux, transitioning to an as yet undetermined and unknown future. It is now, more then ever, that we need to stand up and engage in the debates about the future of Britain, and in particular the potential for reshaping the United Kingdom’s political structure along federalist and more democratic lines that would move power and decision making much closer to the people who are affected by those decisions, to give a voice to millions of Britons who feel so disconnected and removed from Westminster politics, many of whom expressed their anger and frustration with the political classes on June 23rd. A federal future for Britain would also help to heal growing rifts within the UK, not just between different social, political and economic classes, but also between the home nations. Particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the referendum result was a further blow to the cohesion of the UK’s nations, contributing to the alienation of some segments of society and reviving threats of separation. A federal Britain would be altogether more cohesive, binding together the home nations, whilst empowering national and local governments to feel and act more independently.

We should also seek to forge a new role for Britain in the world, not buried within the EU, nor seeking desperate trade deals with whoever might listen, nor setting ourselves up as a super-Singapore tax haven. And we must never give in to some who hail the death of multilateralism and co-operation. The rise of globalisation, global warming, international flows of migrants and continuing political instability in many parts of the world demands an urgent new drive towards a reformed international system, no longer based on the spoils of war or some feigned principle of ‘sovereign equality’ of states but a federation of all democratic states based on the equality of all people, with the potential to bring social cohesion, justice and representative democracy onto the international level. We are not citizens of nowhere. We are citizens of Britain and of Europe, and to paraphrase Diogenes, we are citizens of the World.

By Robert Jones, Federalist Party Board member.
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Disclaimer: This article expresses the personal views of its author, and may not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of the Federalist Party.

Don’t panic………..just yet!

article50
Dear friends, UK citizens (yes, that includes you Scotland), and EU nationals living in UK (you’re our friends too!) It’s really not over yet. It’s one thing to say we would like the government to leave the EU but it’s another thing to actually do it.
Yes, we’re talking about Article 50. Remember the Greek referendum? Yes, the Greeks clearly said they did not want to accept the bailout terms that were on offer. But when faced with the reality of actually carrying out those wishes, the Greek government who had actually been pushing for that result found they couldn’t. In the case of the UK referendum there now seems to be a real case of surprise at the result and a real fear that the potential for catastrophe is too great to actually leave. It’s also the case that the leader who said he would immediately enact Article 50 has now resigned, and he is not going to do it himself. So whoever is the next Prime Minister is not bound by the result if he or she thinks it’s not in the country’s best interest to do so. All is still to play for.

Federalism is still and has always been an alternative option for both UK and the EU.
And it’s suddenly looking a whole lot more appealing.

Stuart Clark
Leader of the Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

Kate Hoey MP – my undemocratic nightmare

Kate Hoey MP speaks about the EU having a democratic deficit. Well let me explain a few simple facts here. I have lived in Kennington for 22years and Kate Hoey has been my MP for all that time. She has a safe seat which means she pretty much has a job for life. I have voted in five General Elections here where my vote has not had any bearing on which government has been elected. I have not been able to vote for the Government of the day or for the Prime Minister. I have only been able to vote for my local MP and in a safe seat that vote is pretty worthless.
democraticdeficit
In the European elections however my vote can actually make more difference.
There are issues with the European Institutions. At EU elections we should be voting for EU parties and not national parties, the Commission and President should be elected directly by the people, but then so should our UK Prime Minister. And the Council of Ministers should be replaced by an elected chamber.
If Kate Hoey was really worried about democracy she would be advocating PR in the House of Commons and an elected 2nd Chamber. But then she would lose her job for life.
In a recent survey Lambeth was listed as the 4th most Europhile area in Britain, https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/02/28/eurosceptic-map-britain/ so she certainly is not representing her constituents.
europhile
There are big challenges facing all of us in the European Union, but we can only overcome these challenges by working together, and we can only do that by moving closer to a Federal Europe. All the arguments being used currently in favour of us leaving the EU are the same arguments that can be used for us working together.
Kate Hoey should resign her seat and stand as an independent on her Grassroots out platform and see if she gets re-elected. Only then will I finally have a vote that counts.
Stuart Clark
Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

10 reasons I’m voting YES for the second time

Ten reasons we MUST stay in the European Union
1. A huge number of the laws (especially those relating to rights at work) which have benefitted ordinary people in the UK have originated in the EU. When it suits them, different UK governments (which have often fought against these laws at the EU) have then taken credit for them in elections.
2. The United States and China are the two dominant world powers, economically and (soon) politically. A united European Union can provide a challenge to this hegemony.
3. Most of the criticisms of the lack of democratic accountability in the EU are because the member states want the system to work this way. The powers of the democratically elected European Parliament are severely restricted because member states’ national governments want to keep the major decisions in their hands (at the Council of ministers). Want more democracy? Strengthen the powers of the elected European Parliament!
4. The reason the European Commission so often seems out of control is that the European Parliament lacks the powers to control it adequately on a day to day basis. Strengthen the powers of the European Parliament!
5. EU migrant workers are accused of coming to the UK because of the welfare system. This is largely untrue; they come to work and because wages are higher. They contribute taxes. On the other hand, many older British nationals (and other northern Europeans) retire to countries in the sunny south of the EU. When they become old and sick, they often impose enormous burdens on the health and social care systems of these countries, many of which are at present struggling economically. What do you think should happen to them if the UK leaves the EU?
6. Free movement of labour has immeasurably contributed to the diversity of skills available for member states’ businesses (including many small businesses), making them more flexible and responsive to the needs of a world market than any national economy could do alone.
7. EU education programmes have enabled thousands of British students to benefit from new perspectives in other EU countries in their subjects and to gain new skills (including language skills) they might never have otherwise acquired.
8. Arguments about staying in or leaving seem to concentrate almost exclusively on money and business. Think about the dream of a strong, united Europe, which could be a real moral diplomatic (and economic) force in the world. We need to transform the EU into this, not leave it.
9. No-one wants all Europeans to be the same. The cultural richness of Europe is part of its strength. The EU has done more than national governments to protect and strengthen this cultural and linguistic diversity.
10. I personally am in favour of a federal Europe (and before you tremble, think of other federations – the United States of America, for example. Are the rights of individual states trampled on? Of course not!) in which decisions which should rightly be taken at a national level are. But whatever you think of a federal Europe, remember that the European Union emerged after centuries of European wars; so much more unites us than divides us. Reform it, yes! Leave it and become a little island isolated in its dreams of old glories? No thank you!

A passionate “Stay in” supporter, who voted “yes” in 1975 and will do again this year.
Erif Rison
erif rison

EU Referendum statement from the Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

Cameron’s EU deal is a “Bullies Charter” and does nothing to help Europe work better.
We urge British citizens to vote REMAIN at the Referendum on 23rd June, because to leave would be disastrous for European society as a whole. But this referendum helps no one and should never have called on the terms of “UK demands”. That is not how Europe should work.
new EU
There is a widely understood need for reform of the EU and its institutions. This is understood; we should all be discussing how it should be reformed.
A European super state is not and has never been what most Federalists have argued for but the current situation, where national governments dictate policy and direction is not acceptable. This is particularly the case with the larger states, who bully the smaller ones, as we have seen clearly this weekend.
So what of the agreed re-negotiated package itself?
• Child benefit: Paying child benefit at the rate standard rate of the member state where the country resides is something that to most will seem perfectly logical and acceptable, but surely this should have been proposed for all member states. This form of negotiation and backroom horse trading is exactly what Europeans populations do not want to see.
Migrant welfare payments – This is mean spirted and is in the agreement to combat a small problem that has been twisted and magnified to become very important to those that wish to leave the EU, but will create second class citizens and demonise those from other parts of the EU if for any reason they need to use the welfare system.
• The Eurozone and protection for the City of London – Safeguards for Britain’s large financial services industry to prevent Eurozone regulations being imposed on it may seem on the face of it to be justified, but there is a real risk of the City of London gaining an advantage by not having to enforce Europe-wide regulations which are set to ensure the economic safety of all citizens. And shouldn’t long-term entry into the Eurozone still be a long-term desired goal?
• Sovereignty – In the same way that many Americans fear giving up the right to bear arms, many British people claim sovereignty and the fear of losing it as a reasonable justification for withdrawing from the EU. There is nothing to be feared from shared sovereignty; indeed, this should be seen as extending sovereignty
• ‘Red card’ for national parliaments – Terms such as Special Status and Veto have replaced Subsidiarity and Solidarity. David Cameron claims to want to work together with the rest of Europe, but his terms show that he is a national leader thinking only of his and his party’s election future instead of what is best for all European citizens,
• Competitiveness – Cutting red tape should not be used to resist regulation of the banking industry, which is needed in order to prevent a repeat of the banking crisis.
• Some limits on free movement – There are many steps and actions that can be taken to strengthen Europe’s external borders and discussion of how to manage the freedom of movement is something that should be happening all the time at EU level and not unilaterally by national governments

These renegotiated terms do nothing to help solve the current problems in the EU because instead of addressing the need for closer co-operation, they it much harder to reach collective decisions. This is certainly not the progress and development that Europe needs.
In the week when it was announced that, according to the UN Children’s Emergency Fund and the International Organization for Migration, at least 340 children, many of them babies and toddlers, drowned in the eastern Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, it was a sickening sight to see Europe’s national leaders spending so much time on these demands instead of working on the real problems that face Europe.

Stuart Clark
Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

Progressive Europeans: #EUfederaljourney

If a destination is desirable, then the journey is worth taking. The destination is a European Federation of nations with a federalist structure in place and the freedom of movement right for all citizens to move unencumbered anywhere in the federation.

Everything that is wrong with the European Union is caused because we have not reached this destination and do not have the required integration in place already.

So why are there is there such a vocal section of society, calling for us to abandon the journey altogether?
Because the journey is long and hazardous and requires commitment, self-belief, and there is no clear roadmap.
What is needed is National Leaders who are strong willed visionaries, who realise this, is our destiny. It was Churchill who wrote 21 October 1942:
‘Hard as it is to say now… I look forward to a United States of Europe, in which the barriers between the nations will be greatly minimised and unrestricted travel will be possible.’

What we see today is a French Prime Minister warning of the end of the EU, a German Chancellor struggling to unilaterally take decisions that would be easier if she was not the only one making the right choices, and a British Prime Minister saying he no longer wants to reach the destination but wants to keep walking anyway.

So for those of you worried that a federal Europe is no longer an attainable goal, or even a desired one – I say, do not worry. Like any journey, there will be setbacks, delays and hurdles. It may even be necessary to backtrack, and take a different route.

But we will get there, of that there is no doubt.

federal journey

-stuart clark
Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

The Missing Option: #voteREMAINplus

EU Referendum:
There are two main pro-Remain groups: Britain Stronger in Europe and British Influence, both are predominately business orientated groups suggesting that the reason for remaining in the EU is purely an economic one. We do, of course support both these groups but neither group is promoting a Federal Europe
We will be voting to REMAIN within the EU but we want to make it understood that there is a substantial section of British society who not only want to remain within the EU, but want to be an integral part of the EU at the heart of European government and society, not simply a trading partner.
We are looking for reform of the EU to a more federal structure. All of the problems that the EU has encountered during its journey, so far, to a European Federation are caused because the European Council, which defines the overall political direction and priorities of the EU and is made up of National Leaders, is not designed to make policy decisions for the good of European citizens. The National Leaders are of course basing all their decisions on a possible national response, and this is a failure of the current process.
Standardised rules and regulations across Europe coupled with the Freedom of movement for goods and services is if course a significant success, and withdrawing from that market and those rules will be detrimental to the UK Economy, there is no doubt of that. But for many of us Europeans there are other benefits to being in the EU which are of a higher priority.
#Rights – we’re talking about workers’ rights, Children’s rights, women’s rights , disability rights and animal rights. Over the years Britain has lead the way in establishing many of these rights and it would be disastrous to lose them.
Whether or not you are concerned about Nature and the environment or workers’ rights and equality you have a reason to be concerned, not only because there is a chance that we could withdraw from the EU and loose much of this protection. But that the “renegotiation” being proposed would stifle further progress.
So the Options in the Referendum are:
LEAVE – and lose all the benefits that we take for granted
REMAIN – but ruling out further progress on improving European Society
What is not being offered – the missing option – which we must be vocal about
REMAIN PLUS – To be progressive in working together for a better society and Environment
EU Referendum Ballot Paper plus

-stuart clark
Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

Jeremy Corbyn’s election to Labour Party Leader is exactly what the stale old Westminster Parliamentary system needs. #federalAlliance

Everyone in the country will have some Corbyn policies they like and some they loathe, but what Mr Corbyn has, that has been sadly missing from Westminster for some time is true conviction and a belief in the policies he espouses. For too long now Westminster has been full of self-obsessed egomaniacs, who play the absurd Westminster parlour games. Everyone is tired of these conviction deprived opportunists. This could be a turning point in British politics, sparking a desire in the young to become engaged to create a future and others to get involved in decision making at a local level.
Far from being a bad thing, Corbyn’s election could call time on the ridiculous bland policical duopoly that has dominated for so long.
He probably has two years to prove himself and if he fails to win the arguments, Labour will have David Milliband ready and waiting – whatever happens there’s nothing better on offer right now and the British people are looking for something new and ever so slightly more honest.

UK Party Leader, Stuart Clark

JC

‘English Votes for English Laws’ cannot deliver devolution for England

The 2015 General Election left us with a new balance of power that has the potential to massively transform the way British politics works and fundamentally reshape the relationship between Westminster and the nations and regions of the UK. This week the Scottish National Party, empowered by their election success and the strength of their contingent of MPs at Westminster, appears to have landed a significant blow in favour of devolved democracy by forcing the government to postpone a vote on its proposed reform of the Hunting Act, a law which applies only in England and Wales and does not directly affect Scotland. It is precisely the kind of law that David Cameron is thinking of with his plan for ‘English Votes for English Laws’ which he claims would deliver a measure of devolution for England and finally address the ‘West Lothian question’.

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP argue that such a proposal would leave Scottish MPs as ‘second class’ parliamentarians, unequal to their counterparts from England, and so undermining their authority in Westminster and Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. But whilst it might look bad for Scotland, for the rest of the UK, and in particular England, the prospect of English Votes for English Laws is much worse. Scotland already has a devolved parliament with substantial powers over Scottish affairs and they may soon have ‘Home Rule’, meaning further powers including over taxation. The extent of devolution to other parts of the UK is limited at best, and in England it is nothing but a fantasy.

As English Votes for English Laws might leave Scottish MPs at Westminster in an inferior position, it is the voters in England who will find themselves short-changed by a proposal which pretends to offer English devolution, but in reality preserves the centralisation of power in a super-parliament at Westminster which will be supposed to act as both a parliament for the whole of the United Kingdom whilst simultaneously taking on the role of a devolved parliament, legislating for England alone. Whilst on the surface we could argue that there is no direct contradiction between these two roles, in practice England and its regions will miss out on having a dedicated legislature with its own MPs which could dedicate their time to devolved English issues (such as fox hunting). Under such an arrangement, the UK parliament at Westminster would be free to focus on areas relevant to the United Kingdom as a whole and its place in the world.

If the Westminster parliament, as it is today, is indeed a parliament for the whole of the United Kingdom, then it is important that all MPs elected there are of equal status and standing. Rather than addressing the democratic imbalance that the process of devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but not in England has left us with, the English Votes for English Laws plan risks further straining the unity and stability of the UK, and seeking only to counter one inequality with another, rather than removing the inequalities inherent in a system of asymmetric devolution, and replacing them with a fair and functional system of federalism, where each part of the UK is empowered to determine its own affairs and its own destiny whilst remaining comfortably anchored within the union.

As things stand, the government appears determined to push ahead with its plans and the SNP’s ‘intervention’ in English policy on the Hunting Act is likely to reinforce the determination of those in Westminster who, some argue, merely seek to strengthen their own position in parliament rather than deliver some kind of meaningful democratic settlement for the United Kingdom as a whole. Never before has the need for a serious and thorough overhaul of the UK’s constitutional arrangement been more urgent, and never before has the opportunity offered by federalism been so relevant, offering to deliver clear and democratic institutions and a fair political structure which can both accommodate and fulfil the diverse needs, identities and aspirations of all the peoples of the United Kingdom.

By Robert Jones

Disclaimer: This article expresses the personal views of its author, and may not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of the Federalist Party.