Earlier this month the Japanese car maker Honda revealed (18/2/19) are likely to close their Swindon factory in the coming years, putting all 3,500 of their employees at the site out of work. This news came just a day after the airline FlyBmi collapsed and earlier this month the decision by Nissan not to build a new model in Sunderland. We also had similar news from other global brands such as Dyson and Sony whilst Toyota and Airbus have both expressed very serious concerns. All of these events and issues are linked by a common thread: the thus-far total and unmitigated disaster that has been the handling of Brexit negotiations and subsequent indecision and infighting by MPs and the government.
The world has witnessed the British political establishment descend into chaos and disorder as the decrepit and outdated Westminster political system creaks on with its wigs, its ancient and ridiculously time-consuming voting system, and a thousand other eccentricities. An orderly system of government is the foundation of a successful society and a prosperous economy. Losing sight of that everlasting truth may prove disastrous. But as our politics reveals itself as a stale and repetitive pantomime, our prosperity is going down the pan. Businesses and employers ditch their plans in Britain and head off in search of calmer seas.
The chaos of Brexit is far more destructive than either Brexit itself or the status quo that preceded it. Love it or hate it, Brexit is a catalyst for change. It is time for urgent and substantial political reform to make our politics work for ordinary citizens and local communities throughout the UK. Some positive developments have emerged from the mess, such as the introduction of proxy voting. But such small steps, important though they are, are nothing more than tinkering. The UK needs a written constitution which places all parts of the UK and all of its citizens on a much fairer and more equal footing. With a federal system which ensures the voices of communities and regions around the UK can have their voices listened to, and only as much power as is necessary is handed to upper tiers of government. We also urgently need electoral reform to make sure MPs are genuinely representative and held accountable to their constituents.
If the UK had an effective, responsive and truly representative parliament in a system of efficiently distributed power that put ordinary citizens in the driving seat of our democracy and kept bureaucracy to an absolute minimum, then we simply wouldn’t be in this mess. Whether or not you believe in Brexit, unless we fix our political system, our politicians will always be remote and out of touch with real people and communities.
With just days left until the UK leaves the European Union on 29 March, it’s time we started thinking about our politics and how we want to make it better.
By Robert Jones
Federalist Party Leader
Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of the Party.