The fundamental idea at the heart of our party is federalism, the sharing and distribution of power between different tiers of democratic government in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. Power should be exercised and decisions should be taken at the closest practical level of government to the people affected. This entails multi-tiered government that is as effective and efficient as possible, and ties together communities at different levels of society, such as local, regional, national or global whilst giving local communities the greatest freedom possible.
In such a federal system, the multiple tiers of government which comprise the federation must exist on an equal footing, where relations between them are governed by a common institutional and constitutional framework, and subject to the rule of law. Furthermore, each tier must be democratic, deriving authority and legitimacy from the continually renewed consent of the governed, elected through free and fair elections, and be open, transparent and accountable.
As federalists, we reject the tendency to centralise power and decision-making, except where it is necessary to achieve efficient outcomes. Excessive concentration of power and governmental overreach leads to overbearing, inefficient and deeply bureaucratic governance which is distant and out of touch with ordinary people and their concerns. Whilst political power should be exercised at the lowest level of government, some issues inherently require some degree of coordination or direction at a regional, national, supranational or global level. Federalism advocates that governance at such levels should avoid using bilateral or multilateral means which are often undermined by complex power relations between states, but rather through a structured democratic system of shared institutions.
The Federalist Party will actively campaign for the implementation of our democratic principles at all levels of government, from the lowest to the highest. We will seek to reform the distribution of power in our political systems according to the principle of subsidiarity, and we will seek to introduce the basic principles of democracy, transparency and accountability wherever they are lacking.
Thus, we will seek political and constitutional reform to provide that power be distributed efficiently and fairly between Westminster and national, regional and local government around the Home Nations. Many people up and down the UK feel distant, disconnected from and unrepresented by Westminster politics. We believe that federalism can empower these people and engage them in political decisions. But federalism cannot simply be imposed from the centre, it must equally be nurtured and enabled to develop from the bottom-up. Therefore, it should be up to the people in each part of the UK to decide how national, regional and local government should be organised there, within the context of a federal UK.
We believe that federalism bridges the gap between competing demands for both a stronger union and for more local self-determination, enabling unity whilst respecting and enhancing diversity. We believe that the United Kingdom is greater than the sum of its parts, and as such, we reject narrow nationalistic calls from some parts of the UK for separation and absolute independence. We propose instead a system of shared power based on equality.
We will support any measures or proposals that will redistribute political power in the United Kingdom in accordance with subsidiarity, even if these do not necessarily or directly draw on other federalist principles. We will always favour the right of local self-determination in deciding the status of any part of the UK. We will respect the outcome of any referendum on independence, provided that it is conducted fairly, freely and within the rule of law.
We will advocate for greater democratisation in international politics, and support both the development of new institutions and the reform of existing institutions along democratic and federalist principles. We believe that such forms of co-operation are essential elements to the building of a stable, secure and prosperous world in which democracy and global governance can eventually take the place of aggression, coercion and conflict as a basis for future international relations. Only through these means can an increasing number of global and transnational challenges such as climate change, migration and human trafficking, terrorism and organised crime, and international development.