Federal United Kingdom

Recent events have suggested the time has come for the United Kingdom to embrace a more Federal structure of political engagement. The old structures are crumbling. The UK - the most successful multi-national state in modern history is at risk of breaking up.

A new federal structure that is fit for purpose is as important as the arrangements for leaving the European Union. If this can’t be worked out then, it’s likely Scotland will secede from the UK and seek its own way in the world.

The recent EU Referendum has exposed the UK’s divisions. A federal arrangement bringing decision making closer to the people is required to heal these divisions. It requires the existing union to be replaced with fully devolved government in the 4 nations of the UK with each having sovereignty over its affairs. Westminster would be reduced with powers over common defence and security matters “pooled” as it were. The 4 nations would have “devolution max”. England would have its own parliament or devolution to cities and regions if that’s what the English want. Disillusionment with politicians, the sense of disconnectedness and abandonment must be sorted. Creating a new structure would help address this.

However, on its own it’s not enough. Along with this structure is a requirement to change the voting system away from first past the post and replace it with a more proportional system of elections. My preference is for STV PR with multi member constituencies. I’d go further and say the party lists for each constituency should be “open” not “closed”. If you electing 5/6 people to a constituency each party should put up 5/6 people and let the voters decide which individuals are elected. at present at most STV PR elections for example in Scotland local government each party only puts up 1 candidate in wards it expects to get people elected from not the 3 or 4 that are available. Open lists give the electorate the choice not the party.

The House of Lords should either be abolished as part of this restructure or, perhaps, made more democratic and function as a senate of the “regions”.

A number of the world’s multi-national states (Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Sudan) have broke apart. Preventing the disintegration of the UK is a significant challenge.