The Solution to UK’s political problems
The solution is to deliver regional devolution which means reform towards a UK federation
For each of the four problems associated with UK politics – regional inequalities, national inequalities, the relationship with the EU and our broken domestic politics – it seems regional devolution and reform towards a federation is the overwhelmingly significant answer.
Fixing Regional Inequalities
Regional devolution has two main effects on regional inequalities. Firstly, it creates eight new centres of power that can reduce the relentless focus on London. Secondly, it allows politics to be done and funding spent more specifically. There are more eyes on the issues and brains to work out the solutions, flexibility to tailor strategy and a better feeling of ownership and agency for the local people.
Fixing National Inequalities
Regional devolution would mean something like a 12-member UK federation with similar powers for each region and nation. The devolved powers can be increased too – something that is difficult while England remains a unitary state with the bulk of the population. It means that, for example, Scotland, Wales and London need only get a few more regions onside to outnumber the others and direct UK policy. Something that is impossible while the UK parliament is 85% English.
Understanding the EU
With regional devolution, democracy gets delivered as a hierarchy of decision-making and the British would gain experience of how communities work together in a union despite the loss of sovereignty that means. This means the British would understand the EU better and the point of ceding some higher powers in return for more control over regional powers.
It also means UK turnout at EU elections would increase as people see better how EU democracy functions: In the current system, with one centre of power, people see Brussels as another centre of power, an empire competing with the UK. Anti-EU folk turnout to elect anti-Brussels MEPs and pro-EU folk fail to see the point of turning out.
Better Domestic Politics
Regional devolution means nine new English regional governments and a bigger political ecosystem. This means there are more spaces and opportunities for creative policies, parties and politicians to get tried out, tested, judged, rejected, copied or moved up to the UK federal level. No longer will we be a two-party state with half of our politicians from one school or university.