The Strategy for reforming UK

A UK Federation of Regions and Nations

Such a radical reform will need radical strategies…

Let’s face it; reforming the UK into a federation of regions and nations is a very tricky task. The British are not exactly used to the idea, and there would be hostility from every corner of the country, from voters of every political flavour.

But there is a lot of evidence to show a strong trend for devolution, a strong desire for closer control over political decision-making. And the idea is present on pretty much every manifesto, even if some are talking about the wrong kinds of devolution.

Let’s look closer at the strategy, to get from where we are now, to where we should be.

A Common Agenda

Devolution is already a common agenda for Labour (both left and centre), the Lib Dems and the Greens. Moving decision-making away from Westminster is a common policy to SNP, Plaid Cymru and a host of regional parties such as Yorkshire Party. This reform even finds favour with the right-wing with UKIP, Reform and Conservative supporters realising that local autonomy might be the path to getting their policies into action.

Understanding that this reform is quite radical, it will take radical action to bring it about – a cross-party, non-partisan effort that only argues for better politics – and never for more of a particular strand of politics, never for the benefit of a single ideology.

But there will also be competing ideas that will claim to improve the political enfranchisement of the people. From Swiss-style cantonisation, to add-hoc city, metro and country mayors sprinkled around the country – from beefing up local authorities to having a UK Senate of the Regions and Nations take on a House of Lords role.

Some of these could be steps to where we want to go, some of them might be constitutional dead-ends that soak up the energy for reform but don’t deliver any real benefits.

The Primary Reform That We Need

The second item in the strategy to bring about devolution and federal reform is understanding that it is the primary reform that will kick-start everything else, whether proportional representation, reversing Brexit, preserving the union, building support for national independence or levelling up left-behind communities. All of those things are easier to do when there are around twelve regional and national governments. Some of them are effectively impossible to achieve without such constitutional change.

As a primary reform, it seems sensible to focus on this, at the expense of other agendas. This is because going into an election with a manifesto bulging with reforms is rarely a good idea and it’s best to keep it simple. Not just because it becomes all too much – but also because the public and media might highlight a tricky policy and claim that, to avoid it, we should avoid the primary policy of devolution and federation.

A simple analogy: A policy to build a garage and workshop doesn’t need to be weighed down with a whole load of other policies like building a driveway to the workshop – or threatened with a more divisive policy of building cars in the new workshop.

But the really important thing to get here is that there is an immense boost to this reform if all the pro-PR fans, pro-EU fans, independence fans put aside their agendas and focus their political energy on this one thing.

Mainstreaming This Reform

It seems we’re so close and yet so far. So many political problems that are solved with regional devolution and federation but the clich√© is that the F-word is taboo – and the British do not want this reform. Even if the British have received devolution where it exists with enthusiasm. Even if such a system works, not only for large European countries, but also the large anglophone countries in North America and Oceania.

So the third step, once we have understood that it is a cross-party reform, once we have understood that it is a primary reform, is to mainstream the concept. Like many paradigm shifts, like pointing out the Emperor is so obviously naked, we believe the momentum will be unstoppable once the are brakes released, the deluge unstoppable once a multitude of political agendas flow in the same direction – and it will soon seem crazy that we once did all of our politics in one place.