Ever looser union
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Ever Looser Union?. Richard Wyn Jones Canolfan Llywodraethiant Cymru //Wales Governance Centre Prifysgol Caerdydd //Cardiff University. The 3 ¾ constitutional debates…. Scotland, Wales, NI and (increasingly) England NB 18.ix.1997, these debates are linked…

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Ever Looser Union?

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Ever looser union

Ever Looser Union?

Richard Wyn Jones

CanolfanLlywodraethiantCymru//Wales Governance Centre

PrifysgolCaerdydd//Cardiff University


The 3 constitutional debates

The 3¾ constitutional debates…

  • Scotland, Wales, NI and (increasingly) England

  • NB 18.ix.1997, these debates are linked…

  • Scotland continues to inspire and incite

    • England. Resentment about Scotland very prevalent

    • Wales. Constitutional model + FM commentary

  • But debates have their own dynamics & substantial shifts in attitudes now visible in England and Wales (cf. NI?)

  • Scottish result, of course, significant but direction of travel is almost certainly fixed…

    EVER LOOSER UNION


Scotland

Scotland

“Wants home rule not independence” Clegg

Can/will the Unionist parties deliver?

  • Calman not promising…making life difficult not granting usable policy autonomy

  • Can they agree?

  • Will the central state be willing to change?

  • Even if all of this is done, would it be enough…the SNP have defined the middle position!


Scotland which level of government should have most influence

Scotland: ‘Which Level of Government should have most influence?’ (%)


Independent scotland status quo power

Independent Scotland = status quo power

  • An independent Scotland would not seek to encourage centrifugal tendencies in rUK/’Little Britain’.

  • Once a nation joins ‘the club’ drawbridge gets hauled up behind it. True even of revolutionary powers, let alone independent Scotland!

  • cf. Free State and Plaid Cymru in 1930s.

  • More generally, if independence inevitable, pragmatic considerations would reign in the international system.


Wales and ever looser union

Wales and ‘ever looser Union’

  • Silk Commission has recommended devolution of tax powers

  • Welsh Government is using the Silk Part 2 to call for extensive further devolution: reserved powers (cf. Scotland Act 1978), policing with criminal justice to follow

  • Separate jurisdiction regarded as inevitable

  • Welsh Tories: devolve broadcasting

  • And public attitudes…


Ever looser union

Wales: ‘Which level of Government should have most influence? 2013 (%)YouGov Feb./Beaufort May/June NB Different question wordings and options


England and its two unions

England and its Two Unions

  • Deep English mistrust of ‘Europe’ only one manifestation of a deeper unease…

  • Euroscepticism is closely linked to ‘devoanxiety’

  • Support for territorial status quo has plunged (20-25%)

  • Want England ‘recognised’ is some form

  • London/BMEs outliers

    • though English NatID stronger than Brit in London

    • BME identify with England as place if not Nat ID


Eu referendum vote by moreno natid future of england survey 2012

EU referendum vote by Moreno NatID (Future of England Survey 2012)


Devoanxiety by eu membership good or bad foes 2012

Devoanxiety by EU membership good or bad (%)FoES 2012


Constitutional preferences by eu membership good bad foes 2102

Constitutional preferences by EU membership good/bad (%) (FoES 2102)


Two key questions for the future

Two key questions for the future

  • What would a looser union look like constitutionally speaking? Is ‘centre’ willing to change? Jury must be out on that…

  • And what of Northern Ireland? Almost certain that the 2011 census results will show that this is the only part of the UK where British is the plurality NatID. A Britishness, moreover, that few on the larger island understand let alone share


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