Instead of mourning the potential loss of old friends and colleagues after three hundred years of shared adversity, celebration, achievement and national pride perhaps the result of the recent general election will elicit new creative perspectives on governance of the United Kingdom, the electoral system and voter participation. The Scottish Referendum last year has shown that when the electorate are offered the opportunity to vote on issues of significance then turnout can be greatly increased, interest in political issues is enhanced and political parties may enjoy an upsurge in their support and membership. The danger of unresolved issues or misconceptions remaining unaddressed by the political elite can lead to festering resentment and the growth of unfettered nationalism in those who feel that their voices have not been heard.
The fragmentation of the United Kingdom is now a real possibility and the prospect of a politician being consigned to history as the last British Prime Minister is a daunting proposition. Surely future governments, whatever they constituent elements, must seek ideas, innovation and suggestions from as many ‘stakeholders’ and communities as possible to create a new Britain.
No one asked the Scots, Welsh or Irish if they wanted to join the Union and yet there have been some spectacular successes in business innovation, sporting triumphs, quirky, creative resolutions of different problems which have beset us as well as the growth of tolerance, a work ethic, aspiration, efficient administration, welfare support and the care of all citizens within that enforced framework. There is still much to be done to ensure that a fairer, more equitable society emerges.
A federal Britain could be the answer to the challenges of the new scenario which may be thrown up by the Election. The Swiss model with its written Constitution enshrining the requirement for regular referendums which ensures control remains with the electorate over issues of national importance is worth investigation. Allow the ancient nations of the United Kingdom to revert to their nation status and run their own affairs but within a form of governance where there is fairness, equality and respect leaving shared values and principles intact.
Might the creation of a federal Britain ultimately be in the interests of all constituent parts of the United Kingdom?