Re-balancing the constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom

A key challenge and accompanying opportunity presented by the Covid 19 pandemic and its consequences is to re-balance the constitutional structures of the United Kingdom which, in their current arrangements, are no longer fit for purpose. Covid 19 has shone a spotlight on what was already a known problem. The country is not governable effectively under the present arrangements because the imbalance between, within and amongst the four nations is unsustainable. Tensions which already exist will inexorably increase and examples abound. There is a real danger that Scotland will vote for independence. Conscious that it took over four years to unscramble 40 years of union with Europe (and that task is far from complete), how long would it take to deconstruct over 400 years of union with Scotland. It is highly likely that Northern Ireland will follow the Scots lead and seek to join the Republic of Ireland, and Wales will become increasingly uncomfortable overshadowed by a neighbour nearly twenty times her size of population. Finally, over 55 million English, in such diverse cultural and geographical groups as Cornwall to Northumberland, are already uncomfortable lacking an English parliament and with a remote metropolitan government in London controlling every nook and cranny of their lives. So it is that the United Kingdom is in grave danger of not remaining united whilst a putative national parliament in London becomes increasingly unpopular and irrelevant to the daily lives of more and more citizens outside the M25. Emerging from the pandemic provides a perfect opportunity to tackle this conundrum. Now is the time to re-balance our constitution and strengthen the bonds amongst, within and between our nations and our regions, by building sustainable structures for the better governance of our country before it is too late.




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