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Federalism for Wales and Scotland ‘harder to fashion’ than independence says Guardian columnist

06 Mar 2021 2 minutes Read
Simon Jenkins at Policy Fight Club by Policy Exchange

A federal UK would be “harder to fashion” than allowing it to break up according to a Guardian columnist.

Simon Jenkins said that Scottish independence may now be unavoidable and it would be easier for the UK Government to be its “curator” not its “victim”.

He said that devolution had not worked “because London could not be trusted to keep its sticky hands off the levers of central power”.

And he said of independence: “Once the idea takes hold of a nation’s political soul it is never satisfied until, in some sense, it is achieved.

“The only question is what form should independence take, and how contentious and painful is the route map.”

He said that he felt that deep down the people of Scotland and Wales would prefer some kind of federalism within the UK.

“My sense is that most Scots (and some Welsh) want to have similar constitutionally entrenched autonomy to that enjoyed by American states, German Länder and Spanish autonomous regions,” he said.

“At present Downing Street seems petrified of granting any such delegated power and is set on the reverse.”

But he added that this may be more difficult than allowing the UK to break up completely: “One alternative, a federated British ‘home rule for all’ of English, Welsh and Scottish parliaments, would be harder to fashion,” he said.

“This is what needs discussing. Scottish independence may well be unavoidable, and it will save the Tory party a deal of trouble to be its curator not its victim.

“That is the more reason to make it a collaborative project and, if need be, to help Scotland on its way.”

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