The future of the UK – Part IV of Constitutional Convention plans

What is the future of the UK? Lee Waters invites you to help shape the design of the Crowd Sourced Constitutional Convention

The fourth and fifth stages of our Crowd Sourced Constitutional Convention will focus on the future of the UK and ask ‘What is Wales for?’.

Just as we are ‘crowd sourcing’ the funding to try and help us hold this innovative experiment in deliberative democracy, we are also ‘crowd sourcing’ the design of the debate.  This week on Click on Wales we are posting the working drafts of our plans for each of the stages of the eight-week project for you to shape.

After considering the purpose of the UK,  how we create a more prosperous Wales and how to create a fairer Wales in the initial phases, we’ll move on to the future of the UK.

As with all the themes four cross-cutting themes have guided the design of our questions:

  • Performance to date
  • Barriers to progress
  • Capacity and calibre
  • Do we need more powers to identify these problems?
The fourth phase of our Constitutional Convention will start on Monday March 2nd, which is the day we expect the Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, to publish the St David’s Day declaration – the result of cross-party talks at Westminster on further devolution to Wales.  We do not yet know what the outcome of these talks will be but we will allow time at the beginning of the phase to debate and digest the announcement.
Here is our plan for the rest of the phase:
  1. England

    1. Should there be an England only level of government?

    2. What should it do?

    3. How should it be related to the UK Government?

  1. Federal arrangement

    1. What does the debate around England mean for the rest of the UK?

    2. Is a federal arrangement the only way forward?

  1. Funding

    1. How would a future arrangement be funded?

    2. Should the Welsh Government be responsible for raising the money it spends?

  1. Europe

    1. What are the implications for the future of the UK Wales of an EU in/out referendum?

Our fifth and final phase in the final week will bring together the discussion to date and go back to first principles to ask ‘What is Wales for?’. This open question will be shaped by the previous debate, but we anticipate that it will address the roles of the multiple layers of governance within Wales.

We’d value your input to try and shape this attempt at engaging the public in a debate about our country’s future.  Also if you are able to make a financial contribution to help us reach the potential of this initiative please donate here.


[* The expert group we consulted on the design of the first and fourth stage included Prof Laura McAllister, Prof Richard Wyn Jones,  Steve Brooks,  Emyr Lewis, Lee Waters, Jess Blair, Paul Silk, David Stevens, and Geraint Talfan Davies]

Lee Waters is IWA Director.

12 thoughts on “The future of the UK – Part IV of Constitutional Convention plans

  1. A really valuable and welcome contribution is being shaped here.
    Just 2 points:
    1. Is there a need for different ways and levels of engagement.? At the moment there seems to be a one dimension of entry to contributing to the debate. Could there be scope for very simple contributions – a click on a multiple choice range of options for example to sit alongside the existing option. Although more superficial, it is better than no engagement in the process.
    2. Is there a problem in asking people what sort of nation Wales should be when there may be very limited awareness or knowledge of different types of models for nation states – is there scope to share several models of different types of nation states to illustrate the spectrum of choices and opportunities? Otherwise, many may engage within a very narrow framework of perspectives of what they perceive as a model for nation states.
    Keep up the great work

  2. 4. Europe (the continent)

    At the present time, the closest thing the UK has to a written constitution is the Lisbon Treaty (as extended several times…) which was watered down from the original 2004 proposal charmingly called TREATY ESTABLISHING A CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPE. For anybody who missed it…

    Anybody who regards themselves as British, not European, really need not read past this point on page 1 of the tome because the European project has not gone away! The EU Constitution WILL return!

    “CONVINCED that, while remaining proud of their own national identities and history, the peoples of Europe are determined to transcend their former divisions and, united ever more closely, to forge a common destiny,”

    It should, after reading that, be fairly obvious that the only way the UK can now come up with a meaningful constitution is by first freeing ourselves from the shackles imposed by the EU ‘constitution’ and the acquis. I would quite like to lose the EU’s Regions as well and go back to county and metro level devolution under some system of common representation.

    One of the most sensible proposals for leaving the evil empire via Article 50 so far released into the public domain is the FLEXIT plan headed up by Dr. Richard North, arguably one of the few people in the UK who does seem to understand how the wheels go round and round. Guess what, it’s a crowd-sourced project as well…

    People with nothing else to do can read the entire latest draft

    but most people would probably prefer the talking pictures option that only takes up half an hour.

    Meanwhile, to put it bluntly, I can’t be bothered to waste time on another IWA proposal that puts the cart in front of the horse. The west coast of Ireland is quite nice in Spring…

  3. John, our focus is on the future of the UK and the impact an In:Out referendum might have – not a debate about UK membership of the EU, but that is an issue we should return to

  4. The main issue that needs to be discussed is how much European funding would be lost by leaving the EU. The secondary issue would be the political fallout from such a decision. Rather like the Scottish referendum, it is unlikely that the issue would be settled by an out result. The Welsh Government depends a great deal on EU funding but it is not clear how they would act politically if the UK pulled out.

  5. Lee

    An In-Out EU referendum will be a debate about UK membership of the EU! Followed by a vote.

    During the campaign, if it is conducted properly, it is reasonable to assume that the people of all parts of the UK are likely to find out a little more about how they are REALLY governed than most of them know now. This knowledge, much of it outlined in the FLEXIT draft, is quite likely to alter many people’s perception about how many layers of governance they already have and it may start to clarify their minds about how many they feel they actually need… This should be an integral part of any UK constitutional debate.

    FLEXIT isn’t just about leaving the EU, it is about how we are really governed now – about how little power our UK government(s) actually have to share out.

  6. How would Wales fare, in terms of representation, funding, contributions etc. if it were an EU member in tis own right, i.e. if the UK level were somehow removed?

  7. Whether to stay in the EU is not a decision the people of Wales can make while they are in the UK. That decision will be made by the UK electorate as a whole, supposing there is a referendum, which is less than even money at this point. So we can discuss what we want for Wales on two different scenarios – UK in or UK out – but as merely 5 per cent of the UK population we have no control over which scenario we shall face. So that’s an issue for a different forum I would suggest.

  8. Alistair, England does not like any form of investment. It’s purely seen as an expense. The further you get from central London you get the less justified the expense.

    Wales would be better off in every way to shake off exploitative and incompetent English rule.

    Unionists just want to wipe us out and have one England Britain.

    We can’t be worse off.

  9. Gwyn, the trouble is they are subsidizing us by at least £12 billion a year. welsh taxes about £17-18 billion, Welsh govt devolved spending £15 billion, other govt spending in Wales, mainly benefit payments, about £10 billion and our share of debt servicing, “defence” etc £5 billion. Do the arithmetic. We could afford to be on our own if we were happy to abolish all welfare payments. The Welsh economy does not support the people who live here. There is a lot of hard work to do to build it up before we can even talk about independence. That’s why I’d rather talk about the powers required to start that process than have theoretical constitutional discussions about independence or federalism or whatever.

  10. Actually R. Tredwyn I have been through the official Westminster figures. It actually comes to – 1 to -2 billion. For a start you can take off nuclear weapons and the rest of “defence” because it’s nearly all spent on projecting English aggression around the world.

    You lumber us with costs that are not ours.

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