March 2022 sees the release of A League-Union of the Isles. Conceived as a reflection on Glyndwr Cennydd Jones’s constitutional writing since 2016, it encompasses an exploration of devolution, federalism, confederalism, and more significantly—that possible middle ground—confederal-federalism.
Not wishing to alienate the generally moderate elements of both unionism and nationalism to the substance of the proposition, he labels the alternative as a League-Union of the Isles and sets out a detailed description of what such a framework might look like.
Devolution involves a sovereign Westminster, in effect, delegating a measure of sovereign authority to the devolved institutions. A League-Union of the Isles turns this constitutional approach on its head, advocating four sovereign nations of radically different population sizes delegating some sovereign authority to central bodies in agreed areas of common interest such as internal trade, currency, large-scale economic considerations, defence and foreign policy, with the British monarch continuing in role.
The work goes on to discuss the main drivers and influences of geography, history, industry, peoples and politics on our island story, whilst synthesising the evidence in a manner clearly to advance the case for a constitutional compromise of strategic significance.
The fact that the four constituent nations of the UK took different tacks in their responses to the Covid-19 challenges in recent years has reaffirmed the national borders extant within these isles. Further, the trend for significant divergence in policy stances across the various parliaments has compounded other clear political disagreements centred on constitutional change, including Brexit, with different parties holding power in each institution for over ten years. The customary argument that absolute parliamentary sovereignty should rest continually and solely with Westminster stands challenged.
Today, we are confronted by unprecedented constitutional challenges and tests which require exploration of fresh solutions and governance models for the future. As the world now knows to its cost, climate change, pandemics, conflict, and economic repercussions respect no national boundaries. We should therefore approach our constitutional deliberations in the spirit of consensus-building and cooperation, and with a firm eye on the needs and aspirations of those future generations who will call these isles their home…
In his preface to the book, Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales: 2009-2018 writes:
‘Glyndwr has been an important part of the debate around constitutional futures and I welcome his latest contribution to the ideas that have been generated, particularly in the aftermath of Brexit. We will all have our thoughts as to what the future relationships between the nations of these islands should look like but it is important that there is an informed debate on what kind of future would get the greatest possible support from the public.’
A League-Union of the Isles is available here as an e-book
and here as an easily printable pdf version.
Glyndwr Cennydd Jones is an advocate for greater cross-party consensus in Wales and for a UK-wide constitutional convention. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Welsh Affairs.