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Wales signals shaking London off |
Thu Mar 1, 2012 11:31AM GMT
"Some times you get the feeling it's our turn. We can’t expect the constitutional arrangements of the 19th century to last until the 21st."
Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones
Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones has called for constitutional changes to the United Kingdom to ensure “the voice of Wales is not lost” following Scotland’s recent independence campaign.
“Sometimes you get the feeling it’s our turn. The reality is that devolution does affect the whole of the UK. Wales has a voice and has a view,” he told Huffington Post.
“Scotland is not that much bigger than Wales. It’s five million, we’re three million. So, it does attract a lot of attention,” he added.
Jones who has been the most powerful Welsh Labour figure since the ouster of the Gordon Brown Labour government two years ago also called for a constitutional review in Britain so that every part of the country has its own voice very similar to the federal system in the US.
“I think the UK has a future but it must adapt its constitution,” he said.
“We can’t expect the constitutional arrangements of the 19th century to last until the 21st. I think what we need is a bit of clarity in terms of … how powers are transferred from Westminster to their devolved regions,” he added.
Jones pointed to the issue of devolution as a specially problematic area that needs to be examined as it promotes the idea of “English votes for English laws” yet when it comes to major decisions or international relations it turns into English votes for everyone across the Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as England.
“Where does that leave for example UK ministers in the European council who are casting a vote on behalf of the UK. Why should the UK agriculture minister, who is in effect the agriculture minister for England, be casting a vote on behalf of the UK?” he said.
He specifically pointed to a paradigm based on the US example saying “that’s one possibility” which is especially relevant when it comes to the House of Lords similar to the upper houses of parliaments in other countries.
“So why not, for example, have representation on an equal basis from different parts of the UK; Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and then you have a geographically based house and a house based on population, which I think is a good thing,” he explained.
His comments follow months of the Scottish Nationalist Party lobbying for a referendum on Scottish independence from Britain that would end the UK, as the world has known it for some 300 years.
Considering the fact that the Northern Irish nationalists have long fought for independence from Britain, the prospects of Wales’ separation along with Scotland could spell the end for UK, that would be henceforth be known as England with almost half of its former territory.