Brief departure from my current series on European Federalism to bring you some British Federalism instead!
In the wake of the Scottish independence referendum, which I believe will fail (albeit narrowly), it is clear that the current political structure of the UK is no longer sufficient. With support for an independence referendum on the increase in Wales, and calls for devolved Cornish and English assemblies, I believe the answer to the devolution crisis in the UK lies in a federal system. I propose (initially) dividing the UK into 6 states, with powers similar to those of Scotland's 'devo-max' proposal, whilst retaining the national parliament in Westminster and the monarchy. 4 of the 6 proposed states already have a great deal of regional autonomy (if one includes the London assembly), making such a reform relatively easy to implicate. Introducing a federal system to the UK would resolve a great deal of issues, not just the calls for independence from Wales and Scotland, but the West Lothian question (whether British citizens outside of England should get to vote on issues affecting only England), and the growing economic distance between London and the rest of the UK. Similarly, a federal system would also open the doors to the admission of new states outside of the UK, such as the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, and Gibraltar, as their relationship with the UK and EU are increasingly questioned. A federal system would also provide for an easy transfer of Northern Ireland, as giving the region greater powers would allow for it to form agreements with the Irish Republic at its own pace, rather than having to rely on Westminster to act on its behalf. Furthermore, such a system also holds the potential to see Ireland admitted as a state, should it be desired, providing an alternative solution to the Northern Ireland issue (albeit, not one that I'd advocate). As England would be by far the most populous state, I have included a proposal to further divide England into 7 states to provide better representation of regional issues, which would potentially bring the total number of states to 12. I chose Birmingham as the seat for the English parliament, owing to it frequently being called England's 'second city', though I realise Manchester and other historic capitals, such as Winchester, are equally valid proposals.
Whilst I am not a patriot by any stretch of the imagination, I believe a federal system the best way to preserve the integrity of the union, which is incredibly important for historical and cultural regions, whilst addressing the many shortcomings of the current method of devolution.