The loneliness of the devolutionist unionist

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Series Details 02.05.17
Publication Date 02/05/2017
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The UK in a Changing Europe promotes rigorous, high-quality and independent research into the complex and ever changing relationship between the UK and the European Union (EU).

It provides an authoritative, non-partisan and impartial reference point for those looking for information, insights and analysis about UK-EU relations that stands aside from the politics surrounding the debate.

The Initiative’s work is tailored to be easily accessible to policy makers, businesses, journalists, civil society organisations, educational institutions and the general public who are interested in the UK’s relationship with the EU.

It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and based at King’s College London.Brexit will clearly have enormous implications for the UK’s external relations. But it is also having a large impact on the UK’s internal politics: it has already helped reignite the Scottish independence issue, and played a significant role in the latest bout of political turbulence in Northern Ireland.

Things are rather less dramatic in Wales. Here there is a long-term public consensus in support of devolution; while most people want some autonomy in the UK, few wish to go as far as independence. But that is not to say that all is well. Indeed, Wales arguably helps point to some broader problems with the Union, which Brexit has helped to bring to the fore.

The Labour Welsh Government has adopted a position that might reasonably term ‘radical devolutionist unionism’. They wish to stay in the UK, but wish for that state to change in some radical ways that would significantly further empower the devolved nations. Unfortunately for them, they find themselves in a very lonely position: they are the only government in the UK that believes in this.

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Related Links
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
ESO: Background information: The impact of a snap election on devolution
Blog: Welsh Brexit, 03.05.17: The loneliness of the devolutionist unionist

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