One to Watch – Labour’s Campaign for Federalism

Elin de Zoete

Today we’ve seen the soft launch of Labour’s Campaign for Federalism, a group who are calling for us to “forge a new vision of statehood” which is fit for the 21st century and our current political context.

Its launch statement, the only thing on its website so far, says:

The state we are in has to change – we must recast these islands with a new covenant of nations.
The central question too often lost in our constitutional debate is this: how do we share these islands, this common treasury? In other words, how do ancient nations live with our neighbours to ensure our common good and future prosperity?

Many in the Labour movement have been federalists for years or for a lifetime. Others will have been brought to this point from neccesity or frustration. We all now stand in an urgent moment. A federal future can yet open up new opportunities for all our peoples that might soon be lost to competition and chaos. Our ambition must be to lead, as we have often done before. We must forge a new vision of statehood for the 21st century, moving past the frontiers of 19th century ideas of the nation-state.
It is time for Labour to get on the front foot – to argue for a constitution from a position of values. Equality, solidarity and community.

As the Labour Campaign for Federalism we believe that:

  • Labour must urgently develop a lasting and holistic vision for the constitution of these islands.
  • A scheme for federalism should be developed and supporters must campaign to have this scheme adopted as party policy as soon as possible.
  • There should be a wide-ranging Constitutional Convention ensuring democratic renewal that puts people at the heart of our politics and governance.

It will be interesting to see which MPs and MSPs pile in behind this. From his comments over the last week we suspect Tristram Hunt MP, who was considering a run for Labour Leader but instead backed Liz Kendall yesterday, could be one of the first on the ticket.

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