Monday, February 29, 2016

The myth of sovereignty in the UK and Europe

I couldn't agree more with this article by Toubeau and Murkens. This is the best part: "constitutional transformations since 1997 have reduced the UK government’s policy reach in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Devolved governments now have the power to pass laws in a number of policy areas from healthcare, education and housing, to transport and policing that differ from those passed by Westminster. More importantly, consider clause 2 of the Scotland Bill 2015 by which the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government become ‘a permanent part of the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements’. If passed, this clause will entrench devolution against the legislative reaches of the Westminster Parliament – which is nothing short of revolutionary in constitutional terms. So with respect to the government of regions now ruled by devolved bodies, the Westminster model has also effectively ceased to exist. Put differently, the major political changes and constitutional reforms of the past 20 years have given rise to practices more typical of a federal system than of the Westminster model, such as the sharing of power, the decentralisation of authority, and the coordination of policy between different parties and governments. In the absence of a better name, Vernon Bogdanor has referred to the new settlement as the New British Constitution. These domestic transformations and their effect on the rising practice of power-sharing should inform the UK’s relationship with the EU. The reality is that, much like at home, sovereignty and power in the EU are shared between the political union and its constituent parts."

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