As we try to make sense of the twists and turns of Brexit politics, Westminster can seem like Alice’s Wonderland. The mad riddle of Brexit, in its latest immediate version, is the obsessive concern for MPs and much of the media. ‘How long is forever?’ Alice asked. ‘Sometimes just one second’ replied the White Rabbit. In radically uncertain and unsettled times, an academic perspective – stepping back and trying to frame the current drama in the longer-term – could add something different to the debate.
The Commission on Justice in Wales, chaired by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, will further clarify the legal and political identity of Wales within the UK constitution. Doing so, explains Prof Dan Wincott, will also bring clarity to the enduring significance of other territorial legal jurisdictions.
Brexit is re-making the UK’s constitution under our noses.
The territorial constitution is particularly fragile. Pursuing Brexit, Theresa May’s government has stumbled into deep questions about devolution. The territorial politics of Brexit is a bewildering mix of ignorance, apparent disdain, confrontation, cooperation and collaboration. Rarely have the so-called devolution ‘settlements’ appeared more unsettled.