The Welsh like business as usual, steady as she goes politics. Even devolution, now entrenched as the political will of the public, was almost a step too far in 1997, only ushered in thanks to just a few thousand votes in Carmarthenshire in the dying hours of the referendum night.

Since then, Wales has embraced the same party over and over again, though with little care for how they govern. While we have a revolutionary streak, harboured over centuries in a left wing politics, during elections we leave the drama to other countries. Apathy trumps engagement.

This week will be no different. Welsh Labour – reliable, consistent, familiar – can be confident of a strong performance in the local elections, which rarely matter in the grand scheme of things.

They are a tactical barometer of mood, a reflection of how a national government is performing rather than a strategic set of results for political parties.

READ MORE: Wales is Labour, Labour is Wales. Now and probably forever

Though this time is slightly different, of course: for our prime minister no election has been so significant.

Yet for all this drama to come, for the future of the UK only one exit poll matters this week: not in Wales, Scotland or England, but Northern Ireland.

Dramatic forecasts for the Stormont assembly put Sinn Féin six points ahead of the DUP; and, if realised on Thursday, would mean Northern Ireland has its first ever nationalist head of government as first minister.

Nationalists and unionists know it wouldn’t lead to better government, since the DUP have not committed to serving under a Sinn Féin-led executive and its leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, has so far refused to return to government if his party’s demands on the post-Brexit protocol are not addressed.

A Sinn Féin first minister makes a united Ireland more likely than it has ever been before.

The destabilisation of the UK will only grow as the looming prospect of a border poll and another referendum in Scotland continues.

These developments, coupled with the Conservative party’s deliberate provocation on devolution and inability to heal intergovernmental relations after Brexit, means that the future of the UK is still a debate that must be had.

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Wales has been more confident to engage in these discussions than before. Plaid Cymru may not be in government but they, alongside Mark Drakeford’s Welsh Labour party, view a reformed constitution as a key political priority.

Though they reach marginally different conclusions on the matter – what are the tangible differences between radical federalism and a Benelux-style independence model? – they both agree that the current framework undermines Wales’ sovereignty, stalls economic redistribution and worsens relations between governments.

Welsh independence is not the answer right now, at least if you ask over two-thirds of the Welsh public.

READ MORE: UK must move on from narrow ‘winner takes all’ answer to constitutional question

If a referendum was held today, it would surely be lost but perhaps with a tighter margin than people would expect.

The Welsh, across all key demographics, are happy with devolution and would like more powers. I suspect this is why Labour’s mantra of ‘Standing up for Wales’ has been so popular: we would like to be given what we want, but expect not to.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones, writing in The Guardian, concluded his recent assessment of support for independence by asking “if the Welsh aren’t going to be allowed to have what they want, what do they then do about it?”

This is the constitutional conundrum that demands an answer soon. Not just from the public, but also Welsh Labour – soon to be the only party leading a government in the UK that supports the UK, alongside the English Conservative party.

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Mark Drakeford has been the only major party leader who has engaged constructively in the possible reforms to the constitution.

Calls to listen to him on devolving powers, the framework of intergovernmental relations, and the nature of sovereignty in modern Britain have fallen on deaf ears in Whitehall. In spite of its relevance, a Welsh government backed constitutional commission is likely to do the same beyond Offa’s Dyke.

Before long, there will be an urgency to consider the constitutional options facing us once again. After all, if the winds in Scotland and Northern Ireland blow in one direction, and England continues to be plagued by a government that fails to understand each different nation and the structures of devolution, what will Wales do next? As ever, it will only be Welsh Labour that decides. Business as usual.

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