On 24th July 2019 Boris Johnson superseded Theresa may as the next prime minister of the United Kingdom. Now people are asking: could he be the last?
With vastly differing Brexit objectives on the table, it would not be surprising if Johnson’s no deal Brexit is remembered as the event that breaks up the UK.
Brexit support in England:
The strongest support for Brexit comes from English nationalist voters, who don’t care much for the Union. “They regard it as not very interesting,” says Rob Ford, professor of politics at the University of Manchester “and when they view it as an obstacle to Brexit, they will see it as something to throw under the bus.”
In England, Brexit can therefore be described as an England-first cause.
Brexit support in Northern Ireland:
However, this juxtaposes the will of Unionist Brexit voters in Northern Ireland, who see any kind of separation from the UK mainland as unthinkable.
While these Unionists would choose a border between the Republic of Ireland over a sea border with Britain, this is not the case for the rest of Northern Ireland. Hardline republicans would like to see a united Ireland and an increasing percentage of the population are not identifying as Republican or Unionist. While they may not have previously been invested either way, a no deal Brexit may cause this group to hop off the fence and land in favour of a united Republic. Given a chance to vote then, Northern Ireland might just return to its southern counterpart in a bid to stay in the EU.
Brexit support in Scotland:
Back in 2014, the Scottish Referendum voted saw Scotland stay in the UK by a margin of 55% to 45%.
After 62% of Scotland voted to remain in the EU and Johnson’s Conservative Party is now agitating for the hardest form of Brexit, it is understandable why Scottish nationalists may be feeling optimistic about a second independence vote. Opposition to Brexit in Scotland now lines up with Scottish independence.
Brexit support in Wales:
Although Wales did vote in favour of Brexit, what it lacks in a strong independence movement, it makes up for in a strong nationalist movement that historically dislikes the tories. So it seems Boris will have a job to bring even Wales on board, despite sharing the same basic goal.
Where Britain will be in the following years is uncertain, but what is clear is that Boris’ love for the Union between the four nations might just end in heartbreak.