Scotland, Northern Ireland but even things like letter from PM Theresa May to Isle of Man pledging to take the island’s interests into account during the Brexit negotiations.UK is the own cosmos of interests regarding Brexit. So will UK survive Brexit as the state or you are worried the unity, and why? Read few comments.
Chad Martin, Associate Professor of History, University of Indianapolis
I do not think anyone knows the answer to your question, least of all May & Sturgeon. Obviously, May does not want to spend the next two years negotiating exit terms with the EU with the shadow of a Scottish exit from the UK hanging over her head. That’s why she has pledged that “now is not the time” for another referendum. It would be a distraction at best & would seriously weaken her negotiating position at worst. Without the approval of Westminster there can be no binding referendum on Scottish independence & nothing can force the government to approve such a referendum. So, for the next two years of negotiations there won’t be any change in the status of Scotland. That actually might work to Sturgeon’s advantage as well, since polls show that there has not been a huge spike in pro-independence feeling in Scotland – pro-independence support still can’t break 50%. In two years time (with the 2020 General Election around the corner) it may be a different story, but it all depends on how the Brexit negotiations progress. No one knows the final form Brexit will take & the impact it will have, hence all of the worrying & hand-wringing. We are in unknown territory, with the position of Scotland frozen until the Brexit negotiations are complete.
As far as Northern Ireland goes, the general take is that Nationalists voted to stay in the EU & Unionists voted to leave, so that the issue doe not cut across traditional political divisions. The power-sharing government has just collapsed (as of Monday). The last thing Northern Ireland needs added uncertainty due to Brexit. According to the Good Friday accords the British government is obligated to allow Northern Ireland a referendum on unifying with the Republic of Ireland if there is clear evidence of such a desire. However, that would mean that some Ulster Unionists would have to overcome their historic (as in, dating back to the 1600s) opposition to such a political arrangement. Will the economic fallout of Brexit be drastic enough to force such a monumental change? As I said, at this point no one knows, but if I had to bet I would so “no.” There is an argument that a Scottish vote to leave would nudge those in Northern Ireland who are undecided to vote to unify, but as I said above such a vote won’t happen before Brexit has been accomplished. Demographics do favor an eventual unification of Ireland (simply put, the Catholic population is growing faster than the Protestant population) but that has nothing to do with Brexit and is more than two years in the future.
James Strong, Fellow in Foreign Policy Analysis and International Relations, London School of Economics (LSE)
Brexit clearly puts the long-term future of the UK in some doubt. Its consequences look especially dangerous for Northern Ireland, but we should note that the ‘leave’ vote was as much a vote against London by the rest of England as a vote by Britain against the EU. It seems more likely than not that the UK will survive, for the simple reason that the arguments against leaving the UK are the same as the arguments against leaving the EU. But if the EU begins to look more open to admitting former members of the UK as full members of the EU – an option not currently on the table – we may see Scotland in particular reconsider its position.
Neil McGarvey, Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde
Whether the UK, in its current form, can survive Brexit is an open question. At present the Northern Ireland Assembly is in suspension and the re-imposition of direct rule from London remains possible unless the unionist and nationalist sides can comer to an agreement. Brexit and the potential re-introduction (contrary to the Good Friday Peace Agreement) of a ‘hard’ border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will present new complications.
Scotland looks increasingly likely that it will host a second independence referendum on the question of independence at some point in the near future. The Scottish nationalist narrative for this referendum is Scotland being taken outside the EU against its will (62% voted remain), and the London UK Government not listening to either the Scottish people or its Parliament/Government. Polls remain in the 45-50% Yes/50-55% No region (as they have been since 2014) but the triggering of Article 50 by Theresa May’s Government and the ensuing negotiations is likely to result in some movement in these polls.
Jo Murkens, Associate Professor, Department of Law, London School of Economics (LSE)
PM Theresa May wants the UK to unite on the question of EU withdrawal and negotiate exit with the backing of regional leaders in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. However, her approach to date has resulted in talk about Irish reunification, the prospect of Scottish independence, and Welsh alienation. Far from securing the unity of the UK, the Prime Ministers determined strategy is likely to push the country to breaking point.