Meanwhile, the future of Northern Ireland is also being openly discussed. Under the current withdrawal agreement, Northern Ireland will already be subjected to more EU rules and regulations than the rest of the UK. This shows that the country remains divided – but no longer along economic lines. Social divides and values, as well as Brexit, are becoming new fault lines in British politics.
There has been a rush by both defeated Remainers and supporters of the Labour Party to say that Boris Johnson’s victory for Brexit means Scottish independence is a near certainty given the country’s stunning returns for the Scottish Nationalist Party, which defiantly favoured remaining in the EU. Less discussed however is that independence becomes vastly harder and economically costlier for Scotland once Britain leaves the bloc. Given Britain will now be leaving both the Customs Union and the Single Market any future border between England and Scotland would have to be a hard border, as hard as any of the EU’s other external borders, with no treaty like the Good Friday Agreement with the Republic of Ireland binding both parties to keep it an open border. The nightmare scenario for Scottish nationalists is that Brexit not only kills Corbynism, but also their dream of independence by making the break much harsher and economically disruptive than voters may want to handle. Especially, given the fact Scotland risks having its membership application vetoed as a breakaway state by Spain to send a message to Catalonia and having to commit to join a very unpopular Euro. Nationalist promises of an open border, easy EU membership and keeping the Pound risk now being exposed as unattainable unicorns in the years ahead — or even a future referendum.
Copyright: DANIEL SORABJI / AFP