Prime Minister Boris Johnson likes big projects, but few are as attractive as a proposal for a physical connection in the Irish Sea between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Whether a multi-billion pound pipeline dream or a sign of ambition befitting the post-Brexit era, a feasibility study is being carried out as part of the government. review on how to better tie the UK and its four constituent nations together. A more pressing concern may be whether one day the relationship can link two independent nations that are no longer part of Great Britain
As Britain marks 100 days since leaving the European Union, disputes have broken out with the continent over issues from customs checks to vaccination shots and financial services.
Domestic tensions raise the specter of a more existential conflict, however, a conflict that will determine whether Johnson’s aim to invade the world under the banner of a revived “Global Britain” is necessary. lowered to the simpler “Global England”.
Scotland will hold an election on May 6 to its parliament in Edinburgh which is voting to determine whether the country has the right to – or needs to – another vote on its constitutional future. Poll recommend The pro-independence Scottish National Party was able to grab a majority, a high standard given the proportional electoral system, and press its demands for a second referendum to secede from Britain.
In Northern Ireland, grievances are being treated over its separate treatment from mainland Britain in the Brexit deal concluded between London and Brussels, and the province’s divided past. resurfacing result of. More than 70 police officers were injured in a week of unrest by pro-British loyalists who threw petrol bombs. The polls show a remarkable shift in sentiment for a region so long dominated by its Unionist community, with the majority now saying they want a vote for reunification with the Republic of Ireland in five years.
Even in Wales, which unlike Scotland or Northern Ireland voted with Britain to support Brexit, support for independence has risen during the coronavirus pandemic. Wales is holding elections for its regional assembly on May 6 as well, and it is possible that the ruling Labor Party could share power with the nationalist Plaid Cymru party. The boxes have promise to hold a vote on Welsh independence in five years.
The breakdown of the three-century union has been the subject of speculation for decades, long before Brexit became part of everyday language. On their own, developments in each of the three countries did not necessarily mean revolutionary change, but spoke of shifting cultural identities and varying degrees of political discontent with the center of power in London.
Taken together, it’s hard to ignore the growing feeling that things will inevitably come to a head, whether to reduce unity or strengthen it, and that Brexit has lent those powers to a larger agency.
“But for Brexit, the unions will be relatively safe, but I’m not really sure right now,” he said Matt Qvortrup, a political science professor at Coventry University who has served as special adviser on British constitutional affairs. Change “will not be the day after tomorrow, but give 10 years.”
The challenge for Johnson, who was the driving force behind the successful campaign to get rid of the EU in what has been called an attempt to reclaim British sovereignty, is how to burn political wounds at home. The dilemma is sharpened by the fact that its Conservatives rule at Westminster, but not in Belfast, Edinburgh or Cardiff, where separate parties are in control, reflecting the different regional preferences of voters under a process known as devolution.
The most powerful of these delegated governments is in Scotland, where it administers most of the policy areas important to everyday life, from health and education to transportation and justice. Britain controls areas including foreign affairs, defense and macroeconomic policy.
Johnson has so far refused to give the government-run SNP the official clearance needed to make another referendum watertight, saying the 2014 vote was a once-in-a-generation event. Scotland chose 55% to 45% to remain in the UK, although at the time there was no inkling Britain would leave the EU.
The focus now, Johnson said, was on rebuilding from a shared pandemic and that constitutional issues were an unwanted distraction. Conservative Leader Johnson in Scotland, Douglas Ross, said that “it’s a recovery or a referendum. We can’t do both. “He asked other opposition parties to cooperate in several electoral districts to stop the nationalists.
The election campaign was suspended the Friday thereafter Dead of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip.
Another SNP landslide – the party has been in power since 2007 – will escalate the stalemate with London and, if Edinburgh raises demand, investors could be scared and the pound will take a hit. There are divisions within Johnson’s party over whether his government should continue to ignore Scotland’s calls for independence or try to buy time and offer enough money or more power in the hope that the problem will fade.
The risk is actually getting worse. And the longer this dispute drags on, the more likely it is to be resolved by demographers. Support for independence is highest among Scotland’s youth and voting age at 16.
The Scots never liked the Eton-educated Johnson, whose upper class was clumsy despite the down-to-earth fact problems of Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon.
The crux of Sturgeon’s argument for another independence vote is usually straightforward: Brexit has changed the game. Not a single district in Scotland chose to leave the EU in 2016, but it had to go along with the rest of Great Britain anyway. The years of contention leading up to Brexit on January 31, 2020, were only divisions hardening, with all delegated administrations claiming they were sidelined.
Some of this anti-Brexit sentiment has been turned into support for the independence struggle. According to a strategy document groomed for the Conservatives and seen by Bloomberg in October, the worry is that there aren’t enough pro-Brexit voters to stand against them.
Emily Gray, who ran pollster Ipsos MORI in Scotland, said it was important for Brexit to be phased in increased support witnessed for independence. The result was “significant doubts in Scotland about the future of trade unions,” he said. “More than half of Scots hope England won’t be in its current form within five years.”
Johnson appears to have a strong argument for unionism in the form of successful vaccine launches in the UK to date. But Sturgeon, not Johnson, is the face of the pandemic war in Scotland, and the first minister said Johnson’s handling of Covid-19, which recorded Europe’s highest death toll, had highlighted the need for full autonomy.
The latest Ipsos MORI poll, taken between March 29 and April 4, projects the SNP will take 70 out of 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament. With the pro-independence Greens seeing a surge in support, the momentum for the referendum looks set to grow. Several other polls have indicated the SNP will fail, but none predicted a pro-union majority.
The situation in Northern Ireland is more complicated given its history of sectarian violence. The nationalist Sinn Fein party is stepping up its campaign for Irish reunification, saying a referendum can be achieved and won. Opinion polls show the advantage of the pro-British side against unity with the south, but thin.
A group called Friends of Sinn Fein, once the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, ran advertisements in the New York Times and the Washington Post in March under the banner “A United Ireland – Let the people say it.”
Conducting such a vote would now be “dynamite,” according to Bertie Ahern, the former Irish Prime Minister who played a key role in the 1998 peace accord that largely ended decades of revenge terrorism in Northern Ireland. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen at some point, he said in an interview last month with Bloomberg Radio. “My personal view is that this will happen towards the end of this decade,” said Ahern.
That feeling of inevitability is driven by the reality of Brexit. Right along Scotland’s southwest coast from anywhere the bridge of the future or tunnels will be built, new customs posts are being set up to inspect goods coming from the EU via Northern Ireland. There is now a border on the Irish Sea.
The problem for Britain is that Scotland is becoming less and less bound to Britain as Northern Ireland has become more and more republican, according to Qvortrup at Coventry University. “Socially, Britain is becoming less than one family,” he said.
– With the help of Alberto Nardelli, and Alastair Reed