Britain was not born in glory. The English conquest of Ireland in the seventeenth century was brutal; It was motivated by fear of invasion and was facilitated by the superiority of Cromwell’s army.
The English takeover of Scotland in the 18th century was more practical; It was born out of Scottish bankruptcy after a failed investment project in Central America and the English feared France.
Britain was not born in glory
However, the resulting union was more than the sum of its parts: it led to an intellectual and scientific revolution, which focused on both Edinburgh and London; An industrial revolution that emerged from it and enriched both Glasgow and Manchester and Liverpool; For an empire built by the Scots and the English; And a military force that helped save the world from fascism.
This association is weaker than at any time in recent history. The reasons are many, but Brexit is the most important. Political leaders in London, Edinburgh and Belfast have put their country in danger in the way they have managed to get Britain out of the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted carelessly, kept the party above the nation and opted for a tough Brexit.
Brexit is the main reason that the Union goes through the weakest moment in its recent history
The Scots never wanted to leave the European Union and are looking to the future outside the UK. In the past year, elections have gone from reflecting a small pro-union majority, except for a modest pro-union majority (the usual pattern since the referendum since the rejection of independence in 2014).
The Scottish Prime Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) Nicola Sturgeon set out for the Brexit deal by exploiting the Scottish descent. Westminster is blamed for unable to catch the hardships of fishermen. Polls indicated that, in the Scottish elections in May, the SNP would gain an absolute majority in the system created to avoid it.
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Northern Ireland Prime Minister and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) chief Arlene Foster behaved unwisely in rejecting the soft Brexit proposed by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May. Such a solution would have avoided the controversial question of whether to create a border with the European Union.
Neither Brussels, nor Dublin, nor London were willing to make a difficult border on the island of Ireland; Thus, instead, Johnson has made it to the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, weakening an association whose existence is the object of the DUP.
The soft Brexit proposed by Theresa May would have avoided the contentious issue of creating a border with the European Union
This helps explain a week of unrest early this month. The outrage has been profound, and as the centenary of Ireland’s independence, reunion is closer than ever.
If Scots, Northern Irish, or even Welsh decide to go their own way, they should be allowed to do so; But only when they have clearly expressed a desire to do so. This is not the case yet, and this newspaper hopes it will never happen.
Disintegration of a country should never be done lightly
Disintegration of a country should never be done lightly, as it is a painful process from a political, economic and emotional point of view. Ask Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis or Serbs, Croats and other former citizens of Yugoslavia. Some divisions are as peaceful and easy as Czech and Slovak. While it is inconceivable that today’s British citizens are killing each other, they did so during the Northern Irish Riots which ended less than a quarter of a century ago.
When they do not debate the constitutional issue, the constituent parts of the UK work well together. In front of COVID-19, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland performed separate lockdowns, which were adjusted with local rates and sensitivity. Vaccines, where scale matters, were directed at the national level.
The existence of the UK is also important in general terms
The existence of the UK is also important in general terms. Although its historical trajectory was not flawless, it is towards democracy, human rights and transparency in an unpleasant world. There is no doubt that its constituent parts would adopt similar values, but when an independent England or Scotland came to the rescue of Hong Kong, they would be easily overlooked; Especially if they lost their permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
The fact that the existence of the union in Johnson’s untrustworthy hands no longer consoles any supporter that he has a future. However, the case has intrigued Johnson, who created “unity over unity” in Downing Street and placed him under Michael Gove, one of his cleverest allies and his only high-profile, non-English minister.
Some of Johnson’s things are sensible
Some of Johnson’s words are sensible. You insist that now is not the time for another referendum in Scotland. The last seven years ago, was once heralded as a generational opportunity.
It is true that Britain’s circumstances have changed since then, but Brexit has happened very recently, and Roy has not had a chance to settle on this. Until elections show a clear and sustained majority in favor of freedom, there should not be another referendum. Conducting frequent referendums is a sure recipe for instability and the end of the union: at some point there will be a coincidence of trigger and bullet.
Conducting frequent referendums is a sure recipe for instability and the end of the union
However, the government is wrong in many other things. I should stop putting union jacks everywhere. For those whose identity is primarily regional, it seems like a campaign to stamp Westminster ownership in every corner of the country. It should use more non-English figures, like Ruth Davidson, the popular former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party.
Johnson also needs to stop lying. His dishonesty on the Irish Sea border, which he said would be made “up” [su] Lash, “exacerbated his betrayal of the province. And he has to improve Britain’s relations with Europe, including aligning British food and agricultural standards with those in the European Union, the main source of trade friction. This would make a trade deal with the United States more difficult, but no such deal is yet to be closed, and it will not happen that peace is threatened in Northern Ireland.
I only had two jobs
Johnson was elected Prime Minister “to carry out Brexit”. In doing so, they have endangered the integrity of their country. For the remainder of your term, your most important task is to maintain the union. If he does not succeed, he will go down in history as the man who did not liberate Britain, but as the person who destroyed it.
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© 2021 The Economist Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved.
Translated for La Vanguardia, published under license, from The Economist. The original article, in English, can be found at www.economist.com.
Translation: Juan Gabriel Lopez Guix