Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan will break the UK union
Boris Johnson’s readiness to tear up the UK’s reputation for honest dealing by rewriting the EU withdrawal deal has grabbed the headlines. The news, though, is worse. Legislation to create a post-Brexit single market across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland shows equal contempt for the UK’s constitutional settlement. By asserting unassailable English supremacy, the prime minister is inviting Scotland to leave the union.
There is a burgeoning school of thought, in Whitehall and Westminster as well as Edinburgh, that says Brexit has made Scottish independence inevitable. The sweep of history, the story runs, will conclude that the matter was settled as soon as England voted to leave the EU and Scotland to remain. The frayed bonds of the union were cut beyond repair.