Will the UK fall apart?

The British government's controversial strategies in the Brexit negotiations and the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic have rekindled aspirations for independence in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In August, for the first time a majority of the Scots said in a poll that they were in favour of independence. Commentators speculate on whether Boris Johnson could be the UK's gravedigger.

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New Statesman (GB) /

Second Scottish referendum practically unavoidable

According to polls, the Scottish National Party (SNP) is headed for a landslide victory in the Scottish Parliament elections next May. In that case London will not be able to prevent the Scots from holding another independence referendum, the New Statesman predicts:

“Any sense that Scotland is being denied the right to self-determination by English Conservatives - being held captive, as it will be argued - may also sit ill with more open-minded Scots. The British sense of fair play is just as strong north of the border, and it will be difficult to maintain the case that an electorally dominant SNP haven't earned the right to a rerun. A flat No from Johnson will also strengthen the hand of those in the SNP who wish to explore alternative routes to independence.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Johnson following in Milošević's footsteps

The Irish Times sees unfortunate parallels with developments in Yugoslavia and Serbia in the 1990s:

“Actions at the very centre of power in the UK are exacerbating nationalist tensions and cultural anxieties in the other countries, rendering the whole of the UK more fragile. This is not to say that the UK will end in war and genocide as occurred in Yugoslavia; rather it is to point out that countries do break up and, typically, the disposition of the centre of power determines how that breakup occurs. The Czechs went for mollification and understanding, the Serbs for confrontation and brute force. ... Looking at London, drama, posturing and theatrics appear to be the chosen route.”

Dserkalo Tyschnja (UA) /

London should be glad it has Sturgeon

Despite her feisty words the Scottish first minister is not a radical independence fighter, Viktor Konstantinov concludes in Dzerkalo Tyshnia:

“Nicola Sturgeon clearly doesn't want to become Scotland's Carles Puigdemont and is trying not to go beyond the requirements of the constitution. We should not be deceived by the harshness of her statements: Sturgeon uses the radicals as leverage against London but she herself does not want to leave the framework of British legislation. ... But if she doesn't succeed in solving the region's problems one way or another in the foreseeable future, her political career will come to an end. ... And she will be replaced by more radical supporters of independence. The case of Scotland shows that Brexit is not over for Britain.”