State and Nation in the United Kingdom: The Fractured Union – Losing control

Michael Keating argues persuasively that EU membership helped glue the union together

By making Britishness more assertively unitary – in fact more nationalist – Johnson’s Brexiteers undermine the union. Image: Getty

By making Britishness more assertively unitary – in fact more nationalist – Johnson’s Brexiteers undermine the union. Image: Getty

Irish nationalists and unionists badly need to understand what is happening to the United Kingdom after Brexit if they are to navigate their way towards a better set of relationships on this island. So do the growing numbers in Northern Ireland and the Republic who accept neither designation, and the point applies as much to citizens as to policymakers.

We are living through a potentially momentous set of changes in which Ireland and Britain are exposed to similar shocks and strains. The fractured union of Michael Keating’s subtitle will affect both islands, whether it is able to heal itself by reform and statecraft or breaks up into an England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, all requiring new relations with each other.

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