David McWilliams: The break-up of the United Kingdom has just accelerated

DUP’s Brexit manoeuvring has done more to undermine the Union than Sinn Féin

‘The English nationalists have ensured that the UK itself is actually a smaller free trade zone than it was before they started’. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty

‘The English nationalists have ensured that the UK itself is actually a smaller free trade zone than it was before they started’. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty

The break-up of the United Kingdom has just accelerated. The DUP, a party that never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity, has done more to undermine the Union than Sinn Féin.

As leaders of unionism in the north-east of this island, the DUP’s manoeuvring over the past few years has culminated in customs checks between Northern Ireland and Great Britain for the first time since 1801. The English nationalists, otherwise known as Brexiteers, who lectured the world about the merits of buccaneering global free trade unencumbered by meddling Brussels, have ensured that the UK itself is actually a smaller free trade zone than it was before they started. Not only does the UK now have barriers with the EU, but it has barriers with itself. In short, the UK has declared, and successfully prosecuted, a trade war with itself.

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