Five years on from the Brexit referendum, the result is clear: both unions are losing

The UK has been weakened, but so too has the EU. Relations between them need not be this bad

Five years after the fateful referendum on 23 June 2016, what is the current balance sheet of Brexit? Answer: two weakened unions, the British and the European, and bad-tempered relations between them. Lose. Lose. Lose.

The weakening of the British union is obvious. There will be another referendum on Scottish independence within the next few years. Scottish nationalists may win it with the argument that Scotland should leave the British union to rejoin the European one. A vote in Northern Ireland on Irish unification seems more likely than at any point since it was first provided for in the Belfast agreement in 1998. Boris Johnson’s government is full of rhetoric about keeping the union together but has no strategy for doing so.

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