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Great backgrounder on the potential break-up of Britain

Mike McCartney

19th April 2021

From the Economist, this video would be ideal as an intro on devolution, and/or the use of referendums

There is a lot at stake at the polls this May (what the BBC has described as a 'bumper crop' of elections) and this blog will probably return to that topic on more than one occasion before the 6th of May.

This video from the Economist should be a starting point for all sorts of debate. Will devolution finally prove to be the slippery slope that the likes of Tom Nairn predicted during the devolution debates of the 1970s? Will the end of the Union be the lasting legacy of the Blair era? Can, and should, Scotland go its own way after over 300 years on the basis of a wafer thin 'Yes' majority? Should major constitutional decisions be decided in such a way, given what has happened post-Brexit.

The Economist YouTube page for this video also contains a hot of hyperlinks should student want to delve into related issues further.


How the pandemic has strengthened calls for Scottish independence:

Scottish nationalism and the politics of patience:

Brexit and covid-19 are showing up the disunited kingdom:

How Brexit boosts Scottish nationalism:

Scottish independence could threaten Britain’s defence:

Scottish women are coming round to independence:

Why Welsh nationalism is stirring:

Read about Northern Ireland’s unhappy centenary:

The anger and division among loyalists over the Northern Ireland protocol:

Why is the Northern Ireland protocol so contentious?

Listen to an episode of The Intelligence podcast about the violence in Northern Ireland:

Read about the trade difficulties on the border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland:

Migration between England, Scotland and Northern Ireland is falling:

The return of Alex Salmond and his new political party:

How Nicola Sturgeon survived the Alex Salmond scandal:

Lessons learned from Catalonia’s independence referendum:

Britain will drift from Europe, but not very far:

Read about the disruptive rise of English nationalism:

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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