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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: https://econ.st/3tqDZwL

Scottish nationalism and the politics of patience: https://econ.st/3siiFs4

Brexit and covid-19 are showing up the disunited kingdom: https://econ.st/2Q6Ar4l

How Brexit boosts Scottish nationalism: https://econ.st/3a920AM

Scottish independence could threaten Britain’s defence: https://econ.st/3wVssIc

Scottish women are coming round to independence: https://econ.st/3a9EzaP

Why Welsh nationalism is stirring: https://econ.st/3tBrZc9

Read about Northern Ireland’s unhappy centenary: https://econ.st/3tpagV7

The anger and division among loyalists over the Northern Ireland protocol: https://econ.st/3uHA7b4

Why is the Northern Ireland protocol so contentious? https://econ.st/3wVk7UM

Listen to an episode of The Intelligence podcast about the violence in Northern Ireland: https://econ.st/3wUaQMK

Read about the trade difficulties on the border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland: https://econ.st/3uOux6L

Migration between England, Scotland and Northern Ireland is falling: https://econ.st/3adFNSq

The return of Alex Salmond and his new political party: https://econ.st/3mTy1lF

How Nicola Sturgeon survived the Alex Salmond scandal: https://econ.st/3uPmVkj

Lessons learned from Catalonia’s independence referendum: https://econ.st/3e3AfL7

Britain will drift from Europe, but not very far: https://econ.st/3e1pAAT

Read about the disruptive rise of English nationalism: https://econ.st/2Q5J4MH

Mike McCartney

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

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