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It is one of the enduring ironies of the Brexit imbroglio that the sternest advocates of leaving the European Union are also the staunchest defenders of the UK’s territorial integrity.
It is apparently right and proper, and natural, for Scotland (population 5.5 million), Wales (3 million) and Northern Ireland (1.8 million) to accept the dominance of England (55 million), but not for the English to be part of a larger union with 27 other European states that has helped ensure its prosperity and amplified its voice in the world for the last 45 years.
In 2016, England voted to Leave the EU by a margin of 53.4 per cent to 46.6 per cent. Had it not been for the strongly pro-Remain vote in London – essentially a global rather than an English city – Leave would have won by a landslide. In Scotland, the result was 62 per cent for Remain, 38 per cent for Leave. Northern Ireland went 55.8 per cent Remain, 44.2 per cent Leave. Wales – as ever tied to England’s apron strings – came down 52.5 per cent for Leave and 47.5 per cent for Remain.
If each of the four nations had held on to its sovereignty within the union, Scotland and Northern Ireland would now be looking to continued EU membership. As it is, the vote in England was the one that counted. Even if Wales had thrown its hat in the ring with its Celtic brethren, proud Albion would still have carried the day.