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Once an empire upon which sun would never set, stretching in its peak from America to India, England’s glory has faded in recent centuries. It has shrunk into United Kingdom now consisting of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Gibraltar. Even the future of what is left of the Union itself seems to be in jeopardy.

The status-quo has been perturbed by the recent wave of nationalism in which English people have indicated clearly to their Scottish and Northern-Irish counterparts that their preferences are not only contradictory but dominant.

Why the choice of one nation should constrain the choices of the others is a debatable and thought-provoking matter ,and helpful in the understanding of this political development taking place in the UK where one nation’s choice is going to cost heavily to the others. For there is no exaggeration to say that the English voters’ choice to leave the EU has predominated and practically overshadowed the national mandates of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar. Besides, it has also limited the international clout of these nations in relation to the EU.

In the aftermath of contrasting trends of Brexit, what options are left for these nations to assert their national will, other than seceding from the Union?

Why Scotland Will Secede from the Union?

Scotland has been resenting the Union for decades or perhaps throughout the previous century. The Scots had been clamoring for greater freedom For long. The only moment of relief was in 1998 when the Union, (which is a euphemism for England), granted by restoring Scottish Parliament. The devolution gave rise to the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) which formed the government in 2011 and forced the Union to hold referendum in 2014 on the question of independence.

The historic referendum of 2014 in which 44.7% Scots favored independence, although proved indecisive, it paved the way for a nationalist impetus for a further a course of action. Brexit has only contributed to the growing nationalist consciousness of the Scots. It will certainly affect those 55%, who in 2014 favored to stay in the UK, to reconsider their future course in the changed scenario since the Brexit referendum of 2016. Not to mention the Scottish Parliament that backed Remain at 57 of 59 MPs voted against Brexit.

These conflicting priorities between the Scots and Brits give logical reasons to suggest further complications when Brexit actually takes place.

Northern Ireland and Gibraltar

Since Ireland’s division in 1921 between the Republic and the six counties that formed the part of the Union and called as Northern Ireland, the region had had a troubled history. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, however, restored fragile peace between Dublin and London. Brexit will only serve to reserve the gains.

The Northern Ireland too, like Scotland, had opposed to Brexit but it has to face the same dilemma which the Scots had to face. Both nations’ voice was overridden by the English majority. Any hard border, in the case of Brexit, between the Republic of Ireland and the Northern Ireland could further complicate the political future of the Island. The resurgence of nationalism in the North has already been indicated by some analysts.

Gibraltar is another case where British voters have reflected their short-sightedness or disregard for the unity of the Kingdom. Ironically, the people of Gibraltar had predominantly voted against Brexit, with 96% favored to stay in the EU. But like Scotland and Northern Ireland, it will have to follow what Britons had decided for them on the fateful day of Brexit.

What all these developments, which are still unfolding, suggest for the future of the United Kingdom? These are all but satisfying for the nations whose national desire to stay in the EU was stifled by the English nationalism. The one option for these nations is to go with the British vote, but it will come with a price for these nations as they will have to suffer both economically and politically in the case Brexit unplugs their ties with the EU.

The other option, which seems more likely, is to follow the British example: in a tit-for-tat move, these nations could assert nationalism as forcefully as England expressed in order to get Brexit.