Is Brexit the End of the United Kingdom?

Scotland, Northern Ireland Talk Departure

While the results of last night’s Brexit referendum put a square majority of voters in favor of leaving the European Union, the vote split starkly across geographic regions, with Northern Ireland and every single district in Scotland voting decisively to stay. Ultimately it was England and Wales that carried the night.

That’s not necessarily the end of things, however, with Scotland’s First Minister calling the Brexit referendum “democratically unacceptable,” and vowing that the Scottish government would immediately move toward another independence referendum.

Scottish independence lost a vote in 2014, but at the time the narrative was that voting to remain within the UK was vital to staying in the EU, with the corollary that Britain might not let an independent Scotland into the EU. That argument was seen as a major centerpiece of the anti-independence movement. Just a year and a half later, remaining part of the UK has meant Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will, and with the belief that Scotland was sold a bill of goods, the SNP is pushing to re-do the referendum on the basis of the new reality.

Northern Ireland might not be far behind, with the major Sinn Fein party calling for a vote within the region to withdraw from the United Kingdom and unite with EU member Ireland,. a long-time ambition for many in Northern Ireland at any rate.

Even tiny Gibraltar, which voted over 95% to remain in the EU, might be up for grabs, with Spain pushing for Britain to allow joint control of the tiny region as a way to keep the rock within the European Union’s economy.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.