Those who want independence from the UK will be the “biggest winners” of Brexit according to the former Chancellor George Osborne, who lost his post after 2016’s referendum.
The now Editor-in-Chief of the Evening Standard said that the cleaving of the union into separate nation-states was a realistic prospect following the end of the transition period.
“Another group of winners, sadly, are the nationalists,” he wrote.
“Here in England, they have got their black passport back in blue form. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the prize is bigger. History may show the nationalists there to be the biggest beneficiaries of Brexit — which is ironic as they didn’t vote for it.
“A united, if federated, Ireland is a realistic prospect, being forged each day on the ground by the Withdrawal Agreement, while the Scottish National Party is all-too-confident about another independence referendum. Granting it is a price Labour leader Keir Starmer will pay to be in government after the next election.”
He said that the ‘no deal’ situation that the UK now faced was one very few would have voted for in 2016 had they known it was coming.
“The Brexit frog has been truly boiled,” he wrote. “We’re so focused on the last obstacles to a final deal, that we haven’t noticed how uncomfortable our surroundings have become.
“Each step Britain has taken in the post-referendum world has been in the direction of a hard Brexit. We now face a rupture with our closest neighbours that only a small minority of a small majority would have supported back in 2016.
“Like a frog, if we had been thrown straight into the hot water back then, we would have jumped out — or perhaps never jumped in.
“But slowly, via internal Tory battles and Labour miscalculations, leadership changes and elections, we’ve reached a world where January 1, 2021 will mark the largest act of protectionism in our history. The country is too exhausted to care.”