• By The Financial District


Analyst Luke McGee has warned that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s claim that 2020 would be a fantastic year for Britain has been dashed to smithereens, with 2020 stretching the social fabric of the United Kingdom. This year could rip it to pieces.

Writing for CNN, McGee said the politics and constitutional arrangements between the four nations that make up the UK are a constant source of pain to any leader trying to reconcile their substantively different political and societal priorities.

But the two biggest peacetime crises faced by Britain -- one anticipated, and one that came out of thin air -- have combined to create a perfect storm of dissatisfaction with the status quo.

Finally, after years of drawn-out political debate and tortuous negotiations, Britain left the EU's regulatory and trading universe on January 1, but with a myriad of unpredictable strains on the UK's political union that could lead the British Prime Minister into choppy constitutional waters.

Simultaneously, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare how much political distance there is between the devolved governments -- in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast -- and London.

The independence movement in Scotland has grown since the country's referendum in 2014, where Scots voted by 55% to remain in the Union. According to a recent poll in the Scotsman newspaper, independence is currently 16 points ahead. Much of that support is attributed to Scotland's objection to Brexit.

Even as Johnson celebrated securing a trade deal with the EU, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that "there is no deal that will ever make up for what Brexit takes away from us. It's time to chart our own future as an independent, European nation."

In Northern Ireland, nationalist politicians that spoke to CNN admitted they have never been so confident that, should a vote be called, the north could be reunited with the Republic of Ireland.

While there is not a strong independence movement in Wales, the support for business-as-usual has become untenable, as nationalists become increasingly hostile towards the Conservative government in Westminster.

And in England, the largest, richest and most conservative of the four, resentment of a status quo that can easily be characterized as London sending money to fund its poorer relatives in the other three nations is growing.