The existence of the United Kingdom could be at stake if British membership of the European Union ceases without agreement, according to Gordon Brown. The former Labor leader believes that under the conservative British government led by Boris Johnson, the union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is on the verge of becoming oblivious.
In an article in The Observer’s left-wing Sunday newspaper, the prime minister of the island between 2007 and 2010 warned against the dangers of “destructive nationalist ideology” that Boris Johnson’s government was “driven not by the nation but by a destructive populist, nationalist ideology” the British ideal of tolerance will not survive without Brexit.
“We must recognize that nationalism now determines British politics,” he said, and under Boris Johnson, who has been in office since July 24, the United Kingdom lacks a unifying force that could overcome Scotland , Irish, English and growing Welsh nationalism.
Recalling the results of a recent poll, he said he was most worried: not many people think the United Kingdom will disintegrate, and that is not enough to worry about a few people, at least for the time being. The YouGov survey, to which Gordon Brown referred, showed that for most members of the ruling Conservative Party, ending membership of the European Union is more important than preserving the unity of the United Kingdom.
“Unionism as a lunar disease is heading toward oblivion,” he wrote, adding that the United Kingdom, once admired by the whole world for being inclusive, open-minded, tolerant and pragmatic, nowadays paints a bad image.
Gordon Brown also criticized the current style of governance, which included seeking enemies and accusing them of betrayal. He specifically touched on one of Boris Johnson’s chief confidants, Adviser Dominic Cummings, who opposes the British House of Commons as an enemy, thereby suggesting that Parliament is ready to betray democracy and tradition.
He also attacked the Finance Minister’s nominee for the shadow government of his own party, the Labor Party, which is the main force in the parliamentary opposition. John McDonnell also said he was “trapped in nationalism.”
According to Gordon Brown, Britain must rediscover virtues such as empathy and cooperation, and prevent the emergence of “dysfunctional nationalism.” The first step is to prevent uninvolved Brexit, he added.
British membership of the European Union is scheduled to expire on 31 October, and the current British government firmly believes that no new agreement with the European Union will be reached before then. Boris Johnson refuses to accept his predecessor Theresa May’s deal with the EU, mainly because of reservations about a back-up solution to avoid reintroducing border controls in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
After taking office, Johnson visited Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and stressed his commitment to protecting the United Kingdom. Under his leadership, however, the government stepped up preparations for an uninvolved Brexit. As part of this, the Treasury Department plans to issue special 50 pence Brexit coins, demonstrating the Cabinet’s determination to leave the EU on October 31.