When John Major took the reins of power in the aftermath of the ousting of Margaret Thatcher in November 1990, neither he nor his Tory successors could have envisaged the degree to which Europe would wreck what is to all intents and purposes, one of the most successful nation states in history of mankind.
Before devolution took place in 97 under Tony Blair’s Labour party, there was a huge gripe from conservative English parliamentarians about the inability to vote on Scottish and Welsh issues, yet Scottish and Welsh members of parliament could vote on English issues.
The ideologically preponderant wing of the Conservative and Unionist party, the hard right, were determined to call the shots and ensure that the likes of UKIP( United Kingdom Independence Party) wouldn’t outflank them on Europe. This meant that William Hague, Iain Duncan-Smith, Michael Howard and David Cameron had to court them, if they were to stand any chance of winning the leadership and by extension, a general election.
What did this mean for the rest of the United Kingdom? Clarion cry for the days of English exceptionalism and rule Britannia? nostalgia for the empire on which the sun will never set? all of the above and a visceral loathing of everything to do with Europe.
It is this deep antipathy allied to extraordinary hubris, that the current generation of the English nationalists have shown, much to detriment of everyone and everything else, that those who voted to stay (Scots, Welsh and Londoners) in the European union are bound by the decisions of a narrow self serving elite.
The biggest consequence, however, could be the break up of the United Kingdom; the Scottish nationalists led by Nicola Sturgeon are keen on a second referendum, the opacity surrounding the border situation with Northern and Southern Ireland could yet lead to Ireland becoming one country again.
English nationalism has shown a profound propensity to violence in the past; a violence that’s subjugated Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Today, it’s willfully intent on destroying the only medium that it has for growth and prosperity in today’s integrated, interconnected world- a united Europe.