On January, 17th, 2017 at Lancaster House, Prime Minister Theresa May set out a new plan for Britain on the subject of Brexit, that will be roll out by the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations, chaired by MP David Davis. De facto, Britons have understood that the EU had failed in controlling immigration, establishing a transparent relationship with its citizens, and cooperating efficiently when the Greeks were stuck in the financial maelstrom. Leaving means the opening of a new area and is the best decision they have ever made.

However, beyond the “New Deal” Brexiters want to get in order to make Britain more global, fairer and stronger, leaving means much more than just a mere renewal of the UK-EU relationship. One of the most important consequences is the devolution of powers from the EU Kommandantur, Brussels, to the UK – in other words, Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

A hard Brexit offers an invaluable opportunity for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to either joining their forces to demand new powers from Westminster or, conversely, keep and even strengthen the unity of the country treasured by Theresa May, a longtime supporter of the “One-nation” doctrine. Mother stated that: “a stronger Britain demands that we do something else – strengthen the precious union between the 4 nations of the United Kingdom […] It is more important than ever that we face the future together, united by what makes us strong: the bonds that unite us as a people, and our shared interest in the UK being an open, successful trading nation in the future”.

Nonetheless, such a statement should be considered as highly optimistic considering what Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland professed in October 2016: “I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence and to do so before the UK leaves the EU – if that is necessary to protect our country’s interests.” Theresa May has fully understood and weighted the pros and the cons of this internal issue and clearly emphasized that she intended to work for and with the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in hopes of delivering a Brexit that works for everyone.

As a matter of fact, leaving the EU should be deemed as highly risked for Theresa May since 3 of her children have consistency expressed their eagerness to gain new powers, even fighting – unsuccessfully – for independence in the case of Scotland. Most columnists have highlighted the challenges, threats, and advantages of a renewed partnership with the EU but few have underscored how important unity matters for Theresa May and how difficult it could be to ensure that “as powers are repatriated from Brussels back to Britain – the right powers are returned to Westminster, and the right powers are passed to the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland”, and not more.

Contrariwise, Brexit could be seen by these 3 nations as an historical opportunity to gain more powers, more maturity. Unity should be encouraged, though, and Theresa May is, as a former Home Secretary, the right Mother to preserve the uniqueness of the country and make her children understand that, when facing the gophers of the EU administration, a family, a nation, is always stronger united.

Edouard d’Espalungue

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