Is Brexit tearing the UK apart?

Expert comment Published 9 December 2019 Updated 19 December 2019 1 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

The paralysis of British politics over the past three years of Brexit debate is well known. Less discussed is the fact that the country formally known as the United Kingdom – but rarely called that by the British – is being torn apart. Brexit is straining the ties that bind the four nations of the UK. As John Lloyd writes in our opening article, the Scottish National Party, emboldened by the sense that the English establishment cares little for people north of the border, is closer to reaching its goal of independence than at any time. Meanwhile, the politics of Northern Ireland have been thrown into chaos, and even loyal Wales is beginning to talk of independence. Our interview is with Sir David Attenborough, the naturalist and one of the most respected champions of global action on climate change. He says people are finally starting to connect what they do in their daily lives with the fate of the planet. Now it is up to governments to take the right decisions. When Mexico elected the socialist Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president, it seemed that Donald Trump would have a fight on his southern border. But as Jude Webber writes, an unlikely bromance has flowered. How long can it last? The ancient Greek historian Thucydides is having a celebrity moment for his dictum that a rising power - such as China today - is fated to go to war with an established empire - such as the United States. But did he really mean that? Bruce Clark asks if we have got the sage of Athens all wrong. And finally, calling all those who would follow in the steps of Thucydides: our second school writing competition is announced.