Article by Michael White, Larry Elliott and Charlotte Higgins
'In a rare uncalculating moment, Boris Johnson wrote last year that, if Britain finally ended its “sterile debate” over Europe by leaving the EU, it would quickly discover “that most of our problems are not caused by Brussels, but by chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills and a culture of easy gratification and under-investment”.
How true, but that discovery would not be the end of the matter if David Cameron’s promised in/out referendum in 2017 resulted in a Brexit majority. The euphoria that half the population of Scotland came close to feeling in their own independence referendum last September would rapidly dissipate as familiar problems resurfaced and new ones popped up.
The country would be divided – literally so if Scotland took its cue to do a Scexit and stay in the EU, generating tensions in Northern Ireland, though probably not in Wales. The defeated minority would be frightened and sullen, assorted dreamers and zealots would rush to start creating their vision of a restored Merrie England. Or of an offshore free enterprise hub, the Hong Kong of the Atlantic, as much a fantasy as the socialist and green republic that would be sought by others.'