A midst the pervasive Euroskepticism — the Britain has imbibed the same which resulted in Brexit. The three disparate regions have voted in stark contrast to the majority of the Britain: Ireland, Gibraltar and Scotland. On these three regions along with Wales, the eclectic edifice of the Great Britain had been erected. The intricate tapestries of this aberration have its roots in history and interdependence.
In Ireland, the northern counties — erstwhile Ulster— decided to remain in league with the Great Britain after the Irish War of Independence. The sectarian and the national-union conundrum in the Emerald Isle led to “the Troubles” betwixt the UK and the Ireland. These troubles plunged the region in uncertainty, the local populace was being affected the most by the haphazard milieu.
The situation placated after inking the Good Friday Agreement. The cumulus of uncertainty vanished and the relations between the parties started anew. The area of cooperation was being enhanced and furthermore, the hostilities thawed — as the people started to move unhampered to and fro in north and south through the unobtrusive border.
With the rise of Euroskepticism, a crevice became palpable between the north and the south. After Brexit, any hard border on the Irish clod would lead to a dilapidated situation which may cause resentment in the masses. The Great Britain and the Union, both, have concurred to evade a hard border in order to ensure peace.
In the withdrawal agreement, both the governments have agreed to a protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. According to the protocol, both sides shall “use their best endeavours to conclude by December 31, 2020 an agreement which supersedes this Protocol in whole or in part”. Failing to do so will result in a backstop — the United Kingdom must be a part of the Customs Union.
However, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) — a major ally of the government is adamant in accepting the addendum. The DUP is a major ally of the government which has made coalition with the May’s government after a hung parliament came into being. Therefore, opposition from the DUP is a tantamount to no vote in the commons to pass the withdrawal agreement. The opposition, too, has objected to the Irish solution because it envisaged that it would tie the United Kingdom with the customs union — a gordian knot that would be hard to untie if no agreement passes.
The Northern Ireland voted 55.78%, Scotland 62% and Gibraltar 95.9% in assent to remain with the European Union.
Gibraltar — a nomenclature derived from Jabl-e-Tariq and an English chokepoint in the Spanish waters — has been a part of the United Kingdom since the 18th century. After the War of Spanish Succession, the bourbons coronated the Spanish throne in lieu of the Hapsburg. However, by the Treaty of Utrecht, Spain gave up her overseas territories in the Europe to the then adversaries and thus Gibraltar became a part of the United Kingdom at the cost of the Bourbon throne. It has been governed under the aegis of the Great Britain hitherto.
The situation of Gibraltar is the most erratic among the troika — 95.9% people of the Gibraltar have voted to remain in the European Union. On the other hand, they do not wish to leave the Great Britain.
This begets an unprecedented situation in the region. Thousands of citizens move to and fro in Spain and Gibraltar to earn bread and butter. A protocol is being added in the withdrawal agreement to safeguard the rights of the proletariat and daily commuters. Furthermore, a specialized committee under Article 165 of the withdrawal agreement has been formed on the issues related to the implementation of the protocol.
The United Kingdom and Gibraltar have signed four memoranda of understandings (MOU) in order to buttress the agreement. These include four areas which, too, are mentioned in the protocol. First, the memorandum on the citizens’ rights corroborates the formation of a Joint Coordinating Committee under article 1 (3) of the protocol to “monitor matters relating to employment and labor conditions.” The second memorandum — on the cooperation on the environmental matters betwixt Spain and Gibraltar — envisions a technical and coordination committee under article 4 to be formed which would report to the erstwhile mentioned specialized committee. The third memorandum of understanding expatiates cooperation in the field of customs and police in order to curb nuisance like smuggling, trafficking and money laundering. A joint coordination committee under Article 5 of the protocol erects the base of this liaison. The fourth committee is regarding tobacco and other products.
Scotland is an umbilical cord of the United Kingdom. The relations can be traced back to the primitive times, however, the history of Anglo-Scottish cooperation dates back to the thirteenth century when Alexander III died and subsequently Edward I was called by the Scottish nobility to arbitrate a succession dispute — this cooperation did not last long due to Anglo-French tensions. The bonhomie started when King James VI of Scotland became the King of England after the death of his cousin Elizabeth I. Following this, the Glorious Revolution and the Acts of Union united the twain entities which started a new era.
In 1997, the Scottish devolution referendum formed a separate Scottish parliament that led to devolution of power after a long time in Scotland. Following this — in 2007 Scottish Election — the Scottish National Party (SNP) came to power. The SNP propounded an anti-unionist stance — separation from the United Kingdom. In a result of these endeavours, a referendum was being conducted in Scotland. The referendum proved to be a chimera as the majority voted to stay with the Britain.
The Scots, however, in the Brexit Referendum digressed and overwhelmingly voted in favor of staying with the European Union. The Scottish Parliament have triggered another request for referendum, but it is not being envisaged soon. The biggest problem is the admission of the Scotland in the European Union. Spain — as she is being confounded by the Catalonian question — would not allow Scottish admission as it would augment nationalism in the already precarious milieu. For Scotland, leaving the Britain which would lead to no admission in the European Union, would not be savvy.
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