On Boris Johnson’s first day as Britain’s head of government, the loquacious Ian Blackford stood in the House of Commons and welcomed “the last prime minister of the United Kingdom.”
Blackford, the Scottish National Party’s leader in Parliament, was not being subtle. He was suggesting that with Johnson as prime minister, the United Kingdom might soon crack up, beginning with Scotland.
Scotland voted against independence in 2014, but there is much animosity toward Johnson north of the border, and a palpable dread over leaving the European Union — especially the hard, “no-deal Brexit” that the new prime minister says Britain must prepare for.
In the country’s 2016 Brexit referendum, Scotland voted to remain in the E.U. by a wide margin, 62 percent to 38 percent.
Johnson dashed up to Scotland on Monday, with a scheduled stop at a military base and a speech in the afternoon.
The new prime minister is a divisive character — loved and very much disliked — across the United Kingdom, a political union comprising four nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Or as Johnson called it on the steps of Downing Street last week, “the awesome foursome that are incarnated in that red, white and blue flag,” the Union Jack….