The ambivalent union

Think tank: IPPR

Author(s): Ailsa Henderson; Richard Wyn Jones

September 7, 2023

This report from UK think tank IPPR looks at findings from the State of the Union survey.

Brexit revealed stark differences in attitudes across the UK. It not only revealed different attitudes within and between the UK’s constituent units towards the European Union but it also revealed the ambivalence of attitudes towards the union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Surveys showed that many voters, even those who would consider themselves staunch union supporters, were open to the idea of Scottish independence and Irish reunification, viewing them as acceptable trade-offs for their preferred Brexit outcome.

Additionally, a sense of ‘devo-anxiety’ in England, reflecting enduring dissatisfaction with Scotland’s perceived influence and resource access, is matched by a sense of grievance across the rest of the state about the perceived unfairness of resource allocation. This report shares findings based on four surveys of public opinion in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.