The advantages of union to the non-English nationalities was the access it gave them to the markets and political opportunities of a realm which encompassed nearly a third of the human race--something for which many were willing to trade their right to local self-governance. With the empire finished and Britain increasingly embedded within the EU, the argument goes, the advantages of union have all but disappeared. Scotland can be just as rich as an independent member of the EU. Size used to matter in a world of competitive nation-states, but the world is more secure now, and inward-looking. Ireland and Norway are arguably better off because they're small.
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