Glen Newey at The London Review of Books:
What will happen now? Precise predictions at this stage would be rash. The immediate upshot has already been position-staking by interest groups, notably from Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of which backed Remain in the poll. Sinn Fein has already called for a referendum on sovereignty. It’s unlikely that Nicola Sturgeon will be too quick to follow suit on Scotland’s behalf, first because in the short term the oil price collapse undermines an independent Scotland’s viability, and because a Scexit from the UK won’t quickly lead to Scotland’s reabsorption into the EU – existing members can veto accession, and Spain (and the Commission) will be loath to bless a precedent for secession, specifically of Catalonia.
If Scotland or Northern Ireland or both do peel off, the immediate prospects are fairly grim for people in what – the term is obsolete – used to be called Labour’s ‘heartlands’ in Rump UK. The kingdom of England and Wales would become, still more than it already is, Londonia, the capital a city-state as dominant over the rest as ancient Athens was over the surrounding demes. National politics is likely to be steered by the political wing of the Faragist falange, almost certainly with Johnson as premier. Its payroll vote skewed the Tory parliamentary party’s public stance in the referendum towards Remain; now it’s free to become what it is, an English nationalist party figureheaded by Johnson. Europhile Tories will be isolated. It’s not impossible that a major reconfiguration will occur, as happened with the Peelite Tories after Corn Law Repeal in 1846 or with anti-coupon liberals after the 1918 election, which eventually put paid to the Liberals as a single party of government.