Cameron at helm of a disunited kingdom
Standing outside 10 Downing Street the day after his unexpected election victory, Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to govern for "one nation, one United Kingdom".
That will be easier said than done, as competing brands of nationalism threaten to pull the country apart.
Separatists have swept the board in Scotland, Wales wants greater autonomy and England saw spreading support for the insular UK Independence Party and its demand to leave the European Union.
Newspaper editorial pages yesterday oozed anxiety about Britain's future, worrying that Cameron could be the last leader of a truly United Kingdom.
The Independent said the election "leaves the prospect of the UK still being in one piece at the next general election in 2020 in some doubt".
The pro-Conservative Daily Telegraph agreed that "the biggest problem facing Mr Cameron is the future of the Union," while the liberal Guardian said leaving the EU would be "a catastrophe for Britain economically, politically and socially."
The four regions of the UK - England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland - have always had distinct identities, but for a long time, most citizens also considered themselves British. In recent years, though, rising regional identity has undermined the 'united' in United Kingdom.