5th July 2021
There will be many things about Brexit which will seem foolish or knavish.
Bad things that will make you sad or mad.
But usually you can work out the ‘why’ about the thing in question – even if you disagree with it, or even loathe it.
It may be that somebody was incompetent or dishonest.
But there will be an explanation of some kind.
There is, however, one thing – at least – which will always be incomprehensible.
Why did the Democratic Unionist Party and other unionists in Northern Ireland support Brexit – either so strongly or at all.
The shared membership of the European Union north and south of the border on the island of Ireland was the best guarantee of the continuation of the union.
There would never be any great urgent need for a border poll, and no great urgent need for any fundamental change, from any perspective.
But by supporting Brexit – and supporting the Conservative government policy of Brexit meaning departure from the single market and the customs union – this has made a border poll more likely and also a vote for a united Ireland more likely.
If a mischievous demon had been tasked with finding the most effective way of sabotaging the union, that demon would also have cheered on first Brexit and then the Theresa May/Boris Johnson approach of departing from the single market and the customs union.
It is a decision so incomprehensible that the two usual explanatory models of bad political decisions – foolishness and knavery – do not provide assistance.
For to posit either as an explanation is to imply that a thing is explicable, rather than inexplicable.
As a scientist would say: it was not even wrong.
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