Watching a Country Make a Fool of Itself

Fra Der Spiegel 2018 Oct. 18

No country in the world has cultivated arrogance the way Britain has. But the sad truth is: The former global power can’t even find its way to the door without tripping over its feet.

You only have to listen in to any randomly chosen snippet of a Theresa May speech or interview and you will quickly realize that connection to reality is not a prerequisite for becoming prime minister.

Journalist: “If we leave the EU without a deal, doesn’t there have to be a hard border in Ireland?”
May: “We’ve been very clear that we do not want to see a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”
Journalist: “But if we leave without a deal, that does mean a hard border, doesn’t it?”
May: “We are working to make sure that we leave with a good deal.”
Journalist: “But if we leave without a deal, there will be a border in Ireland, won’t there?”
May: “If we leave with no deal, we as the UK government are still committed to doing everything we can to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”
Journalist: “But you’ll inevitably fail, because according to World Trade Organization rules, there has to be a border. Shouldn’t you level with people and explain that?”
May: “As the UK government, we remain committed to doing everything we can to ensure no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”

And on and on. The disadvantage of being intelligent is that it hurts to watch someone act dumb. Simplemindedness protects against this pain, which is why in politics, it is often better to be dumb than intelligent.