Muiris MacCarthaigh and Feargal Cochrane

This closing editorial marks the end of the joint PSA-PSAI Brexit Countdown Blog series. Why 27 blogs? This number was picked to symbolise the 27 member-states that would remain within the EU when the UK left. We timed it to countdown from 27 days out on the assumption that ‘Brexit meant Brexit’ and the UK would be out of the EU at 11pm today, the 29th of March.         

When we set out the genesis and rationale for the PSA-PSAI Brexit Countdown Blog series in our Introductory blog a few weeks ago, we noted the political uncertainties ahead, the possibility of an extension to Article 50, and the potential need for a Plan B for the series. If the whole Brexit saga has taught us anything — it is that normal laws of political gravity do not apply as they once used to.

One (prescient, as it turned out) option was to extend the series if there was a delay — and this was entirely feasible given the number of offers we have had from colleagues to write a blog for the series since we first announced it. However, we decided to stick to Plan A as long as we could, and so this blog represents the last in the Series.

Unlike the Brexit process itself, the rollout of the 27 Brexit Countdown blogs has run smoothly, in large part due to the trojan work of Luke Field at the Irish Politics Forum and Sydney Budgeon and Nicole Johnson at the PSA to keep the production line oiled, but also of course to the diligence of our contributors, to whom we must extend a (dare we say it!) vote of thanks. It is a testament to the expertise and commitment of members of both Associations, and indicative of the seriousness of Brexit as an issue, that no one we approached to write a blog declined our invitation.

The blog series itself has covered a lot of ground and has provided much sobering food for thought about the future. For anyone teaching British politics, it is going to take some time to revise lectures notes and presentations, as we reappraise everything we thought we understood about British constitutional practice and the ‘rules’ of political engagement at Westminster.

Having already taken an increasing share of its political and administrative energy to date, the island of Ireland looks set to be the first casualty of the inability to resolve the Brexit conundrum in London. The respected Economic and Social Research Institute predict no good economic outcome for the Republic of Ireland arising from Brexit, while ever more dire warnings emerge from the Northern Ireland Civil Service and Northern Ireland section of the Confederation of British Industry. And all of this as Brexit hobbles any chance to get power-sharing back at Stormont.

Brexit has brought to the fore questions about Irish unity and the status of devolution in Scotland, Wales and England. It has also raised questions about the future of EU-UK, Anglo-Irish and Irish-EU relations. The blog series has also raised questions in respect of gender, culture and young people’s perspectives on Brexit.

Our Brexit Countdown blog series ends with a reaffirmation of the call emerging from our meeting last May in Belfast — that whatever constitutional and political changes occur, Brexit has demonstrated the need for both learned Associations to broaden and deepen the scope of relationships between us.

There is a clear need for greater common awareness of the politics and government within and across these islands amongst academics as well as the political classes. If any positives are to emerge from Brexit, they may be that new efforts are made to address this need.

This blog series has demonstrated the depth of research expertise across both Associations and it is our intention to put them together into a single PDF, which will be archived on both the PSA and PSAI websites.

We look forward to discussing how we can now advance the PSA-PSAI relationship at the upcoming PSA Annual Conference in Nottingham, and the PSAI Annual Conference later this year in Maynooth.


Muiris MacCarthaigh, PresidentPSAI

Feargal Cochrane, Vice-ChairPSA


This article marks the end of our blog series ‘Brexit Countdown’, a collaboration between the Political Studies Association (PSA) and Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI).


To read the entire series, please see below:

  1. What’s the likely impact of Brexit on Higher Education in Northern Ireland? by Cathy Gormley-Heenan
  2. Brexit and a second Scottish Independence Referendum: What happens next? by Margaret Arnott
  3. What's the difference? British and Irish attitudes towards the EU by Kathryn Simpson
  4. Brexit and devolution in Wales by Roger Awan-Scully
  5. The Backstop: a ‘flexible and imaginative’ solution? by David Phinnemore
  6. Culture, the arts and Brexit by Kate Mattocks
  7. Brexit and implications for Scottish Devolution by Nicola McEwen
  8. Is Brexit propelling Northern Ireland towards Irish unity? by Katy Hayward
  9. Blair and Brexit by John O'Brennan
  10. The looming possibility of a retaliatory relationship between the UK and the EU by Will Phelan
  11. Brexit: Ethnopolitical dimension by Timofey Agarin
  12. Irish-British relations: Preparing for momentous change by Paul Gillespie
  13. Brexit, gender and Northern Ireland: Changing the state-society relationship by Yvonne Galligan
  14. Beyond the backstop: the DUP’s role in Brexit by Jon Tonge
  15. Brexit, political parties & power-sharing in Northern Ireland by Sophie Whiting
  16. Brexit and devolution in England: What's at stake by Arianna Giovannini
  17. What do people in Northern Ireland think about Brexit? by Jamie Pow and John Garry
  18. Brexit, diplomacy and defense by Ben Tonra
  19. Empathy, minorities and Brexit by Richard English
  20. Young people and Brexit: Not all that we think by Emily Rainsford
  21. Is the Backstop a Red Line Too Far? by Etain Tannam
  22. The UK's view of the EU by Simon Usherwood
  23. The invidious impact of Brexit on Ireland's policy landscapes by Mary C. Murphy
  24. Looking into the abyss: A European perspective by Brigid Laffan
  25. Britain after Brexit by Anand Menon
  26. Brexit as Political Irony by Feargal Cochrane
  27. The Brexit Countdown Series: Some concluding thoughts, and an appeal by Muiris MacCarthaigh and Feargal Cochrane