To understand what's happening right now in the North, you have to understand what happened in its past

And when I say past, I mean in pre-history.

There are many members and supporters of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in the North who ardently believe that dinosaurs and human beings coexisted on the earth together because that's the only timeline that squares with the written accounts in the Bible.

Equally, there are DUP members who insist that the earth itself can be no more than 6,000 years old, because that timescale also squares neatly with the Good Book, and these people are commonly referred to as Creationists.

Read more: Northern Ireland has changed so the DUP will have to

Before you laugh at their blatantly anti-science foolishness remember that we have plenty of Creationists here in America too, though they are mostly confined to the South.

The DUP get a lot of stick about the dinosaurs and it's entirely justified. Listening to the DUP talk, the truth is quite a few of them still think and speak like dinosaurs themselves.

But often they have been left with no choice. History and indeed Ireland have moved on as they have been forced to dig their heels in. That leaves them with no choice but to bunker down in dogma. Because if the scientific facts don't fit your biblical and political world view then, as the Trump administration has demonstrated, you have to create your own alternative facts.

In America, these biblical alternative facts have led Creationists to build science museums where people ride around on velociraptors, exactly like they did in The Flintstones. It's what happens when your worldview no longer matches the landscape of fact, leaving you with no choice but to make facts up to protect yourself and protect your sense of reality. You are forced to watch helplessly as what feels right and what is right pull apart.

It should be clear to all by now that to the DUP the prospect of another hard border in Ireland isn't just an unfortunate result of leaving the European Union after Brexit, it's an aim. Just like people riding around on velociraptors in Creationist museums, hard borders in Ireland protect the DUP from a challenge that since the foundation of Northern Ireland itself they have never been able to reconcile: being in Ireland and insisting that it's the U.K.

Read more: ‘No Irish No Gay’ sign hung above Northern Irish motorway

In unionism, the term No Surrender has a long and emotive history, too. But in the DUP it is increasingly coming to mean no surrender to the unstoppable forces of history, science, politics or progress. In a political party where every major political change always feels like a major concession, there is no choice but to cleave to a siege mentality that treats every innovation, every alteration, as an existential attack.

Under this supremacist politics, LGBT rights represent an existential attack to unionism. Abortion rights represent an existential attack on unionism. Irish language rights represent an existential attack on unionism. Even the presence of nationalist politicians themselves represents an existentialist attack.

Essentially every hallmark of a functioning modern democracy is another door to ruin. When your watch has stopped at 1690 there is no way forward or back.

History itself teaches us what happens when your politics loses all of its political pragmatism: collapse. This week for the first time in the history of the union, the Northern Irish business community embraced Theresa May's political deal on Brexit that their own DUP politicians have already rejected.

On its face, this is an extraordinary political development. Risking serious censure from the party, the business community there have nevertheless decided that the alternatives are simply too serious not to make their views known at last.

If the DUP were caught off guard by May's Brexit deal they have been astonished by their own commercial classes. You can see it in their eyes when they speak to the camera, the shock and annoyance at being second-guessed by their own most influential electorate, who they insist do not understand what's at stake.

But who better to gauge the worth of the Brexit deal on offer than the Ulster Farmer's Union, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transportation, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Freight Transport Association, the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association, the Institute of Directors, and the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium and Manufacturing Northern Ireland?

So the DUP is not only turning on the outward threats to the union now, it's turning on the union itself. When a purity test becomes this exclusive, it's days are numbered.

Change is coming. History never stands still.

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