Northern Ireland may be starting toward reunification. But the timing isn’t great.

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Four months ago, Jonathan Powell warned that the Good Friday agreement of 1998 that ended 30 years of killing in Northern Ireland was at risk. “What worries me is the casual political vandalism. They really don’t seem to care [about] the damage they are doing to the very fragile political settlements in Northern Ireland.”

“They” are the British government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has never shown any concern for the subtle and delicate peace deal that former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Powell, his chief of staff, wove a quarter-century ago. Indeed, it’s doubtful that Johnson even understands it.

For the first time in Northern Ireland’s 101-year history, last weekend’s election saw Sinn Féin, a Catholic, “Nationalist” party that is pledged to unify Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland that occupies the rest of the island, win the largest number of seats.

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