In this paper I attempt a novel interpretation of Brexit as a ‘wicked problem’. Wicked problems are those which are unique and complex, full of internal contradictions, and defy solution, instead only creating other problems. After reviewing the lead-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, particularly the role of immigration, the core of the paper takes the main criteria for the specification of a wicked problem and applies them to Brexit. Special attention is given to two propositions: that every wicked problem is a symptom of other problems; and that every attempted solution to a wicked problem produces irreversible consequences. Both are seen to apply to Brexit. In the conclusion, I explore ‘wicked synergies’ between Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.
Read the full paper HERE (open access)