I enjoyed this exchange by comedy duo Dermot and Dave on Today FM:

Policeman: “I’m arresting you for downloading the entire contents of Wikipedia.”

Man: “Wait. I can explain everything!”

As well as being amusing, it touches on the frustration that we often feel about getting to the truth of the matter nowadays, such is the manipulation of information.

It reminds me of politicians facing the cameras after an election. They can explain everything, from putting a positive spin when their vote was down to lessons being learned after it collapsed.

Whatever way they look at it, though, or try to explain it away, something strangely significant is happening in these islands. The winds of change are surely blowing, and as ever our apprehension is increased by uncertainty over what’s coming down the track.

Throughout the United Kingdom, the differences in results in the European elections suggest various regions are facing differing futures.

In England, in particular, there are starkly opposing interpretations of the results. Nigel Farage’s Brexit party didn’t even exist a couple of months ago but their motley crew of left and right managed to gain about a third of the votes polled.

Farage is a great example of a man who can explain everything. He lives in a £4million townhouse, has a net worth of £2.5million and gets an EU salary of £80K a year. But he says he’s skint.

He lambasts the BBC’s bias against him, yet holds the record for any individual appearing on Question Time. 34, since you’re asking, and in his most recent show he did his usual shouting over other guests and disdainful eye rolling when they made a good point against him.

One of his disciples trilled that, boy did we enjoy shaking things up, and the vote for the Farage party was a “victory for ordinary Britons.”

Commentators point out, though, that the figures prove otherwise. Added together, the definitely pro-Brexit parties totalled about 35 per cent, while pro-Remain parties totalled 40 per cent.

“Absolute tosh,” Farage told the television interviewer, because you have to add in other such as the Conservatives who “said they want to leave.” Did they all?

Oh, and by the way, only about one third of the electorate in Britain voted in a country supposedly obsessed with the issue of Brexit.

This explains everything, no? From the man of the people who now wants to get involved in Brexit negotiations, which is the role of parliament, despite having tried and failed seven times to get elected to the House of Commons.

The true position, surely, is that Britain continues to be divided virtually down the middle, riven apart by the Brexit issue and this election has solved nothing. So, the country is being led by the nose into allowing a rump of hard Brexit Tories to elect the new Prime Minister, with the duplicitous Boris Johnson the favourite. Boris may be the amusing cabaret at times, but Prime Minister?

I’ve lost count of the number of Conservatives putting their name forward, but it seems that the whole angst in Britain over Brexit is allowing people such as the supercilious Jacob Rees-Mogg and Mark Francois, a wannabe paratrooper, to set the agenda.

Or at least compete with Farage in doing so.

Explain that?

Meanwhile, it would seem that the rest of the UK is now cottoning on to the notion that Brexit is a bad idea after all. Scotland has given its endorsement to the Remain Scottish Nationalists, and even Wales now wants Remain.

Here in Northern Ireland, the vote in favour of Remain candidates increased, but the DUP insists that we must go along with the majority in the United Kingdom at the 2016 referendum.

As always, though, in Northern Ireland the nuances of election results reveal much more, and the astonishing vote for Alliance’s Naomi Long suggests a watershed moment for voting patterns.

Consider these figures: Unionist candidates 43 per cent. Nationalists 36 per cent. Other (neither camp) 21 per cent.

Alliance in particular had an astonishing result. They had done extremely well in the recent Council elections across the north, and were hoping to consolidate. They did that and more, in spades, exceeding even their own ambition of Naomi Long taking the third seat. In fact, she took the second seat and her final vote after transfers saw her second ahead of Sinn Fein, who had originally topped the poll of first-preference votes.

There’s no doubt that some of this was down to a personal regard for Mrs. Long herself, as well as the Remain factor. But there has to be much more to it than that.

Parties and commentators can’t help thinking along old lines, and it can be quite insulting to suggest people “lent” their vote to Alliance. But after years of this place voting strictly orange or green, the serious question now is whether this is the big breakthrough into people voting on issues.

The results have thrown up a number of intriguing considerations. After years of two Unionist, one Nationalist, Unionists now have just one. And in the Northern Ireland Assembly, which isn’t sitting, Unionists have just 40 members out of 90.

These figures alone are indicative of changing demographics here, with Unionists now a minority in Northern Ireland, albeit the biggest of all camps every one of which are minorities.

That said, the DUP remains the strongest unionist voice, while Jim Allister’s voice hasn’t gone away you know. The picture of several of his supporters standing with their backs towards Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson when she addressed the count speaks volumes about a section of Unionism which won’t even countenance the party as a political entity 25 years after the IRA ceasefire.

The Ulster Unionists are still in decline, but remember they too still have a voice in our society, as do the SDLP and the Greens.

Significantly also, Sinn Fein’s vote in the Republic was down badly and also down in the north; though not anywhere as much as in the south so they are still the major force of Nationalism.

The nuanced meaning of all these results is always the subject of conjecture and spin by the parties themselves. Even Wikipedia mightn’t explain it all; but change is happening and the protagonists would do well not to stay in their own silos but to examine the shifts in people’s voting patterns, particularly among younger voters crying out for a better future.

The issue of a Border poll raised its head again in some of the discussion after the election, and it was interesting that some Unionists engaged in it.

Looking at the figures, on this election alone, it doesn’t seem feasible that such a poll will be called soon. Even if the 43 per cent who voted Unionist and the 36 per cent Nationalist voted for their ideology, it would seem unlikely that enough of the “others” would vote to take away the Border.

But the discussion is being held, and two voices added to it in recent weeks.

Baroness Eileen Paisley surprised many by questioning the wisdom of partition in Ireland in an interview on BBC Sunday Sequence, and suggested she’d be happy to live in a united Ireland if freedom of her religion was guaranteed.

This, after former Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon said that a vote of 50 per cent plus one would not be enough for Irish unity. He took some abuse for that, undeservedly personal, but he touched on a point.

“As a nationalist, I believe it is incumbent on those of us who care about what our longed-for goal of Irish unity will look like to make sure that we do not consign the next century in Northern Ireland to a rerun of the last: with the two sides simply changing positions – nationalists in a majority in a “united” Ireland and unionists the sullen, alienated and potentially violent minority.”

Perhaps the breakthrough by middle ground parties, rather than push people further into the comfort of their own positions, should have the confidence to put forward their ideas of how this place can face the future, while respecting the stance and culture of the others they share this piece of land with.