Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cli-Fi Alert: Irish poet and novelist Nick Laird on BREXIT fallout: QUOTE UNQUOTE: ''All of this is a distraction from the real and urgent problems of climate change."

In an EU referendum campaign marked by mendacity, some of the pithiest truths have been uttered by writers. “If your head says Remain but your heart says Leave, remember that one is specifically designed for thinking and the other is a pump,” tweeted author Ros Barber on the eve of the historic BREXIT vote in the UK.

Now that ''Leave'' has triumphed, albeit narrowly, what is the response of Britain’s many Irish writers to this seismic event?

Here's what Irish poet and novelist Nick Laird (in his 30s and married to celebrity novelist Zadie Smtih with two children) on the BREXIT fallout: QUOTE UNQUOTE:

''All of this [BREXIT stuff] is a distraction from the real and ur gent problems of climate change."

Nick Laird told an Irish newspaper editor:

''I flew from Luton to Belfast on the morning of the referendum, spending the day in Cookstown in Mid-Ulster, complacently optimistic – like everyone I met – that the Remain camp would win. But the coalition of those supporting Leave – dissident republicans, the DUP, Ukip, the BNP – harnessed the disaffection of the English working class whose jobs – and dignity – Thatcher’s de-industrialisation long ago destroyed. Blair’s financial deregulation didn’t help either. Half the population felt left behind. The Conservatives’ austerity and refusal to adequately fund the NHS was framed as an argument that the immigrants had overloaded the system. No-one addressed the lies the Leave camp – those three stooges of Gove, Farage and Johnson – propagated. Corbyn was pointless, lacklustre, uninspiring.

''I think Boris Johnson, in particular, deserves enormous opprobrium. This is a man sacked by both the Times and Michael Howard for mendacity, and he was a clear Europhile until he calculated that leading the Leave campaign would bolster his prime ministerial credentials against Osborne, automatically gaining him the Eurosceptic wing of the party. He was also obviously betting on a Remain win. He looks now like a fat kid who’s lost his balloon.

''Will Scotland secede? Will the Irish border be reinstated, now the only land boundary between the UK and 400 million Europeans? Will the Good Friday agreement collapse? I don’t know. It’s terrifying. It seems the personal rivalry between Cameron and Johnson – two arrogant public school buffoons who’ve been jockeying for position against each other since Eton – is going to destroy now both the EU and the UK. We’re living in a Jeffrey Archer novel. I’m in Paris now teaching for a month, and Marine Le Pen of Le Front National is calling for a French referendum, describing the result of the British referendum as a “victory for freedom”.

''And all of this is a distraction from the real and urgent problems of climate change, and makes it much less likely that we’ll ever be able to come up with a united policy on switching to a low carbon economy. I don’t know what’s wrong with us. A tidal wave is coming and we’re sitting on the beach fighting about pebbles.

Nick Laird is an award-winning poet and novelist from Cookstown, Co Tyrone. Married to fellow writer Zadie Smith, he lives in London and New York

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