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The Members' Blog

Taking Leave of their Senses – Brexit or Bust!

Article by Mary Campbell © 29 October 2019 .
Posted in the Members' Blog ( ).

I detest politics and while I try to refrain from making political commentary on a public forum, it seems I must make some allusion to the cloud hanging over us all. It is not so long ago since we were all living on the edge and not a million miles away from the troubles in the North of Ireland. No one can deny that there was a certain element of nervousness in all of us south of the border, that the troubles could someday spill over onto all of us. Everyone minded their P’s and Q’s in public afraid to rock the boat or take sides for fear of retribution. In a way poetic license and freedom of speech were hampered and so too writers, reporters and commentators were shackled to some extent. Is there a risk of a return to chaos?

I feel somewhat lucky that my creative streak reawakened later in life when our whole Island was at peace and relationships with our neighbouring Britain were at an all-time high. Artists of all kinds have enjoyed freedom of movement and success on British soil for the past number of years, with access to a much larger audience and a gateway to the world through our fellow English speaking neighbours. But now that is all up in the air again. Where will it end?

Brexit to a lay person like me is fast becoming the greatest farce of our time. Once respected as a nation of world leaders in all aspects of society with the attention of the whole planet on them for sport, music, theatre, the arts, business, industry and so much more it is fast becoming obvious that the winds of change are blowing. Political leaders across the Irish Sea seem to suddenly have taken leave of their senses leaving our small nation in turmoil.

For a vast swathe of time we had feared Britain and were completely under their control but then all of that changed and we grew wings. We cut off our chains and tried to go it alone in so many ways, but like it or not we still turned to the mighty warrior Britain next door for access to the world. We aligned ourselves with our neighbour for trade and support because we recognised the potential of the relationship and chose to stay in bed with them for the greater good of our nation. Like all relationships we have had our ups and downs but now it seems that we are on very shaky ground.

While we sit back and watch the comedy of errors unfolding before our eyes we are reminded of our dependency on our partner for so much and have begun feeling the sting of rejection. The relationship is fast becoming toxic and like all toxic relationships the weaker partner is in a quandary. If they leave us out in the cold we don’t know what will happen to us. Will we survive without them? Our own leaders seem to be taking all of this with a pinch of salt, in denial perhaps trying to put up a front of nonchalance in the face of adversity. Our neighbour seems cold and distant, unconcerned with our welfare or the fallout of their actions. While we might try to be sympathetic with their reasons for leaving we cannot help feeling hurt and rejected.

As a writer in the English language my fear is that our creative arts here in Ireland will be badly affected by the changes coming down the line. We may no longer have such a straightforward route to marketing our creations or a sympathetic ear for future projects and endeavours. While our economy looks almost certain to take a nose dive, many of our creative opportunities my take a hit in funding and support in the face of economic crisis and almost certain return to recession. In recessionary times priorities are focussed on survival and not the arts. Rightly so, but at a time when Irish artists, writers, film makers, TV producers and musicians are blazing a trail, storming the world stage with their talents and achievements, is it any wonder that I am worried?

This is a golden era for the arts and sports in Ireland and it is this success that gives hope and inspiration to our younger generation and justification/gratification to our older generations who have struggled and suffered so much to get to where we are today. Are we going to return to the dark ages or will we emerge from the struggle stronger and more independent? This remains to be seen? For now all eyes are on our neighbour. The ball is in their court and we must stand on the side lines and wait in hope of a good outcome.

No Matter What

Stay or go? Which will it be?
And we must stand and watch
Wondering what the tide will bring
If we are soon to be forgot

And what will be our lot, you ask?
If our neighbours cut us off
Will we rise from out the ashes stronger?
Or abandoned count the cost

Will our Wordsmith’s words be silenced?
Too many doors to us be shut
Will we starve amidst the rubble?
Left by our selfish neighbour’s lust

I for one will keep on writing
Burn the candle at both ends
Sending my thoughts out to the universe
To escape this political mess

In times of turmoil and trouble
Creativity will give us wings
It will lift us up out of darkness
No matter what the future brings

© Mary Egan Campbell

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