Thursday 1st January
At this time of year, even though your bank balance may be more than half empty – the glass must remain full. Although the 1st of January is simply an arbitrary date in the calendar and means nothing it is a time of optimism and hope; the hope that twenty-fifteen will be better than the year which preceded it. Logic dictates that this is nonsense and everything is subjective anyway, but nevertheless we can but hope.
My wish-list for the year ahead. That my transition from work into a form of retirement is painless and smooth. I have already half-promised that I will continue with at least one restaurant on an e-mail basis with only one or two visits to the site per month. I do need some income to supplement my savings until my full pension can be drawn in 2016.
And that I find something useful to do in my retirement. I fancy property development, especially in Eymet, as I love the place and the climate so much. And that my ever-restless partner can also find some new occupation for her skills.
Politically I would like Labour to be the largest party but to go into coalition with the SNP, who at the moment are advocating more radical policies. One measure I would like to see enacted, though unlikely to feature in any manifesto is real proportional representation. I feel we may have reached the stage where party politics are more damaging than the idea of strong government they purport to offer. A wider diversity of opinion and ultimately decision making might just begin to reverse the decline in political involvement among large swathes of the population. Also internet voting should be introduced so that not only voting in elections but wholesale involvement in major decisions could be a reality. There would have to be safeguards to protect minority views and to stop knee-jerk reactions, and maybe most decisions would still need to be taken by representatives but with say a 60% approval rating required for large reforms to be enacted. This might force politicians to actually listen to public opinion rather than try to pretend they are responding to it while pushing their own vested agenda.
I hope in 2015 that people will be more tolerant; the recent vitriol against “immigrants” and “Muslims” is truly disturbing and I pray it is starting to decline. And secondly I would like there to be some real movement on the Climate, probably the greatest threat the human race had ever faced. For too long politicians have paid lip-service to it, while sucking up to the big oil and energy companies. I feel that this is another issue that the public is actually way ahead of the politicians on, but so far no-one is taking a real lead.
I would also like there to be fewer wars and indiscriminate killing; the Middle East is a mess, but not an unsolvable one. All sides, Jews, Arabs, Sunni, Shi-ite and we in the West all need to sit down and talk things out. You cannot kill an idea by aerial bombardment, and if you cannot persuade people to change then figure out a way to co-exist; what gives the West the right to decide what is best for everyone on this be-knighted planet anyway?
So, with my glass brimming over I wish you a very happy new year.