Goodbye to 2016

Saturday 31st December

So many people think that this last year has been horrible; what with Famous deaths and Brexit and Trump many are pulling their hair out and hoping for the year to end.  So what does your famous blogger think?  Firstly, it is too close to really assess properly – History has a way of seeing things a bit differently.  And secondly, I have lived long enough to know that however bad we might think 2016 was, there will be surprises and disappointments a-plenty in 2017.  Not that I think we will ever look back and say “Oh yes, what a wonderful year that was.”

Part of the problem is that we are getting older, and so when a musician or actor or film-star dies we feel that we have known them, we have listened to their music, we have seen the films they were in, they are like old friends.  When we were younger these deaths were just names, now they feel like family. Then there is Social media, where we often first hear of their demise, there are immediate tributes, and somehow one feels an awful collective grief.  Twenty-four hour news doesn’t help either – sometimes it feels as if we are being bombarded with news and information we have to process, much of it depressing.  The ‘Pop’ revolution I enjoyed started (for me) in 1962 with The Beatles.  I was 11 and my heroes around ten years older than me, so they are all due to die sometime soon anyway.  Imagine if Paul or Joni or Jagger or Dylan dies next year – it might just put 2016 into perspective.

Politically it has seemed disastrous.  But maybe not.  There has been a feeling that the General Public was stupid, but maybe they are simply letting the Establishment know that they are fed up with the lot of them.  True their choices appear maverick, but it is certainly worrying the main Political parties, and even the Tories are realizing that it cannot simply be business as usual.  Whether this signals a real Political change or will wither on the vine is still to be seen.  And even Brexit may not be quite the disaster many, including me have been predicting.  We have to wait to see just what Mrs. May can achieve.  And the “Donald”?  Well we will just have to wait and see, maybe he will turn out to be less awful than we currently suspect.

One good thing about 2016 was that Syria, with Russia’s help, has turned the tide in the awful civil war going on for six years.  The rebels were never going to win, and we, the Saudis and America, were stupid to keep arming and supporting them.  We should have learnt from Iraq and Libya that deposing a Dictator does not mean Democracy will work in its place.  After all, we had a civil war in Britain, and then 400 years working on a sort of Democracy that is far from perfect – and yet we preach about how wonderful it is.  Also the UN at last has had the guts (or America has caved in) to remind Israel and the rest of the World that what they are doing in the Occupied Territories is illegal and will end badly.  No doubt I will be accused of being anti-Semitic but it is the actions of the state of Israel I disagree with not the religion of the people of that country (many of whom are Muslims or Christians by the way).

Who knows what 2017 will bring; it may be worse or better than 2016.  But things have a habit of evening out over time, so let us raise a glass tonight.  Goodbye 2016 and Hello 2017…