Well, what to say? Firstly, that I am always surprised at the jollity accompanied by New Year’s Eve; I am the silent observer, watching incredulously at all this madness. I do join in, but more often than not my heart isn’t really in it. The arbitrary nature of the date itself, the rejoicing at the passing of one year and the hope over experience that the next year will indeed be better.
Still, it is a time for reflection and possible renewal, or at least the attempt at it. Politically the year was completely clogged up with the machinations of Brexit; too boring and far too important to reflect on now – save to say we are in a mess, and hardly anyone is showing any leadership or courage at this perilous time. Maybe over Christmas there have been discussions and a possible way forward is in the offing. Meanwhile in America Donald Trump is now officially at war with everyone; his Cabinet (just like in Britain) keep flaking off like dead leaves to be replaced by lesser men and women; Congress has changed hands and the Democrats will now thwart him at every turn – and even the Republicans have had enough of him. Now that that will do him down – he will survive Meuller too, he will almost certainly stand for re-election – and of course he could win; it will be a brave Democrat who stands against him; it could be their only shot at being President. Please don’t let it be Hilary, a two-time loser and so tainted.
I do travel back to England every few weeks, and I find a deeply unhappy country; the slow attrition of Austerity, and now the cruelty of Universal Credit, and the residue of division from Brexit has left us downhearted and weary and more divided than ever. I am not sure that any of the current Politicians stands any hope of bringing people together, despite all the warm words.
And the real problems persist, how to fund an ageing population, a creaking NHS, a fragmented education system, an ageing infrastructure – and of course a huge and constantly rising debt. Any mention of increased taxation is the kiss of death, the press is toxic and still owned by a few rich men, and even though they sell far fewer papers they continue to set the news agenda itself. So, in one way, Theresa May is right “Nothing has changed”.
Whether things will change in 2019 I doubt; even a General Election may decide nothing. All we can do is try to be kind to each other as the two juggernauts come hurtling down the highway – Climate Change and Artificial Intelligence. Have a good New Year.