Half Empty, Half Full

Wednesday 21st September

Half Empty.  The world is in a bad place and swirling down the plug-hole at a voracious speed.  Nations are squaring up to each other belligerently; we are faced with the Putin/Trump war of (at least let us hope it is only…) words to come.  The European Union, bastion of peace and co-operation for decades is slipping into rampant Nationalism.  Brexit may be followed by other countries seeking referenda.  Right-wing demagogues in Hungary and Poland are railing against refugees and clamping down on free-speech.  Intimidation is rife in the Russian elections as Putin seeks to hang on despite an economy in free-fall and corrupt Oligarchs enriching themselves, gorging on former state-owned monopolies and buying up half of London in the process.  China is building islands off-shore on occasional sandbanks and militarizing them and claiming miles of sea as theirs too.  Half the former republics of the Soviet Union are ruled by gangsters – freedom in much of the world is not even a distant aspiration.  The Middle East is in flames, radical Islam on the march.  Much of Africa is in poverty, corruption stalks the continent.  Here in Britain we are back in Thatcher-land, Labour is tearing itself apart, the Lib-Dems a shadow of themselves, UKIP with their thinly-veiled racism on the rise.  Global warming threatens to engulf us all and inequality has never been so great, nothing it seems can stop the rich from getting richer…..

Half Full.   The World is slowly improving.  More children are surviving childbirth than ever before, starvation is mostly being obliterated.  Children are becoming educated, more than ever before, the future lies in their hands.  Diseases which killed millions are being controlled if not completely eradicated, while in the West medicine has never been so freely available; more than half of cancer patients now survive and the research into genes is promising a future of re-growing faulty parts of our bodies.  Poverty in our own country is being re-defined, gone are the slums and starvation of the early Twentieth Century.  Technology may indeed solve our dependence on oil with electric cars now a reality.  More people own their own homes than in our parent’s days.  Cars and colour TVs are commonplace, almost everyone has a fridge and a mobile phone.  We have access via the internet to far more information than any generation before us.  Music is cheap and can be streamed into our ears (without rings on our fingers and toes) wherever we go. Our Supermarkets are overflowing with food from around the world – strawberries all year round.  Different sexualities are becoming more and more accepted, you can even choose to change your gender now.  Individually we are becoming less violent and more caring…And Strictly is back on the telly again….

In truth the glass is neither half-full nor half-empty, it just depends from which angle you are looking at it (or how rose tinted your glasses are).  Purple hat or Yellow hat – the choice is yours.