It’s been an odd year for all sorts of reasons, both personal and in a wider context. If you believe the media commentary it’s been defined by dead celebrities but clearly, there’s far more to it than that. Despite the laws of averages I can’t think of another year that’s seen the demise of so many talented people – many of whom provided the soundtrack to my life. That’s not to mention the people who’ve entertained me in films or who made a real difference in the political or social arena.
Offset against these tragedies are the undoubted advances we’ve made in the fields of medicine, education, poverty and green energy. In many ways, humanity has progressed in the past year.
The problem has been politics.
Many of us are deeply worried about the rise of fascism in a post-truth political world. Both the Brexit vote and Donald Trump becoming US president have been major upsets that share one thing in common. Neither were a majority choice. Trump lost the popular vote by several million. Brexit was also the choice of a minority of the electorate – although it’s been presented otherwise.
Both these events have heralded a rise in intolerance and hatred, and both have the potential to hurt most the people who fell for the lies. The question is – what will happen when people realise they were lied to, that there is no land of milk and honey – and that their lives will be made worse, not better?
2017 is going to present us with some major challenges. It’s important that those of us who hold liberal, tolerant values aren’t browbeaten into shutting up about all this the way the Brexit camp want. Their leaders know the Brexit project is ‘mission impossible’ so they want to impose it before people wake up to the reality (after all, they’ve enough bread that they don’t have to eat the shit sandwich they’re serving). It’s incumbent on us to stop that happening.