Well what a year it has been. This Christmas card seems quite apt, as the world seems to be rushing headlong into disaster, for everyone, not just the turkeys. Politically, I have considered 2016 heartbreaking – but then, it seems, I am one of those ‘bad losers’ who voted to stay in the EU and can’t accept a result that has promoted hate and division and encouraged, in the US, the election of a man who has done little but espouse policies that are against many of the principles I hold dear. But then I am part of some kind of soppy liberal gang who haven’t listened to the ‘voice of the people’. I am part of the problem. And there was me thinking I just wanted to be part of a world that looked at humanity first and nationalism, hatred and greed second. Silly me.
This is, however, supposed to be a Christmas message of love and hope, and it is certainly not a time to give up on one’s wishes for a peaceful world, where we are all, genuinely, born equal. Whatever faith you follow (and even if you have no religious belief, you probably have some overarching view, or sense of your place in the world) this is a time of year when we should extend a warm hand to everyone we meet. Hypocrite you shout!! (well perhaps a few people I know will shout) ‘what about Nigel Farage? Donald Trump?’ My answers to that would be 1) I am unlikely ever to meet them , mercifully 2) you are right, I’m a hypocrite, I would no more shake their hand than rub my own in horse poo and then eat a mince pie with it. It is a prejudice I can live with.
So I am spending the next few days with family I love, watching The Muppet Christmas Carol, opening pressies and eating too much. The time will fly by and I will desperately try to hold on to the warm glow for as long as I can. We have too few reasons to celebrate – let this be a time when we really appreciate all we have got, whilst thinking, in quiet moments, of those with so much less than us.
Despite the seismic political shocks that have hit the world in 2016, the loss of cultural icons and people we considered immortal, and our rather unrealistic expectations that as soon as we enter the first minute of 2017 things will improve, I want to take a moment to thank you all for being here through the tough times. One thing 2016 did illustrate to me is how lucky I am to know so many people with the same hopes and ambitions for the world we live in, and our own small corners of it. Thank you all for sharing it with me. For a moment, I genuinely wish everybody a ‘Happy Christmas’ and a healthy new year.
But Farage and Trump et al? A plague (of gastroenteritis perhaps?) on all your houses. In the new year the gloves are off…