Can we look forward to a bright and optimistic New Year, free of all the anxieties and divisions that troubled us over the last twelve months or will we be fobbed off with a rerun of the Old Year?
Usually the New Year always used to come with a sense of optimistic regeneration, carrying with it an enthusiasm for the future. We helped the process by making positive resolutions to improve ourselves and in turn the society in which we live. Are we going to be as generous in this coming year? Are we going to resolve to stop calling people whose opinions are different to ours ‘remoaners’ or ‘traitors’ or ‘mutineers’ or ‘enemies of the state’? Are we going to stop spreading hatred and racism through social media or continue to blindly support incompetent, self-serving leaders and their cronies? Are we going to put up with an increasingly divided society of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’?
Most of us think that we are better than that because we have seen the evidence with our own eyes… people out carol singing to raise funds for local charities, volunteers running food banks and youth organisations and helping out at care centres, respite clubs and hospitals often staffed by the very people that the blue passport wavers want to get rid of - the so called ‘immigrants’ and ‘aliens’, the ‘ragheads’ and ‘snowflakes’.
2018 is a year of optimistic anniversaries - the end of the 1st World War in 1918 and in the same year the passing of the Representation of the People Act which gave the vote to all men over 21 and women over 30 with property qualifications. Those of us old enough will remember 70 years ago in 1948 when the NHS came into being and the Declaration of Human Rights finally confirmed. Perhaps in its words we can find something to carry with us into the future because it is in the future that we are going to spend the rest of our lives…
“The recognition that the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
– from Martyn Day