Monday, 13 December 2021


Throughout my life the nation’s mood seemed to lighten in the build-up to Christmas and for a few days afterwards and it wasn’t Christmas parties that created this bonhomie. It was a combination of the ending of one year and starting another; a year which started with hope and wonder. The lead-up to Christmas was one of good humour and community. It was silly season in the media and silly spending on presents. There were always a few Grinches and Scrooges around but as  the quote in the Gospel of St John says:

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer

Especially at Christmas. 

“Be of good cheer” sounds old fashioned but those words reek of Christmas. But Christmas 2021 which started weakly has collapsed in a complete mess. 

Politics first. Donald Savoie said in the Guardian “Politics has lost its soul”. He then said image had replaced policy and that:

“The problem is that the economic and political interests of the political, intellectual and economic elites are heard at the expense of the broader community.”

I have a problem with this. 

Donald wrote this piece in 2011 and now it’s got much, much worse.  And will probably get even worse. We can blame much of this on the Billy Bunterish antics of the current Prime Minister but the problem is more deep seated than those provoked by this cavalier misfit. 

Things Can Only Get Worse? by John O'Farrell | Waterstones


Billy Bunter at Butlins - Cartoon Gallery

From top to bottom the political system is rotten. There are so few grown-ups around– perhaps a few - but with the departure of Angela Merkel as German leader Nicola Sturgeon seems the leader with the most gravitas. 

We don’t pay our MPs enough, although we could sort that by having fewer of them, but the real issue is quality, integrity, intelligence and their breadth of real world experience. Most of us have no one we could vote for. Should it be Priti Patel or Angela Rayner? Crumbs, that’s such a hard choice. As things stand abstentions will be the winning vote at the next election.

The fact that the current furore is about Christmas Parties says it all. Those who broke the rules are fools and that’s what hurts most. Why should we be governed by fools?

Secondly the pandemic….again. Sick of it as we may be, we have to face probable truths (no, we don’t categorically know how serious an illness Omicron will be). However at least 60 Tory MPs seem happy to risk its being a minor thing as they vote against increased precautions this week (anyway it’s their constituents in their smaller homes and in their poorly paid jobs who are most at risk). Prudence was a word much loved by conservatives once. No longer.

Kentucky tornadoes: up to 100 feared dead in historic US storms | Tornadoes  | The Guardian

Thirdly climate and catastrophe. Over the weekend the small town of Mayfield, Kentucky was flattened by one of the worst tornados ever. At least 70 people were killed. The tornado was preceded by weird extremes of temperature. Commentators described the pulverising of ornate Christmas decorations in this town. Happy Christmas? No, not there, poor souls.

And in the Ukraine it isn’t sledges we’ll be looking out for next Saturday. 

A military tank driving on a dirt road

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Despite this (hard but try) let’s be of good cheer and be nice to our family and friends (remember being nice?) Let’s stop listening to the ghastly news and infuriating social media – guys, haven’t you got anything better to do than rail and grumble?

Keep safe, keep calm, have a relaxing time and heed the words of the briefing in the 1980s TV series Hill Street Blues

“Hey…let’s be careful out there.”

1 comment:

John Eustace said...

Always a joy to read your sanity, thank you. I promise to wear a smile and your underlined message hits home. I recall a person listening to a tale of some woe and responding 'Bob, my heart goes out to you,' but then added the caveat ...'at this moment in time'... So it was to be a short lived heart out moment, and we all knew she meant every last word