From 2017 to beyond

‘Tis the season, or so the saying goes. And so, another year ends. I was reading how I summed up 2016 here, and I described it as ‘interesting’. 2017 has been, if anything, ‘more interesting’ and certainly more depressing. Brexit seems to be spiralling aimlessly out of control, with the Brexiteers seemingly hell-bent on leaving the EU at all costs – regardless of the effect on the British economy. The state of Western politics has been equally depressing with American isolationist ideas and the Conservatives in power in Britain. The UN has also warned the world is on target for a warming of 3°c, beyond the point of no return and setting off irreversible climate change. And there is increasing privatisation of the NHS.

Yet trying to find some positives, Labour did a lot better than predicted in the general election, now being seen as a credible alternative to the Conservatives. If this trend continues, and from the look of the state of the Conservative party it will, then Labour could do very well in the next general election and form a government. In that situation, there would be a radical shake-up of British society, which can only be a good thing, with a more equal, fairer society.

And, despite the warning of increase in world temperatures, there are signs that some environmental-policies are working. Take Beijing, for example. Last Christmas, there was a red alert for pollution, it was that bad. This year, whilst pollution has not completely disappeared, the air has been a lot cleaner than in previous years.

There have also been other ‘wins’ this year: Australia legalised equal marriage, the UK government (for once) did something right and extended a ban against bee-harming pesticides, and in a rare show of equality, the Norwegian Football Association has agreed gender pay equity with the country’s international team players. The men’s team will make a financial contribution towards the wages of the women’s team, thereby ensuring men and women are both paid the same. Moreover, the fact that Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary stated their word of the year was feminism, shows that, despite the many stories about abuses which have occurred this year, people are discussing women’s issues, and this can only be a good thing.

From a personal point of view, things have largely been fine. I left RDFZ and moved to a new job which was a challenge and a big change but which, equally, has been a largely enjoyable experience. The best thing about being here is the students, who are smart, funny and inspiring. I also saw a wonderful film, one of my favourites, and certainly (for me) the best film of the year – Justice League. And one thing that we all can look forward to in 2018 is the new, female Doctor in Doctor Who. The Christmas special, where Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor regenerated, was a double-Doctor feature, with the First Doctor also appearing. I have said previously I like the Twelfth Doctor and in particular series 10 (which has just ended). One thing I particularly have liked about this Doctor is his words. In his final adventure, moments before he regenerated, he did not disappoint. “Never be cruel, never be cowardly … Remember, hate is always foolish, love is always wise. Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind … Laugh hard, run fast, be kind”.

So, with this in mind, and despite all the Brexit stuff which will surface over the next few months, and major environmental challenges still faced, there were positive things that happened in 2017, and which will (hopefully) continue to happen in 2018. Happy New Year! 🙂

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