A goodbye to 2016

So much has been said and written about 2016 that there are probably few, if any, stones left to turn. The level of attrition among well-loved and iconic celebrities seems to have been unprecedented; the shifts in the political landscape certainly caught out the commentators and experts – pollsters included; indeed pollsters in particular. If I’m left with any overriding impression, it’s of a year where seminal, potentially life-changing events seemed to have moved beyond the control of anyone and assumed a momentum all of their own.

Turmoil: it’s not exactly a new phenomenon but it does make me grateful for the cathartic effects of walking among the hills, getting some separation, if only temporarily, from what passes for reality. This year, those have been the best of times; and that’s probably true in most years.

The worst of times? If I had to single out just one, it was the senseless, incomprehensible killing of Jo Cox.

On a personal level, I shall forever miss Leonard Cohen; there won’t be another to fill that particular void, not in my lifetime. Since his passing, I’ve listened to a number of discussions about which was the best cover of Hallelujah – Rufus Wanwright? John Cale? Jeff Buckley? The list, like the debate, goes on…

There’s a custom in football of, in exceptional circumstances, ‘retiring’ a shirt number worn with distinction by an outstanding player: Cruyff, Baresi, Zola, Henrik Larsson as just a few examples. Similarly, every now and again somebody just makes a song their own, for posterity…

jo-cox

Jo Cox : 1974-2016

A happy 2017 to all: perhaps we will get to live in uninteresting times for a while.

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3 thoughts on “A goodbye to 2016

  1. I’m not as pessimistic as you, Dave. If Brexit and Trump wake up the political establishment to the realities of the everyday lives of the electorate, then perhaps it’s a small price to pay.

    I generally ignore the rhetoric of the politicians and look at what they actually do. This year? Labour hit the self destruct button, The Lib Dems tried to relight a candle with damp matches, the Tories have started to factionalise and the Greens did do what they do best, and took a ridiculous economic stance as possible.

    I think 2016 was a stand-out year for a poorly informed mob screaming at the top of their lung on twitter and Facebook and then traditional media (TV & newspapers) giving it amplification. This became the news rather than the stories that journalists ought to have covered.

    It’s been a race to the bottom of the barrel.

    It was good to see Don Mccullin get his knighthood. A photographer/journalist of principle.

    I agree with you about KD Lang. Wonderful.

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  2. Where to start?

    Labour need to understand that a serious political party has to appear… well, serious would be a start. I’m not a fan of Corbyn, but in the circumstances that’s neither here nor there: he could combine all of the most admirable qualities of Abraham Lincoln, William Beveridge and Ghandi (not that I think he does), but if you’re unelectable it all becomes pretty academic. Wanting to win doesn’t constitute an automatic abandonment of noble ideals.

    The EU referendum hasn’t healed the divisions within the Tories over the issue of Europe, but at least that process now has to lead to some sort of conclusion and has to be allowed to play out. As for the referendum itself, I thought the Leave campaign was appalling and the Remain one pathetic. Whether the latter was a consequence of complacency or ineptitude – well, who knows? I’m not laying that at all Cameron’s door either: what did Labour contribute to a campaign it supposedly supported? Corbyn? one lukewarm comment and then silence. Harriet Harman? in shot, standing behind Cameron; visible but nothing more. Not one single memorable or compelling speech; in a referendum campaign on such a critical, once-in-a-generation decision; criminally negligent.

    The Greens? How any party can purport to be green, in name or practice, when they don’t even have a coherent energy policy is frankly baffling. You’d sort of expect it to be a cornerstone.

    This is where it gets controversial: I may well be in a minority of one here, but I genuinely hope that Nick Clegg can somehow be rehabilitated. He did what he did within the coalition; compromised on some principles (what politician hasn’t); took a personal and political battering. The centre – the centre/left in particular – isn’t so awash with credible characters that a basically decent and capable bloke can be so easily jettisoned.

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