Well, what a year it’s been! America elected Darth Trump for President; the unholy trinity of Farage, Johnson and Gove managed to con the great British public into casting itself adrift from the European Union into uncharted and dangerous waters; an awful lot of people died violently in Syria, and quite a few in Brussels, Berlin and lots of other places; several rock stars and other famous people also died; the world got a bit warmer, again.
As for me, ups and downs, really: my mum had a fall and was in hospital for a while; I had a couple of nice holidays and saw my daughter perform at the Edinburgh fringe; got rather more teaching work from Leeds Uni than I bargained for, meaning I did less writing than I wanted to, but did nevertheless make some progress on my new novel (and I won a poetry competition – that was probably the best bit). Nothing earth shattering, really, but because of what happened in Britain and the wider world, I still count this the most depressing year since 2007 (and believe me, that was really bad, for reasons I don’t want to go into). I’d rather like to consign it to history and forget about it. Except I won’t be able to, because Teresa May will trigger Article 50 and Trump will take up the presidency and start throwing his weight around.
It’s customary to end a gloomy retrospective with a message of hope, and I’m going to honour that tradition (well, sort of). Not because I am actually seeing light at the end of the tunnel just yet – I fear it may be quite a long tunnel – but because it’s essential to hold on to hope, and not to allow the reactionary, xenophobic forces that currently seem to be in the ascendancy to win in the longer term.
So I wish all my friends a brave and strong 2017. May it at least be a better year than this one.