THAT’S 2016 out on its arse. And who among us can be sorry about that? Let’s just hope it doesn’t end up like that old song by the Who – meet the new year, same as the old year.
Maybe the slating of 2016 has been overdone. It wasn’t the greatest of years, but that sound you can hear is 1916 knocking on the door to complain about all the noise – you think you’ve got it bad?
In self-absorbed times, it’s not a bad idea to remember that other years have been awful. The main stated arguments against 2016 are that an unusual number of celebrities died, or so it appeared. And that we saw two political shocks: the Brexit vote and the triumph of Trump. Both have been over-examined and over-interpreted. The Brexit vote was a narrow squeak of a victory that has been wilfully misrepresented in some quarters as the verdict of all the people, rather than the verdict of some of them. A victory, yes. But not the full chorus.
It was the same with Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton cleared 2.7 million more votes than Trump, but lost because of the eccentricities of the American voting system. So again, the people didn’t speak as one.
But I don’t wish to spend New Year’s Day thinking about all that. Here’s one passing thought, though: it is often said that history is written by the victors. Well, yes. The trouble is that the Brexit and Trump contingents are writing their history right now, dashing it off on the hoof with vainglorious abandon. It is possible that history might have other ideas up its sleeve.
Years ago, too long gone almost to remember, grandparents used to deflect questions about dessert by saying that it would be wait-and-see-pudding. It strikes me that Brexit is like that. We just don’t know what we are going to get and must wait and see. In honour of the man who got us into this situation, perhaps it will be wait-and-see Eton Mess.
I started my New Year with a Sunday morning run. It rained but I was glad to be outside, even if any athleticism I might once have laid claim to has deserted me. As I laboured up Holgate Hill, a young man on the other side of the road was returning from what must have been the longest New Year’s Eve. He wove and staggered upwards. Later today he will no doubt be “hanging” as the daughter puts it.
Let’s hope this new year doesn’t start with a bad hangover from that just gone. Meet the new year, hopefully not the same as the old one.