Have you recovered yet? No, not from your annual boozathon, but from 2016. What a year for pollsters, pundits, bookies getting it wrong! First, Brexit, then Donald Trump. Yes, if only Michael Fish (remember him?) had been plying his trade last year, he’d have looked bang-on.
It’s too early to say where 2016 will rank in modern world history compared with, say,1914 and 1939. But it was undoubtedly the most dramatic moment in British politics since the Second World War. Plus, the USA elected a president who publicly admitted he gropes women, doesn’t pay taxes and, reportedly, summarised his future Republican supporters thus in People Magazine: “they believe anything... I could lie and they’d still eat it up.” I mean, what do you have to do to be unelectable?
Add that to the deaths of so many celebrities, and it’s difficult to see how 2017 could be any more ‘surprising.’ But then, consider what’ll be happening. The Supreme Court ruling, the triggering of Article 50, Trump’s inauguration, the French and German elections, Russian and Chinese expansionism, the next inevitable terrorist attack and our response to it. Maybe we’re heading for more of the same - 2016 Mark II?
As wishes for 2017 go, mine are pretty modest. Of course, a complete end to war, disease and famine.
But if I can’t have that, maybe I can have something a little easier to achieve: an open, grown-up and serious debate about the future of the NHS (not helped by recent news of foreign patients running up £30m of unpaid NHS bills in one year) and of the Government’s foreign aid spending target of 0.7 per cent of GDP (despite some worthwhile projects, enormous sums of taxpayers’ money are currently wasted and would be surely better allocated to hard-pressed defence, healthcare and education).
And as for the Brexit/Trump aspect: yes, who knows what the future holds, but there’s been worse: the Blitz, for example.
For some, 2016 is set to take its place alongside 9/11, 24/7 and 360 as numerical descriptors that become words.
So, 2016: never again, please!
Nora Johnson’s psychological/suspense crime thrillers ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.99;£0.99) and iBookstore.All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.