If 2016 was a year where your natural order was turned upside down, where nothing is as it seemed, where people you respected turned out to be startlingly and disappointingly different, then read on.
If you weren’t much affected by the sea changes of 2016 or you thought it was actually a *really* good year and *really great* things will follow, then, stop reading now. Go for a walk or look at funny goat clips on You Tube. There’s nothing for you here.
So, first off, 2016 was the year the made me doubt the police, their powers, how they can take freedom so easily on the basis of nothing but someone else’s flaky word. Powerful, unjust and uncaring is a particularly toxic combination.
Then there was the realisation that in a referendum or an election for that matter, normal societal rules do not apply.
Unknown to most people until it was too late, it is apparently perfectly legal and acceptable to lie, manipulate, and present fake facts to the populace in order to achieve a desired result.
Perpetrators of misleading statements who “mis-speak” in the run-up to a referendum or election cannot be held legally accountable. So you can sue the garage that claimed you could fly your car to the moon but you can’t sue the party who made up a massive vote-catching lie and then said “Oh that thing on the bus. Well yes, that was probably wrong.”
It was the year I realised that a Prime Minister and his Government could completely cock up the organisation to a referendum so that that Joe Bloggs’ one vote could be the difference between ruining our economy by withdrawing from Europe, thus ignoring the wishes of almost 50% of the population.
It was the year I realised that America isn’t so great. I’d kind of got that impression by the way toddlers keep shoot their mums using the little toddler-friendly guns that mums keep in their handbags but the massive old-school racism that still exists in a modern free multi-cultural nation was a bit of a shocker.
It seems that a sizeable number of Americans who are just about intelligent enough to vote, have managed to hang on to ignorant, greedy, medieval, racist, sexist, small-minded attitudes that curtail freedoms.
It was the year I realised that Theresa May our unelected PM and Jeremy Hunt, the bad joke who is Health Secretary, will indeed allow the NHS and the wonderful doctors still in it, to go to hell. They ignore all the warnings and are watching the NHS break under a million strains. The warnings have grown over the past 2 – 3 years but were ignored.
All of the above did actually result in some people sinking into a funk of depression, of feeling de-stabilised and disenfranchised, of being isolated with their beliefs about equal rights, racial harmony, and the conviction that we are all neighbours on this precious planet that all nations need to care for. It seemed that kindness, caring for your fellow man was not the New Order.
I was one of the people for a while. It’s the first time in my life that I felt shell-shocked by current events. Friends and colleagues felt the same.
“We’ve sleepwalked into this,” one said.
“We didn’t realise. We should have done more.”
It’s true. But in my previous experience the political change has never been so brutal, so wrong, so based on what we now know were mass deceptions.
So, no more sleep walking.
I’ve always been opinionated but not a particularly rabid activist apart from donations and small actions supporting causes dear to my heart.
I resigned my National Trust membership in protest at them allowing fox-hunting on their land.
I’ve marched against the badger cull and been on night patrols to try to protect my local badgers from marksmen.
But in the last six months I’ve signed more petitions than the rest of my life.
I’m going on the anti-Brexit march in London at the end of March. I know it’s probably futile but I’m going purely to stand up and be counted; to demonstrate, physically, that I don’t want it.
I’m not going to sleep walk into anything else.
I’ve written three letters to my crappy local Tory MP because he’s the only one I’ve got and I’m going to lobby the crap out of him.
I’ve objected to a local planning application to build houses in the village where I live because it will spoil a nice view and create a precedent for more development in an unsuitable spot. There are plenty of boring places to put houses elsewhere in the village. without ruining the scenic. historic bits for us all.
I’ve written an impassioned plea to every single member of the Planning Committee. It may not make one iota of difference but I have made my feelings known. The decisive meeting is in March.
It’s 2017. Time to stand up for what we believe in and resist where necessary.
Like Germaine Greer said “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.”