Do we care it's New Year time at all?
(with apologies to Ure/Geldof)
It's pretty commonplace to think we have just about managed to survive a particularly awful year as we say farewell to 2022. Globally still we've had waxing and waning Covid, and a number of other biological threats; a new vicious war, this time right on our doorstep, in Ukraine; more sabre rattling from China over Taiwan; we are threatening our one home planet just as much as ever, if not more; and just as in every previous sort of crisis, a tiny few will become even more wealthy from exploiting it, playing it like a game.
Whether we can lay all our economic woes at the feet of the belligerent Putin or seek better reasons closer to home in the failures of our own governments over the past few years, 2022 has witnessed prices rise faster than during most of our lives, households pushed to decisions about whether to heat or eat, and whether, indeed, they can afford to maintain the very roof over their heads.
In Britain we've seen two governments, of the same party, even though with an enormous majority, collapse through incompetence, venality and at times outright criminality, and a third teeters on the brink having brought back many of the personalities that led to one or other previous failure. And while, naturally, the parties not in government have made superficial polling gains as a result, none seem to offer a true alternative.
But...is there any reason to believe that 2023 offers any prospect of relief from any of this?
As true as it is that the overwhelming mass of our 8 billion fellow humans is completely powerless, even in those places where most people have some kind of formal say in who holds power over them, most of us are utterly supine in the face of a tiny group of the wealthiest and most powerful few thousand people on the planet. And there's little sign of that changing.
The most politically active few yearn for the day they can finally vote again and get a different tiny group to do something only minutely different. Many more might give a few minutes thought to it whenever election time comes. More still will troop in like cattle to vote for their tribe without a moment's thought delivering vast power over our lives and economies to people qualified only by having more people put crosses next to the name of someone they barely know, are unlikely to have met and usually don't trust.
Yet it is these systems and the corporate oligarchy that both creates them and is sustained by them, that are failing us, even what we naively call "democracy" itself. We need to withdraw our consent to being "governed" by these monstrous cabals. 250 years ago a group of men put at the top of their manifesto for government that "when a form of government becomes destructive..." it is our right to abolish it.
We need to do so again. Never again should we put a few hundred, mostly male, people, in political and economic power over many billions and of the very planet on which we all depend.
Only then can we look forward to a Happy New Year.