This will I think be my last post of 2011. An eventful year, but I'm already sick of this "was it the biggest news year ever?" crap and the way in which these things are packaged nowadays. Normally (along with the Royal Institution Christmas lectures, which are now - of course - on BBC4, and although I think iPlayer is a great idea, I never use it as much as I think I'm going to, so I probably won't watch them) I really like the news review programmes at this time of year, but the ITV News one scheduled for this evening is a big turn-off for me - based solely on the write-up I saw in the Sun this morning, which made me want to spit my cornflakes out. Something along the lines of: '...an amazing news year featuring the death of Colonel Gaddafi and the marriage of Kate and Wills...' Need I say more? And the thought of Mark Austin's bovine, yet strangely sinister face spouting bullshit at me makes me want to smash the TV set, so I think I'll give it a miss.
My own review of the year just gone would centre around desperation. A sense of the death of hope and a demonstration of the total, abject failure of our so-called democracies to bring about any real change. The Libyan adventure was utterly shameful, from its conception to its dreadful conclusion, and the fact that it is being held up as some kind of standard for the great Coalition project actually turns the stomach. Obama has been no sort of beacon, though it was certainly foolish to expect anything else, with the only real joy associated with his becoming President being that he was not George W Bush. Yet his capitulation to those frankly certifiable Tea Partiers and the soul-destroying compromises of the Finance Bill stand-offs, have been little short of horrific to watch.
Graft, corruption and glad handing have been the hallmarks of our own great institutions, from Cameron and Coulson, through the Met Police and the Ministry of Defence, Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs... You name it. The abyssal hole in the public's respect mystifyingly unfilled by any genuine Opposition parties, and so left to a bunch of tent dwellers outside St. Paul's Cathedral to try and make some 'sense' of it all. Thousands upon thousands of jobs lost, companies going bust, the impending collapse of the Euro... It all adds up to a pretty grim picture - especially for those unfortunate enough to be starting out in life, or for those who might find themselves on the wrong side of the employment line, or worse with a disability or illness to deal with.
FWIW, I think that the Euro will collapse; that there will be some fundamental changes to the global financial models (though I don't believe these will mean a more equitable arrangement) which will not be without pain. I would have said that the Coalition will fail, but have become even less convinced that anyone in the Westminster village has anything even approaching principles, so will not be holding my breath. I believe that military action will start against Iran. How else will yet more job losses be avoided in the arms industry? I think environmental pressures will continue to mount, and that water will become an ever more precious commodity, leading once again to vast migrations of starving people in Africa, and some terrible catastrophes in the natural world.
After our performance at the Hawthorns the other day, do I think City have a chance of winning the league? Well, yes I do. I don't think it will be easy, because the fucking Rags are somehow persuading otherwise resilient teams to roll over and show their bellies. Spurs are looking good at the moment, though whether that will continue while Harry's doing a bit of porridge in the Scrubs (I hope his cell mate isn't a Gooner or a Southampton fan) remains to be seen. Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all look decidedly inadequate, so I think the league is a two (or maybe three, if Spurs can keep up their form) horse race in reality.
See you in 2012.