This is traditionally a time when we look back at the year just gone and forward to the new one. On a personal note, this year has seen two major medical procedures, chemotherapy and a change of house. So pretty hectic from January right through and I can only pray that next year brings a bit of much needed calm.
Politically, it’s been a strange year, with the relief of getting the aftermath of that trial out of the way, unionists as usual shooting themselves in both feet especially in that committee and a good performance in the General Election. The birth of a new party briefly caused a flutter among the political chatterers and then reality dawned.
As the year draws to a close though, the news of the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu serves to remind us that there are issues and causes which transcend the day-to-day political fray and just occasionally produce the people to answer destiny’s call. In South Africa that call was answered by three men who rose above the tribal to build what the “Arch” proudly called “the Rainbow Nation”. Sadly, they are all now gone to the great debating chamber in the sky but without F.W. De Klerk, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu the history of South Africa could and probably would have been a bloodier and more chaotic story. Apartheid would still have ended, simply because it was an utterly immoral concept, but that ending would not have been based on Truth and Reconciliation.
Back in the hurly burly of domestic politics we are witnessing the end of probably the worst Prime Minister in UK history. Indeed, had the House of Commons not risen for the Christmas recess before the result was known from North Shropshire then the atmosphere at Westminster would have been something to behold as Tory backbenchers realised that if a 20,000 plus majority could vanish in the tory heartlands, then those “red wall” tories were on borrowed time.
The one area however where I think that Boris and Nicola have something in common is that both are blessed in their enemies. There is not a single member of the current cabinet who could be considered to be morally, intellectually or politically capable of doing the job. In 50 years of political activism I have never seen so little quality rise to such high office.
Then there is the “opposition”! The Observer was almost in rapture that Labour had finally moved into a polling lead recently, but with this Government they should be at least 20 – 25 points ahead not still in single digits. A serious potential Prime Minister would be slaughtering the tories not boring them to death.
Equally, for Nicola, the lack of a serious opposition is so glaring as to be embarrassing for Scottish politics. Any Government needs a good opposition for the sake of democracy and placing the achievements of the Government to one side, after 14 years in office there should have been the prospect of a change back in May. The lack of one tells me two things. One is that the alternatives to the SNP are simply not seen by the electorate as credible. Ok, it’s hard to debate that. The second thing is that the main point of debate is still Scotland’s future and that the electorate are seeing Independence as not only desirable but becoming inevitable and the settled will.
2022 will see the campaign for IndyRef2 move into higher gear and there will be more than enough work for all of us to do. Enough that hopefully, we can concentrate on fighting unionists and not each other over details, which may be important to individuals but not necessarily to the wider electorate. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize.