Bring on 2012!
A brave new year beckons. Our backs will have to be strong in the face of yet more tightening of the monetary screw. For many it will mean homes ironically being repossessed by the very financial institutions that have destroyed so many lives already. It’s as if we, you and me, will have to go on paying for their failure until our purses have been fully rung dry. More jobs will be lost as more businesses collapse and more people will be looking to consolidate ever expensive credit debt by seeking secured loans to keep the roof over their heads. Despite all of this there are some things in life that remain almost sacrosanct, events that remain in the still small quiet at the centre of the most frightening of tornados. Despite the massive costs involved surely even those of a secular disposition would never, as an example, cancel Christmas, unlike Oliver Cromwell who, despite his many failings, at least stuck to his ‘guns’ by cancelling Christmas in the 17th century: and he was a Christian! Playing devils advocate for just a second or two, it would make logical and financial sense, particularly this year, to have cancelled Christmas. All those days lost from work because of public and other holidays. So ask yourself this: why don’t we? Well, I think it has something to do with the same basic humanity that the soldiers in the trenches felt in World War 1 when deciding to play football in the still quiet of no-mans land with the enemy. Incidentally, the many reports that Birmingham City Council had once tried to cancel Christmas, after may years of research, has been proved to be nothing more than an urban myth with apologies from those particular rumour-mongers flying all over the place. Tomorrow night we will celebrate the arrival of our brave new year, many partying into the wee small hours. Even the most dour or cynical amongst us might shed a tear or two as they reminisce or remember times, people and places from the past, then express, perhaps, through an alcoholic haze, their hopes for our collective well being during the next twelve months. Some traditional life events are just too special to be deemed void, or expendable. They remain stoic through times of war or financial uncertainty. Sticking religiously to certain dates in our lives undoubtedly gives us all an almost unconscious sense of belonging: a security that money can’t buy or remove. I love to ‘people-watch’ on New Years Eve as some revellers take the opportunity to arrive in a pub, club or home party dressed as humpty dumpty or Sergeant Pepper. Then there are others who will treat New Years Eve with the greatest of respect by dressing in their ‘Sunday best’. The Scottish have given us some of the more ceremonial, memorable, and traditional ‘litany’ that is followed almost religiously leading up to and beyond the midnight hour. Optimism remains our greatest friend. Have a Happy New Year!