For many in the North, Christmas 2015 has already washed away any notion of a ‘happy’ new year. Some will be lucky to get their lives back any time in 2016. We are already looking at a junior doctors’ strike in January, cuts in services later in the year, more concessions for the rich and more sanctions for the poor. Fortunately happiness can be stolen from the grimmest of situations and in fleeting moments; in the eye of the hurricane.
It’s a happy new year by default for the banks, corporations and the mega rich. But it’s likely to be a grim year for campaigners as the government ramp up their austerity measures, accelerate the privatisation of the NHS and seek to push our society beyond its tipping point. Petitions may well become less effective as our democracy is continually diluted and subverted. The propaganda machine we call the press won’t let up in its fabrications and hate speech, as facts get demoted to points of view. But ‘grim’ can work for us.
That’s why I plead the 23rd [Psalm]. You know it from school, funerals and general quotes. “Though I walk in the valley of death I will fear no evil [MP]”. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my [opponents]”. 2016 will be no picnic for campaigners and the victims of austerity but neither will it be a walk in the park for those we campaign against if we grit our teeth and hold fast to our rods and staffs. Its serious stuff and if we win any real victories we’ll have scars to prove it.
Here’s to a hard-won 2016.