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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale

Happy New Year 2020

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

Admittedly, this is a belated welcoming into the third decade of this Millennium. Albeit, I see this as a positive thing overall, given what an odd time the entrance into a new year forever feels.

Having had a few months to digest the reality of entering into 2020 it before talking about it, must be positive?

Given personal circumstance, I’d been on a high for a period in excess of three months. I was enjoying my new job in working for a homeless charity and with this, I could conveniently side-step any of life’s inevitable hurdles.

As I was always conscious of this blind-eye, it hardly came as too much of a shock. I had enjoyable, 31st Birthday in the middle of November 2019 and a glorious build-up to Christmas, being kept incredibly occupied and celebrating having a long-distance relationship and kept alive by how fantastic Sarah and I’s recent journeys across the Atlantic had been.

Under the reality all of the joy and frivolity was inevitably going to crack. This is the operative word for it. It is all healed and we’re as solid as ever and the little bump was only caused by realities seeping into an otherwise idyllic situation.

Learning to confront the truth in our current situation is more than bearable, let alone manageable. It is just that New Year in itself is a strange period. So much pressure. Such a funny time, in a non humerous way.

Unnecessary expectation. This year was particularly poignant for myself in marking a whole 10 years since my life was thrown upside down in being struck so catastrophically by a car. Still, I am generally a big proponent of New Year in itself and always just an advocate of people collectively being able to have a readymade excuse for fun!

Though I certainly recognise the enforced feeling aspects of the situation; especially if life’s not quite going the way that you want it to…. I’m not saying that I never fall victim to this frustration, only I tend to find that making a conscious effort to try to be glass half-full is far simpler for everybody in the long-run. Maybe, I’m just being idle here, but trying to make life as easy as possible without impeding upon anybody else has to be best for us all?

Apologies if I am sounding a bit too la di da here. Especially given that I feel as though our country is by far in its worst post-war political situation. We’re coming out a peaceful union and have landed ourselves with the most right-wing Government in living memory; without much united opposition being the real salt in the wound.

Whilst I do not wish to attack any individual for this great mess (maybe David Cameron for calling the 2016 Referendum in the first place!), but I will confidently say that there are many parallels between the Brexit fiasco and Labour’s leader (STILL, I KNOW!) Jeremy Corbyn.

That is not in terms of any similarities in anything that they are proposing, but in their likeness of being incredibly divisive (the former's in the form of not taking any standpoint on Brexit) and directing the conversation towards areas that the British public do not need, let alone want. 2015 IPSOS Mori surveys place ‘health’ as by far people’s priority. EU membership never felt that it was an issue that dominating anybody’s prime concerns. This goes along with a fact that I am increasingly gaining first-hand insight into working with some of the most deprived [homeless people] and learning that they do not largely display feelings of resentment or have a robust desire to penalize people. What they need is to be listened to and to have their needs addressed one step at a time.

It’s all very well preaching about how disgraceful it is that a country of out GDP suffers from this level of inequality – it really is – but it doesn’t put bread on the table. A stale old fart trying to repeat an agenda that failed to inspire enmass over 35 years ago hardly does much to reassure those of us who are desperate for our society’s inequalities to be addressed and for opportunities of all to be increased.

This is where we all need to unite and ditch this tribalism that has seemed to dominate the past almost 5 years of politics. I’m not particularly laying the blame for this on anybody. Without wanting to be too bookish (I’m not!) sounding here, the state of the British Left almost echoes my reading of Leon Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution in reflecting how there will be constant need for rebellion against the hugely crude injustices of capitalism. All very well, but you’ve got to be pragmatic surely about how to improve society?

This is why as a much needed rebellious voice, Jeremy Corbyn would be great and as an advocate of a cause an essential voice, though as leader of the main opposition… This is what I believe to be the main parallel with the dear old man and Brexit. They were both just curveballs irreverently placed in the way of the agenda that people were looking for and fed into an increasingly toxic practice of politics. The fact is that they both dominated in mobilising the guttural feelings that people had towards the way that our society seemed to be disserving them.

In this primitive state of politics, the Remain argument of the Brexit debate was silenced. Dead and buried is something that I felt it had succumbed itself to be and not for lack of trying. There was just no representative figure. The word ‘Leave’ is synonymous with Nigel Farage and all who get taken on that rocky ride of xenophobia and self-entitlement with him. The word ‘Remain’ is synonymous with…

This is what I deem to be the crux of the problem. There was no lucid and robust figure to direct the Remain augment. This is such a travesty. Already it has been calculated that the Brexit argument has already cost our country more than are nigh on 50 year EU membership ever cost us! If this is not a sick joke, then I don’t know what is. Such an uncalled for channeling of energy and hatred.

The bitter irony is that it is as always, the most vulnerable that will suffer. I’d not want to patronize anybody in their voting decision in the Brexit referendum, my point is the disgrace that a vote of this magnitude and constitutional upheaval was ever given. But, it’s happening and one thing that has been salient throughout is that people are not likely to change their minds on this decision. What we need to do is move beyond this calamity and place the focus bag to Housing, Health and Education etc. to really talk about improving our country.

So as always in this piece of writing, I’ve gone off on several tangents and as always been opposed to creating a linear and heavily structural argument! Still, in spite of the current situation of our world – something that has always been able to be said in some capacity, I’m pretty buoyant and upbeat about 2020 along with excited about the opportunities that it may offer. It’s a liberating, in spite of the somber nature reflection, to think that I’ve survived for a decade since something on a par with the worst thing that could ever happen happened to me and if the next decade’s anything like the last, then I’m quite looking forward to experiencing it.

Definitely maybe people, even on a personal level, without wishing to be at all preachy, let’s just do all we can in taking steps to make this into more of the year that we want!

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