I’m not so sure.
I will be 64 years old. The Tories are once again in power in the UK. The Middle East and other parts of the world are still in conflict, and religious wars are back on the agenda for all. When I was not that much younger, I thought 2016 was the incredible future. We might have Internet wrist watches for those that can afford them, but people are still on the breadline, diseases remain uncured, and nobody is holidaying on Mars.
Ordinary working people have not seen much progress since 1946, and for many, their situation has deteriorated. Kindness has diminished as a concept, and selfishness is the order of the day; for nations, as well as for individuals. Far Right politics have taken control, from America to Ukraine, and beyond. All the hopes and dreams of the 1960s have turned to dust, and greed, profit, and self-interest have replaced them.
Any positives? The Health Service here is still very good, despite struggling against budget cuts. There are no workhouses, at least not yet, but food banks have taken on part of their ancient purpose. It is increasingly harder to list any good things, because they are so few and far between. For someone born in 1952, this year of 2016 promised to be the Golden Age. Leisure time would be abundant, life made easier by progress, illness all but eradicated. But that Golden Age was a mere illusion, fostered by scientists and commentators. In real terms, little has changed since 1816. The rich get richer, the poor have less prospects, education is rationed, and social services are either privatised, or cut to the bone.
Wars still rage, intolerance prevails. Knowledge has gone backwards, electronics have become that famous ‘opium of the people.’ Nobody has any answers, save austerity for those who can least afford to endure it. Dissenters are jailed, those with opposite views or causes are bombed into oblivion, and civilisation marches on, much as it did in Roman times.
Happy New Year? I doubt it.