Thursday, 24 December 2020

The Barnet Eye Xmas message 2020

 This is the twelfth year of this message. I have to admit, I was floundering for inspiration. I thought I'd look at last years message. You remember Xmas Eve 2019? We were in the heady days of the Boris Johnson election honeymoon. I wrote these words

I fell asleep yesterday evening and had a bizarre dream that I'd awoken in hospital in a coma after 40 years. The nurse told me that Margaret Thatcher was no longer Prime Minister, I asked how she'd got on. At that moment the dog woke me up. I was a tad disturbed and thought "How could I possibly have forgotten John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson?". As I thought about this, I realised that if I possibly could erase all memory of the lot of them, I'd be very tempted. Between the lot of them, so little of real value added to the UK. I thought I'd see if I could find one positive thing to say about any of them. John Major? Decent enough bloke and wasn't Margaret Thatcher. Tony Blair Ended the civil war in Northern Ireland. Gordon Brown? Saved the UK's banking industry. David Cameron? Ended discrimination in marriage. Theresa May? Erm..... Any help here team? Boris Johnson? Isn't Theresa May and ended the interminable conversations about #Brexit. 

I feel really bad as I genuinely couldn't think of anything at all positive to say about Theresa May's term. It will perhaps be interesting to see what I write in ten years when I revisit this blog (assuming I'm still around and blogging). I hope I can be a bit nicer about her.
It seems almost ironic that a year to the day after that, today is the day we learn what the #Brexit deal is. I've been reliably informed that the EU crossed none of their red lines. I can only leave you to guess what that means for the UK. I was told that this had been all but signed two weeks ago, but Boris wanted to announce it on Xmas eve as Parliament wouldn't be sitting and everyone would be looking the other way. I was wrong about Boris. He hasn't ended the discussions about the EU, he has got us the worst of all worlds. He hasn't satisfied the 48% that wanted to stay in the EU. As to the 52% I can't speak for them, but when they wake up to the fact that we are a vassal state and the EU has got everything they could possibly have wished for, then I am sure we will hear a little more from them. 

The main thing the EU wanted, the thing that was more important than anything else, was they wanted to show what happens if you leave. Of all the nations in the EU, the UK is the one best able to leave. If all we can do is become a vassal state, with no say in the dealings of the EU, why on earth would anyone else want to follow the same path? The #Brexiteers claim that in the long term it will be better for the UK. I will wager a bet that in twelve years time, if I am still writing this Xmas message, I won't be posting a blog about what a marvellous success #Brexit turned out to be. Someone asked me if I thought the EU would have the UK back. The answer is no. They hate our guts now. The costs of rejoining would be so high that even the most ardent remainer would not pay them. It's done and we have to make the best of it. 

So what is the future? Well we will have six more months of Covid at least, assuming the vaccine works and people take it. Then we have to repair the carnage that is UK PLC. I suspect that 2021 will make 2020 look like a cakewalk. The first three months are going to be grim beyond belief. I am hopeful that by March, we may see some easing, but I think it will be July before any semblance of what we call normal life returns.

I think that by the Autumn, things will seem more positive. I predict Boris will be long gone by then. The Tories want Brexit done and Covid to be under control before the knives appear. By then Joe Biden will be in the White House and the world will be moving towards normality. Rishi Sunak is the favourite to replace Boris. My view is that he has no chance. Firstly, Tories generally hate choosing the favourite. They broke this rule with Boris and look what happened. My money would be on Jeremy Hunt. He's not sullied with the chaos of this Government. I suspect he'd be a little bit better at dealing with Kier Starmer than Boris, who is the square root of useless. 

Traditionally, my Xmas message had a spiritual element. It has been a very difficult year for people of faith. Those that see faith as a badge to trumpet what a marvellous person they are, those loud bigots that see the rules but not the reason, have been in ascendency. But for those who see faith as a driving reason to help their fellow citizen, without expecting anything in return, have had a hard year. We see those around us in trouble and we can't put an arm around them. Many of us are worrying about our own household budgets, so we worry about charity, at the time it is most needed. As regular readers will know, I am the deputy leader of group that takes people with needs away in the summer. We didn't go this year as many in the group are vulnerable. In November, we organised a Zoom call top get together. I realised just how much this was needed. So on Sunday, we had another one. We had a Zoom carol sing song. It was chaotic, bizarre and thoroughly magnificent. If you can do nothing else, stay in contact with the people you know who are isolated. I will leave you with this thought. The true spirit of Xmas was summed up in the most extraordinary way, from the most unexpected source. I regularly speak to Eddie Nestor on BBC Radio London. I did yesterday, but the person he spoke to before me was a guy from the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple in Gravesend. They had been contacted by the Police to see if they could do anything to feed the hungry truck drivers stuck on the M20. The story of how they rose to the task was so uplifting. That is true faith. Just getting on with it. Have a wonderful Christmas. 


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