Chris Martin, of Coldplay fame, caught my attention last Friday in a conversation with Graham Norton with the phrase 'whelmed', i.e. what you are if you're not over or under. I felt that way then and I think it will still resonate with me when we reach the present now, almost ten months on, because as I've no doubt mentioned elsewhere I write way, way, way in advance, not that it crosses my mind at the time that it might be as prophetic as The Simpsons.
I'm amazingly cool and calm
about political and world events and national news: nothing shocks
me. Trump triumphed and I'd called that, and before that Brexit, not
that in declaring it here you'd have any reason to believe me because
there are those who claim these things after the outcome. Shift
allegiances or sit on a hedge and wait. Timing is everything.
I wouldn't be surprised if
the backlash continued and the Right continued to rise; I wouldn't be
surprised if we still hadn't invoked Article 50 but Scotland had held
or were about to hold another Referendum, which was again hotly
debated; and I wouldn't be surprised if the European Union was
shakier in its foundations and Merkel's face had a sterner frown as
Germany's abilities to mediate fades and people fall out of love with
the tough but soft approach. Globalisation finally had its day.
Perhaps Trump, by now, will
have erected a better fence rather than a wall to protect what he
calls America's interests. Perhaps for some reason unknown to me he
will have been removed from the Presidency, though just possibly he
might have become more diplomatic, more Reagen-like and less Bush,
except without a Maggie but with a Nigel. And no doubt, he will have
got himself into more scrapes, because let's be honest he's not the
greatest orator, and I seriously doubt that will have improved, that
dramatically. Though more drama, I'm sure, will have been had.
And more, I think, could be
under threat: livelihoods, homes, things that seemed permanently
established now crumbling, and not because of an unstable economy but
because of modernity. This drive to supposedly better ourselves and
the world we live in with yet more technology. And with this I
include, and more importantly, our freedoms too: how we curtail them,
almost willingly, as well as how we want them (and let them be)
Hello cashless and social
media, online-driven society, which, true, we long ago gave a golden
handshake to in greeting, but the pressure over the last couple of
years has ramped up. There is literally no off switch. Yet, whilst
some might revolt against global liberalness, the fading out of how
goods are paid for and exchanged, in layman's terms, is noticed but
nothing done about. The upgrades to swipe, scan, and tap sweeping
through many nations like a particularly virulent flu epidemic, of
which there is no cure, or more accurately an incentive to find one
because you're supposed to believe (as many do) it's a benefit that
outweighs any negatives.
So, scamming will be on the
rise, again; banks will continue to have poor online security and
variable interest rates; energy companies will do their ofgem bit and
tell us to switch though the difference will be minimal but the
inconvenience high; and politicians will still be vague or
deliberately speak what they know to be untruths.
In some areas we'll still be
bombarded by choice; in others, more fundamental ones, choice will be
stripped away. Email will be virtually obsolete and citizens will
take greater risks and accept less responsibility for their very
dubious actions. Everyone will grow more and more careless,
regardless of where they are or what they're doing, and news will be
issued so fast nobody will know if it's true or fake, or possibly
Oh, I paint an imperfect
picture, don't I, of 2017? Not that it really matters as in present
time we're over halfway through, and this is just one projected view
which is not, in all likelihood, a reliable one. But I've started so
I might as well finish, and we're nearly there...
In summary of what will
possibly prove a very useless exercise, (hindsight's a wonderful
thing!): there will always be those who think we're making
progressive or retrogressive leaps, and others who will see it as
being thrown to the lions.
Picture credit: On the Threshold of Liberty, 1937, Rene Magritte