The makings of a difficult year

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
David Bowie

The makings of a difficult year

I am glad that 2017 is over. Strictly speaking, I feel 2017 in politics was a bad year for everyone. I do not want to sound like a mad grumpy old lady, but in a world, with characters like Trump and Putin in power, is not a good one in my book. We tend to think when reflecting over the events of the year just gone that the new one will be at least slighter better, but I am afraid there is no point in fooling ourselves. It won’t be. Maybe, only maybe, we can use this knowledge to our advantage, to keep our eyes wide open and our minds on constant alert. The world is rapidly changing and social media with all its uncontrollable force is dictating its changes from the comfort of the small screen. Fake news, very ill informed views, extremely quick judgments and disposal of facts are dangerous sins. We are forgetting how to use our brains and instead we choose the easier route to click on our little screens and let others make up your mind for you. Trump loves a tweet and Putin loves to play the supreme hacker. I am not at ease knowing that all these dark forces are playing puppeteers with us. My resolution for the New Year is to think more, reflect more, to create more opinions of my own. I have every intent to see this resolution fulfilled. No more keeping the mind on standby.

I wish I could feel any different about the fate of 2018, but its predecessor left so many matters in a worrying state. The madness of terrorism as seen in Manchester or Barcelona has left a trail of despair and a feeling of helplessness not seen before. Same applies to the Europe migrant crisis. It is still there even if the media are just not interested anymore. The EU is extremely unclear about how to handle the right of migration and asylum with a more strict control of its external borders. In the meantime, we have shamefully neglected the thousands of people who crossed the Mediterranean in hope of something better. All this lack of leadership handling the crisis has had an immediate impact in the most affected countries like Italy. In the last four years the country has taken on over 600,000 refugees. The rise of the populist parties such as The Five Star movement will have a key role in the Italian general elections next March. Once again another threat of populism in Europe. It won’t be the last one. Germany, Austria, Czech Republic … all showing the rising popularity of these neo fascist parties, all of different nature but equally hostile towards immigration. Europe will continue to struggle with nationalism. The Catalans secessionists. The Scottish independence supporters… The list goes on and on.

Of course there is still the tiny little issue that is Brexit. Straight on to phase 2. The Trade talks begin this year in what will be a crucial moment for the EU and the United Kingdom. True to my new resolution of showing a more fighting and critical spirit, I will position myself for the year to come as follows. A referendum is needed to approve whatever deal is reached (or not) with the EU. I am not disputing in the slightest the result of the Brexit referendum. It was what it was, but it is only a democratic right to be able to have a say in the final outcome. Brexit was the mandate of the British public. It was the will of the people, politicians keep saying that, but we all know there was a lot of different Brexit scenarios and none of them were voted for. You should have a last chance to say if the final arrangements will leave you and your country better or worse off from what we are at the moment. You will be voting then with full information of what would you leave behind and what the immediate future will bring. If the deal is then backed by the majority, democracy has won. If it is not, democracy will win as well. Confucius said “If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.” Exactly and there is no shame in admitting when something is wrong. It always pays off in the long run. Hasta la próxima amigos.

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