2023 in review: Poisoning the Well

Published on: Sun Dec 31 2023

2023 was another year of unnecessary wars and suffering, with Russia and Ukraine rumbling on with no end in sight. Israel responded to a terrorist attack with maximum aggression against civilians, seeking vengeance against an oppressed population. It's hard to focus on the positives when the news seems so relentlessly bleak and when history repeats itself so frequently. Collectively, we never seem to learn the lessons of the past.

We have a government in the UK that is failing most of it's population. Inflation has gone way up and poverty is rising. This year has also been the hottest on record and the threat of climate change is no longer an abstraction. Here in the UK, it is now a reality and an emergency.

Instead of tackling any of these issues, or you know, leading in a crisis, we have a government who refuses to take any meaningful action. Led by an ineffective billionaire who doesn't understand the economic reality for most people in this country, this has been a year where politicians have decided to embrace the hard right. To distract attention from their lack of action, the government has attacked the most vulnerable in our society, launching attacks on immigrants, trans people and the poor. This year saw Suella Braverman call homelessness a 'lifestyle choice', while the government decided to demonise trans people at every turn and house asylum seekers in a barge with legionella. It's disgusting, using suffering people as scapegoats to distract from a government that is burying it's head in the sand and refusing to do anything meaningful.

The government has also decided to reverse restrictions on north sea oil drilling and signal that global warming is a woke myth. This is a major issue as the world stand at a crisis point. We need action, not denial.

The Tories know they will lose the next election because they have screwed up the economy. They are poisoning the well before they leave. Salting the earth so the conversation is moved away from any positive solutions. Theirs is a party lacking in any sort of empathy, and they are determined to corrupt everything with their hatred before they are forced out of office. Next year we need to kick the bastards out before they ruin anything more. Then we need to hold Labour accountable to be better. It's essential, not just for people who are suffering, but for the very future of our planet under climate change.

I mentioned at the start how hard positivity is to find when the news is so bleak. But we must find it, we must cling to it like a life raft against everything. In Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit describes the necessity of hope against all odds:

... hope is an ax you break down doors with in an emergency; because hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth's treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal.

I can't think of anything more necessary and relevant as we head into the new year.

Previous Years in Review: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. 2020, 2021, 2022