Winter of discontent

Whilst we gobbled our turkeys, frantically unwrapped presents and played in the snow with gay abandon it was a not-so-festive season in the world of current affairs. First came ‘Brokenhagan’, the climate change summit which, as expected, was a bit of a flop. The negotiations failed to accumulate in a clear-cut, legally binding treaty to drastically cut greenhouse gas emmissions largely due to the fact that the big nations again chose to put economic self-interests ahead of environmental protection. Perhaps we should not be too critical; the summit did make some small progressive steps by tackling deforestation and securing $100 billion financial aid from industrialised countries to poorer nations and the very fact that 192 countries stayed together in one room for such a period of time is pretty remarkable, but still it seems the environment is not a priority.

Come Christmas day and more misery in the shape of a failed bomb plot aboard a passenger jet heading for Detroit. The failed attempt has brought about tighter airport regulations, verging on the ridiculous with the introduction of full body x-ray scans. More importantly it raised serious concerns over the ability of intelligence agencies to prevent future terrorist attacks anough for Obama to release and official apology claiming responsibilty for the debacle. Further still, the fact that the bomber was educated in Britain has led some US journalists to outrageously claim that our nation is now a genuine world security threat. The ‘special relationship’ may well become strained if these kinds of comments continue.

Finally, towards the end of the holiday period we had another incident marked by failure – a feeble attempt at a coup against Gordon Brown. The flimsy revolt was lead by Hoon and Hewitt who, far from being exeplerary politcal heroes, dug the knife in to their troubled leader by requesting a vote of no-confidence. The announcement plunged the world of British politics into controversy and shock – for all of five minutes before it became clear that most Labour MPs were happy to just bitch about Brown without actually committing to any action. The attempt may have crashed and burned but the PM’s position remains in peril as the impending election moves ever closer.

But lets not be cynical; as we enter a new decade (unless you’re one who insists to the death that the decade begins in 2011), it is a time from renewal. After all, from all this misery we can only move forward; as a familiar political party said in 1997, ‘Things can only get better’. Happy new year everyone.


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