2022 - Happy New Year
We are happy that health care workers from the all-important hospital cleaners to leading virologists, biomedical researchers, pharmacists and statisticians will be looking after people throughout the world and advising on the best ways to manage and stop the pandemic.
We are happy that government spending and central planning and the co-ordination of many professionals and volunteers and services personnel have led to such widespread vaccination programmes in Britain and constant vigilance through our Universities on variants of the virus.
The booster jab should be compulsory as should vaccination in the health and caring professions. The social responsibility expressed in a national investment programme in Covid prevention should be respected by all.
Hardly any family or workplace has not felt the sadness and pain of loss or serious illness with Covid. At an emotional level, times have been difficult for most people making it hard to look ahead with optimism.
Britain has changed; we as a country are now free to do as we choose. No spending programme or economic and political reform can be subject to fines or legal challenge by the European Union. The USA can interfere with our Courts and our investment and foreign policies as much as it dares, but we could send it packing if we chose to.
Many believed Brexit would create Paradise on earth. They assumed it would lead to the immediate, automatic fulfilment of their every wish. It would never do this, particularly with a Tory government in place.
What it did was to remove unelected control over our public spending, end the requirement to procure substantial developments internationally, end the agriculture and fisheries policies and, eventually, end all subsidies to the EU state. Importantly, Brexit meant an end to foreign control over our laws and economy. It gave the levers of economic power back to our elected representatives.
As one poet puts it:
“Forty years ago it had begun,
The long struggle for independence has now been won,
We’ve brought back Parliament under our control
To ensure the elected can play the leading role.
There’d been a huge upheaval, shifts of power,
Food bank Britain instead of our finest hour.
But we, now democratically in charge
Of our own destiny, can choose to enlarge
The scope of what we, united, can achieve
If it suits us, or simply give up and leave
Things as they have always been, or worse.
Our responsibility’s our curse.
We have re-established freedom and control over Britain’s future. However, exercising that freedom and its attendant responsibility will be an immense struggle. We will be blocked and impeded by many on the Left and in the unions who prefer protest and lampooning the Tories, to being in charge.
Our freedom will more substantially be opposed by the finance sector and large corporations who, increasingly backed by the USA and its reasserted ‘special relationship’, will seek to exercise their unelected influence more brazenly.
Often when thinking of the year ahead we think of progressive people throughout the world in prison still for their beliefs.
Julian Assange remains in Belmarsh jail, in essence without charge, awaiting potential extradition to the CIA who four years were planning his assassination. His crime was only to pass on materials leaked to him as a journalist that revealed the full horror of US imperialism. Workers fought for and introduced the rights of freedom of expression and tolerance into our system. Assange should be freed.
Abdullah Ocalan the Kurdish leader remains in aggravated isolation a form of torture still denied visits from lawyers and family or anyone. The brutality of his incarceration is in direct response to the peace loving solution he would bring to a region not increasingly plagued by the chemical weapons of Turkey’s imperialist aims. Ocalan should be freed.