MEDITATION ON A LOST YEAR AND A NEW CROSSROADS

There’s been a lot going on in the world over the last nine months, despite the narrow parochial view from a small town in a corner of Wales in varying states of quarantine. As much as Wales has big cities, (Cardiff? Swansea? Newport?) where I live is most decidedly not imbued with a big city perspective. So the closure of one of the local supermarkets, last trading day Sunday 6 December, has been the big, and miserable, news of the last few months. The other has been the remodelling of the crossroads at the centre of the village finally finished, sort of. What was supposed to be a three month job was strung out with Covid and its response into nine. It still hasn’t got all the promised bells and whistles and frankly at the moment looks like the biggest waste of money on a cosmetic effort since the rage for trout pout lips some years ago.

The USA has had an election. Result not quite confirmed. You have an election to elect people who have an election that happens six weeks later? Probably worked in the nineteenth century before modern transport and communication systems, but now? Six weeks? And then another month to move the furniture for the new guy?

Of course that has all been exacerbated by the present incumbent’s approach to elections and news. I guess the combination of Donald Trump and a system that means the nation has got used to ‘mainstream’ media outlets being the ones to ‘call’ the election, was asking for interesting times if it didn’t go spectacularly in his favour.

Most commentators seem to believe it is all over bar the shouting and that Joe Biden is President-Elect, and will take up residence in the White House. President Trump is still tweeting ‘we will WIN!’ and saying he will vacate the White House if the Electoral College votes for Biden on 14 December. Am I the only one wondering what that means? I’ve heard of ‘faithless electors’ where College electors don’t follow their state’s popular vote but apparently (and I am no expert on US Constitutional Law, so don’t quote me) it is also open to State legislatures to appoint College Electors who will vote against the popular vote if that legislature is convinced the original ballot was flawed in some way. The Electors would not then be ‘faithless’ and laws constraining their voting (in some states only) that automatically invalidate ‘faithless’ votes, would not apply. The Donald may still have a technical route to that second term.

With me so far?

I can see why the demise of Waitrose here is the main point of discussion round here.

China appears to have shrugged of Covid-19 like a bad dream the rest of us are still enduring. Do we believe that? Is smoke and mirrors really the cure for SARS-CoV-2? Or a draconian social control that would make Winston Smith’s ‘1984’ look like an Ecstasy fuelled Rave? Facial recognition and re-education camps, fight Covid, Uighurs and Democracy?

Hong-Kong had its flirtation with post British colonial democracy prematurely trashed (see above) and the Brits use some really harsh words. Being in hock to the largest manufacturing economy in the world (which is doing the trashing) doesn’t help truth justice and the mother of Parliaments as it is about to crash out of the lee of the EU of course.

All the usual wars rage in the Middle East/Horn of Africa, different names, same people dying.

Covid of course is still with us, though vaccines appear to be on the way. Let’s hope they are not the false dawn so many other promises turned out to be in 2020. And can we please not give equal air time to ‘anti-vaxxers’ in a spirit of ‘balance’? Andrew Wakefield and his cronies did enough damage 20 years ago without more of his insanity flooding the airways and newsprint. It’s bad enough his corrupt stupidity will be perpetuated through social media and unregulated websites without giving this idiocy access to the validation of mainstream channels.

Having got that off my chest I can look forward to my isolated winter festivals of Hanukkah Christmas and Saturnalia (sorry Diwali, you have already happened) with a light heart. Can’t I?

Happy Winterval.

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