23 December 2016

Assessment


It is easy to get things out of proportion. You need to halt sometimes and ask yourself - Is it just me? 

I look back over this year and  see a troubled and troubling world out there. Human society has never been perfect but 2016 appears to have taken us several steps closer to the abyss. It's worrying, very worrying. Of course there's Trump and there's Britain's narrow decision to leave the European Union. And there's the unholy mess that Syria has become. We are all aware of these things. We have been bombarded with images and endless words, over and over. It would be almost impossible to ignore it all.

Then there's been lots of other worrying stuff. Mad men driving lorries into crowds of innocent people. Sexual abusers being unmasked week after week. Desperate migrants drowning at sea. Social media trolls inventing false news stories which thousands believe. I could go on and on, moving from world events to the microcosmic details of everyday life.

In Sheffield, council sub-contractors have chopped down dozens of perfectly healthy mature trees, replacing them with scrawny saplings that will take several decades to catch up. Other contractors have been merrily removing traditional green man lighting from pedestrian crossings, replacing it with console screens mounted at waist level above the "Stop" request button.

Train tickets cost the earth. "Smart" motorways have no hard shoulders. Where once we got our energy from British Gas and the local electricity board, now there's a plethora of energy companies competing for our "custom". In America, an estimated 14,000 people will have been shot to death this year - a total that does not include suicide deaths. Big businesses and millionaires bend taxation rules to breaking point. In East Africa, lives continue to be ravaged by AIDS.

And when it comes to the natural world with which we have all been blessed, the carcasses of elephants and rhinos lie rotting in the heat, victims of poachers as starving polar bears  drift away on ice floes. In Russia and Malta, so-called sportsmen shoot down endangered birds just for the thrill of it all. And in  the Amazon basin, swathes of rainforest are obliterated - often containing forms of life that human beings have never recorded - extinct even before we have even seen them.

I know other people who feel the same as me about 2016. A bad, bad year in which the world went rather crazy and many past certainties were shaken to the floor. Are we wrong? Is it just us? Is there any reason why we should look ahead to 2017 with optimism, believing that a corner has been turned and that the year ahead will be better than the one that is about to end? 

39 comments:

  1. It really has been a bad year. New Years Eve will require several bottles of champagne to celebrate the end of this crap year! Let's hope for better things in 2017.

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    1. And let's hope that there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and flying pigs in the sky.

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  2. It has certainly been one of those 'you couldn't make it up' periods. Let's hope the other well known phrase will come into its own - 'Things can only get better ...'

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    1. Perhaps that phrase will be altered to "Things can only get bitter" in 2017.

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  3. I have very little hope. People I have known all my life have suddenly gone stupid and are proud of themselves for that achievement. I could maybe stay at home and ignore the rest of the world deteriorating, but there are people in my neighborhood who have been body-snatched.

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    1. Thank heavens that in Sloughhouse there is one little island of sanity... but by the sound of it you may need guard dogs and a razor wire fence to keep it safe from the bodysnatchers..

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  4. As much as one wants to be optimistic; how much one wishes to remain positive...it's becoming more difficult as each day passes to retain the hope, the dreams and wishes for goodness, peace,love, understanding, happiness...

    Narrow-mindedness...blinkered beliefs, hate, greed, disrespect for others....I won't go on....I know you know what I'm trying to say.

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    1. Not what you are trying to say Lee... but what you said, what you said.

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  5. I think the situation, every situation, political, social and environmental, is retrievable but I don't see a lot of will to make it happen.

    Lets hope something changes

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    1. I wish The Beatles had been right... "All You Need is Love" but I think the world needs more than that right now.We need wisdom, visionary leadership, tough decisions and a renewed appreciation that we are together. We are all earthlings and this is our home.

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  6. Hullo there, Mr Pudding. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog.
    Season's Greetings to you and Mrs Pud!

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    1. That's very nice of you Rozzie. Thanks for (Cough,cough) revealing yourself! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  7. Regarding the trees.Athens,Georgia,usa has a tree that owns its own land and is tended with care....the town of Walterboro South Carolina requires permission to remove a tree and it is not easy to get.
    Regarding the foolishness in the world, and our clown (not funny ha ha) of a president...this makes me fearfull. But the blogs i follow show me there are many well wishers and kind caring folks out there. Share a smile and a kind word and pass it forward. Happy holidays..hug those you love.

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    1. Share a smile and hug those you love... sounds like the stoic attitude shown by British people squatting in the air raid shelters of World War II. Thanks for calling by Millicent and I hope you have a very happy Christmas.

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    2. You are a ood man charlie brown

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  8. What you're talking about it the tipping point. I don't think the fools will get it this year In fact I don't think the fools will ever get it. It's sad when false stories come out and people are so uninformed that they believe them.

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    1. Truth or illusion George... who knows the difference?

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  9. If that post was meant to make me feel depressed and hopeless about the outlook for the future - it worked.

    But probably not for all that long, I've noticed this morning as I went about the shops there are people with a positive out look and doing their small bit to maintain good will.

    Hurrah for them.

    Alphie

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    1. And Boo for me... Mr Miseryguts.

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  10. Hopefully next year will be better, but at the moment there seems to be no ray of light amongst the gloom. Are we right to fear for the future of mankind, and the planet?

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    1. There's no masterplan, no guiding presence. The fear is logical CG.

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  11. Hope YP. Hope - that is the word that always springs to mind. Happy Christmas.

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    1. The only Hope that eases my mind is the village of Hope in The Hope Valley.

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  12. Ah! It's being so cheerful as keeps us going.

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    1. Haha! Best comment yet. :)

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    2. Yes Lesley...I am filled with Christmas cheer... Ho-ho-ho!

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  13. I'm filled with Christmas spirit, which isn't quite the same thing

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  14. And the good news goes on. Now Rick Parfit. This has been a really bloody good year!

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    1. Ah here we are and here we are and here we go
      All aboard and we're hitting the road
      Here we go, droppin' all over the world!

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  15. I start each year optimistically, hopefully, but teuman race never fails let let me down. There has always been war since time immemorial, usually caused by greed or religion, there are always bad folk who want to do harm to others, but there are so many good folk too. Optimistically once more I go into 2017, just hoping, praying..... Meanwhile,Happy Christmas to you YP and the family.

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    1. ... and a 2017 without typos (I meant the human race)!

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    2. How far will we get into 2017 before disaster strikes? Hopefully we'll make it to January 3rd or even the 4th! I can dream can't I?

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  16. Depressing post YP, but I am writing this with carols from Cambridge, KIng's College on the TV...already had half a bottle of wine, and feeling cheery. I tend not to watch the news anymore, though it does impinge rather too often..can't avoid it on the local radio that I listen to. I am hoping that life as we know it will carry on as normal, as long as Trump and Putin don't escalate a nuclear war ! I remember being very scared about that in my youth at some point, but thankfully it didn't happen. I do fear for my grandkids for many reasons. Love to you and family. X

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    1. As I write this reply, I guess you are on your second bottle of wine Frances. Please take care as you stagger to bed. I hope that Santa brings you all you ever wanted... Expect to find George Clooney at the bottom of your bed in the morning.

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    2. He wasn't there.... Disappointed! I expect he is too busy with that skinny clothes horse wife of his.

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    3. No need to be bitchy Frances. It doesn't suit you!

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  17. 2016 has not been a good one for all the reasons you give. Let's all try harder next year, but in the meantime - Merry Christmas.

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    1. Merry Christmas... and now over to "The Sunday Round Up"...

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.