2012 will go down in history as the Annus Horribilis.
For myself, it saw the breakup of my marriage and months of lurching from crisis to crisis as I fought to right the boat and rebuild my life. To show how hard a slog it's been, it was only the day before yesterday that I finally managed to get beds for my daughter and myself after sleeping on the floor since August.
As for the world, the loopier fringe of humanity thought it would end on the 21st of December based on when the Mayan calendar ended. That's a bit like preparing for Judgement Day on 1 January 2100 because that's when the perpetual calendar on your watch runs out. In my opinion, that doomsday was already passed on election day in the United States when Mr Barack Hussein Obama was re-elected.
I'm not such a political animal that I believe that an election setback means the end of the world. There's much more to life than what goes on in Washington or Whitehall. I also don't believe that the Land and the King are One. However, I do believe that leadership counts and that democracy depends on a virtuous, responsible electorate. Though there has always been grounds for pessimism since snakes started handing out apples, it wasn't until the election of the One that I started hearing serious talk about the decline of Western civilisation–both with dismay from the Right and smug satisfaction from the Left. Decline is a choice and last November I saw the Americans choose decline by re-electing a man who has surpassed James Buchanan as the worst president in history. Buchanan ushered in a mere civil war. Barry Soetoro may usher out a civilisation.
It isn't any better in Britain. What are our choices? Three main parties all banging on about how they should be in office because they're the better Socialists? A Conservative party that has ceased to be conservative led by a man who has proven himself a traitor and a moral coward? All ruling (and I do mean rule) over a population that has changed out of all recognition from the British that I grew up with?
I found a load of old BBC and ITV programmes on Youtube last week and I've had a delightful time watching Warship, The Pathfinders and the like. It was more than nostalgia. It was the realisation that the people in these dramas seemed so... normal. And that I find these people are very few and far between in Britain today. A Britain, mark you, that may cease to exist in a few years, if it hasn't already. Ah, well. What can you expect of a nation ruled by a false elite of a permanent political class who see the history of Britain as a land of multi-racial Hobbits who were overrun by evil capitalists until saved by the NHS so the proles could text and bop their way into oblivion to the tune of their iPods? So saith Danny Boyle.
Meanwhile, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee present is to see the Spithead Review replaced with a rainy small boat regatta on the Thames. At least my father didn't live to see that. Unfortunately, I did.
It's not all gloom. I do get rays of sunshine when I see how innovative we still are and the horse laugh that the gun control types in America were met with when they claimed that the way to stop mass murder was to ban tin boxes with springs in them rather than letting teachers apply for carry conceal permits.
On the other hand, the return of Mr Obama to office makes me extremely pessimistic. I don't mean about his policies. I mean about democracy. Britain is already a basket case in that regard and I can't see any way out there short of revolution. But America always struck me as a place where democracy works and now I'm not so sure. Not only did a slim majority (and that is all it needs) vote for a Socialist state with all the tyranny and corruption that it implies, but many people I've spoken to have told me that the reason Barry was re-elected is because His opponent had to treat Him with kid gloves because He is black.
The latter is a chilling thought. If blacks (and by extension, women and minorities) cannot be treated the same as straight, white male candidates; if they are given special electoral privilege and are therefore exempt from criticism, then God help us all because we have just established an aristocracy that makes the old House of Lords look better with every day that passes.
It's this sort of thing that makes me suspect that universal suffrage needs to be scrapped in favour of something where anyone who gets a government subsidy or entitlement is barred (military exempted) from voting.
As to the economy and the ghastliness of the "Arab Spring", I will pass quietly by as I can only list so many slide poles on the way to Hell.
Are we doomed? Hopefully, and I pray, not. However, if we get out of this with a whole skin, we will have a very heavy price to pay from the Gods of the Copybook Headings.
Happy New Year
As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.
We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.
With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
The Gods of the Copybook Headings