"Happy New Year"
It trips off the tongue so easily, and yet for many it is not a happy time: something we can forget so easily.
Nonetheless, I wish you a Happy New Year. And if yours lacks hope - and I know how that feels - then I wish you hope: things can get better.
(The rest of this post took on a life of it's own. Read on for my thoughts on what may happen politically, and a prediction(!)
tl;dr: Brexit will continue to dominate, but why don't you get involved to change things?)
Politically, 2019 will continue to be full of challenges: Brexit has not gone away over the festive period and with time running out (88 days and counting), things will come to a head sooner rather than later. Indeed, Parliament is due to vote on May's deal on 14 January. Assuming it's voted down (and the various scare tactics/bribes aimed at her parliamentary party don't seem to be having the effect intended), then who knows what happens next...
No Deal? This Deal? Another Deal?
It's increasingly clear to me that continuing with Brexit is akin to "cutting your nose off to spite your face" although this is the path favoured by the leaders of the two main parties in the country. But, of course, I would say that. More significantly, I was speaking to someone who voted leave recently, and they told me they had voted leave on the basis it would release funding for schools and hospitals. They now recognise the fallacy of this argument (and others made in 2016). Sadly, it's also put them off voting. :-(
A General Election?
My gut feeling is that this is unlikely - but these are unusual times in politics. This government has run its course - obsession with Brexit and paralysis on public services has crippled it. But what are the alternatives? A Labour government pursuing a renegotiated so-called "jobs-first" Brexit despite being as split as the Tories on the issue, or, more likely, another hung parliament with no stable outcome?
A "People's Vote"?
My long held view is that Parliament unilaterally overturning the 2016 vote would risk civil unrest and provide fertile ground for the extreme parties in politics. I have therefore pragmatically supported a referendum on the deal - with an option to overturn the 2016 result. This, of course is not without its risks either. But if it happens, I will be out there fighting for EU membership.
What will happen? You, like I, will have your own thoughts. I fear that May will get Brexit over the line in some way or other, and will be replaced as Prime Minister by someone further to the right who will seek to see out the term of this parliament.
It can all seem so bewildering and helpless but individuals can make a difference. Why not get involved in a community campaign, volunteer organisation, or political party? Things will never change without people willing to change them.
If you identify with the values, aims and objectives of the Liberal Democrats join us here.