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New Year Reflections

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As I write this another year is coming to an end and it seems that 2014 is the shortest year ever. It doesn't seem 5 minutes since last Christmas. The speed of the passing years seems to increase as I get older but chatting with others (some far younger than me) the impression I get is that they too feel that the years are getting shorter.

Whenever I meet up with friends of a similar age though the conversation has moved from our standard English exchanges about the weather to how the time has flown since we last spoke together. Regretfully some of my contemporaries are no longer with us having reluctantly accepted the grim reaper's invitation. Three immediately come to mind, all deaths reported to me by others weeks or months after the event. Frustratingly though there are very few with whom I can share memories of those losses.

As a child there was a dual excitement in December and January, Christmas and my birthday and I have to admit that even now I still look forward to the celebration of my personal anniversary. There is a twist as my elder brother (an issue when I was younger) has his birthday just two days after mine but now there is the slightly guilty satisfaction that he will be 5 years older than me come the end of January.

A new year though is about looking forward, sometimes with anticipation sometimes with trepidation. I am pleased to say mainly the former, with the prospect of new challenges as a new year is like a new country, full of places to explore and new people to meet. Perhaps with my "experience of life" (aka being a cynical so and so) I am not as wide eyed as I was even twenty years ago and it is not my style to gush about the prospects for next year.

The coming year will certainly be a step closer to retirement for me, but whether it is 2015 or beyond, who knows? Or perhaps I will be working in a different way, only time will tell.

But what will 2015 hold for us all? I vividly recall 1st May 1997, when Tony Blair was elected. I remember because my daughter got engaged that day. The engagement seemed doomed from the very start as the only one, out of the four of us, who was pleased with the result was my prospective son in law and it was not too long before he was consigned to the fiancé scrapheap. In my defence I must emphasise that it was a general incompatibility that was the ultimate breaker not the political divide.

We face in the coming year another political divide in the form of a general election. Less than 5 months and already the shots are being fired in a 4 way competition that we will be thoroughly fed up with by the time the great day arrives. Though the arguments and counter arguments will seem interminable by the time our new government has settled in we will be half way to 2016.

On the political and financial front the second half of the year will depend greatly on the result of the election. Trying to understand what the parties have said so far, it seems that the LibDems and Labour will be thrashing the wealthy and possibly dealing with a financial crisis. The Tories, possibly in conjunction with UKIP will be trying to steer the same course as last year and will be revealing the bad news they have buried so far.

We then have to worry about the EU. Can they keep going without any members of the Eurozone needing to jump ship? Are they going to try to make things difficult for our government? Are we, the people finally going to get our say? This is a saga that's going to run and run along with the question of FIFA. In fact I am nearly surprised that the EU has not taken a stance on the unreleased report, or perhaps they think that people might make comparisons between the two organisations.

Before we know where we are we will be at the time of the year when we are looking back on 2015 and looking forward to 2016. I hope 2015 is a good one but there again there is very little we can do about it except remember to vote!

 

David Ingall

Past President

UK 200Group

 

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