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Let’s be positive about 2017

Jordan Bernstein offers a positive outlook on 2017, hoping that it will counter the excitement of 2016 and be dull, tedious, and uneventful

Everyone, from newsreaders to late-night talk show hosts, is presenting the coming year as the light at the end of the tunnel. After all of the electoral upsets, celebrity deaths and general dreariness of 2016, we are being told to hold our heads high and welcome the warm embrace of 2017.

At a glance this seems absurd, for in fact what we are likely to see is the realisation of many of the things that hung, like rotting fruit, over the past few months. Trump, a name that, across much of the news, is synonymous with doom gloom and bad decision-making, will take the oath of office and become the 45th President of the United States. If we hated it when the Donald was just talking and tweeting, imagine what it will be like when he has power.

Of course, our own government will formally enter Brexit negotiations in 2017 and, not to be the bearer of bad news, but as the catchment area of what we would define as a ‘celebrity’ widens rapidly, what seemed towards the end of the year like an epidemic of deaths, shows no signs of stopping altogether.

The truth, however, is that the shocks and surprises of this year have made us so cynical that 2017 will need to do much to impress us. Honestly, right now, it looks like it may even be, dare I say it, boring.

So I’m looking forward to everyone and everything calming down in 2017. Does anyone remember when the news was—what’s the word?—dull? When our daily lives were not envel­oped by politics, where we could get through a dinner conversation without someone accusing another of xenophobia or being a soft lefty? Where each episode of Question Time was marked by something other than ‘Does Brexit mean Brexit?’ and UKIP was an interesting irrelevance, albeit an entertaining one.

My positive take on 2017, or I suppose more my wish for 2017, is that everything settles down. We’re leaving the EU and we’re going to start negotiating, instead of meta-arguing about meta-negotiations. Trump is going to enter the White House and start governing.

We can argue about the extent to which he will implement this or that policy, but with any luck those who berate him (often justifiably) will begin to allow him to be judged on his actions and policies, rather than his character, or the fact that he lost the popular vote.

Let’s not forget that, according to most fore­casts, the daily life of the average American won’t change so dramatically. Maybe, just maybe, our news will once again become tedious. Or at the very least, the arguments we do continue to have over politics will be largely policy rather than personality-based—in other words, tedious.

Of course, 2017 will be a year in its own right, not just a concluding part in the 2016/17 televi­sion series we call life. So, on the same theme as the DiCaprio Oscar, Pokémon Go and Paris Agree­ment moments that interspersed themselves in 2016, let’s not forget that we’ll be getting some solid DC/Marvel/Star Wars movies, more Houses and Games of Cards and Thrones, and much else besides.

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