2017 hasn’t been a great year in most respects, but to a large extent it hasn’t really been that bad, it simply has warned us of the dangers ahead.
2017 hasn’t given us a hard or a no-deal Brexit, but it has signalled that the UK might very plausibly end up with a hard, Canadian solution.
2017 didn’t see the collapse of the SNP, but the post-referendum exuberance was tempered by the General Election result, and it now feels much less certain that a new independence referendum will be called to save Scotland from a hard Brexit.
2017 hasn’t seen Trump starting a nuclear war with North Korea or another war in the Middle East, but it has shown us that he might very well do those things.
2017 didn’t see any country getting suspended from the EU, but Poland and Hungary have got pretty close, and Spain has been playing with fire in Catalonia.
2017 hasn’t seen another recession, but it has given us plenty of warnings that the economy is still fragile, and that the great recession hasn’t been properly resolved, simply interrupted by bank bail-outs, QE and similar means.
So 2018 could become an actually horrendous year, a real annus horribilis, when the UK decides to go for a hard Brexit, Scotland decides to stay put, Trump starts several wars, Poland gets suspended from the EU, Spain gets even tougher on Catalonia, and the World enters another recession.
It could also become another year of suspense, pushing all of these events (if they happen) into 2019.
And of course, 2018 could also turn into a wonderful annus mirabilis, in which the UK opts for a soft Brexit (or even cancels it altogether), Scotland holds another independence referendum and votes Yes, Trump gets impeached, the Polish, Hungarian and Spanish governments get replaced by new and much more palatable ones, and somebody finally finds a way to fix the world economy.
I feel quite jaded after the events of the last few years, so if I had to place a bet, I would be tempted to put my money on the annus horribilis. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if 2018 surprised us all and became the best year of the millennium?
A Guid New Year tae Ane an Aw!