So. 2012 is almost over. What have we learned from the year?
Politics: the Coalition held together, but started to show signs of distress, which suggests it might not now make it to a full term. In the meantime, Mil The Younger started to find the Question Time range, to Young Dave’s increasing annoyance. The Tories started to pay far too much attention to UKIP, as did an increasing number of gullible pundits, while not asking about Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his mounting pile of European Parliament expense money, or when UKIP would finally have their “Orpington Moment” and win a seat at Westminster.
Press And Media: Lord Justice Leveson reported, something that not even the wildest flailing of the Fourth Estate could prevent. An irrational and almost hysterical frothing from hacks, pundits, editors and even those who pretend to teach responsible journalism (yes, Tim Luckhurst, I’m looking at you) confronted anyone who spoke in Leveson’s favour. The press routinely disgraced itself over Plebgate. The Express told whoppers about miracle cures, the EU, and winter weather. And Paul Dacre downgraded much of his swearing to merely calling his underlings “f***ing tossers”, but still failed to retire.
USA: the Republican party, in concert with Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) talked up its imminent victory in the Presidential Election. And then it lost, as all rational pollsters had said it would. There were more multiple shootings. CNN was still a distant third in the cable news ratings. And the country’s most trusted newscaster was still fronting a programme on Comedy Central.
Climate: after eight months of unprecedented weather conditions, the penny is starting to drop with many people that all that extra CO2 may be having an effect. To compensate for this, the likes of James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole ratcheted up the abuse and compared wind energy advocates to paedophiles. As the end of year weather was comparatively mild, he kept quiet about it. For once.
Astroturf: groups like the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) are still plugging away, despite broadcasters and some newspapers getting wise to them, while persuading gullible Tory MPs that their message is worth hearing. It isn’t.
Blogosphere: it still required the otherwise hated MSM to get stories broken. The right and libertarian leaning blogs continued to lose edge and credibility. This was typified by a trust rating of a mere 4% - lower than any newspaper, or Twitter and Facebook – awarded to the Guido Fawkes blog.
And finally: we are, unlike last year, possibly a little closer to a grown up debate on drugs. Have a happy and peaceful New Year.