Christmas is upon us. But the season of goodwill to all men is short of goodness this year: instead, we have a Government, its entitled and rich allies, and most of the media class facing off against the kinds of people who keep them in the style to which they have become accustomed: nurses, ambulance workers, border guards and agents, rail workers, postal workers, all are engaged in industrial action.
The only difference between this winter and that of 1978-9, the latter so often used as a stick with which to beat the left, is that those emptying bins and burying the dead have yet to join in. Give them time; the Tories, backed by our free and fearless press, are deploying falsehood and misinformation while refusing to meet justified pay demands. They are the ones who are out of touch.
And this is only the beginning: Brexit, the subject which even broadcasters are exceedingly unwilling to discuss, has hobbled the economy, and will hobble it yet more. Like a slow puncture, its initial effects seemed trivial but, over time, are becoming worse. The response of the Government and entitled class is to deflect - look over there at refugees, those of insufficient respect for the monarchy, Trades Union leaders, public figures who dare put their heads above the parapet, and of course Haz’n’Megs.
It isn’t working. Twelve and a half years of increasingly inept economic management means the UK is becoming poorer relative to its nearest neighbours. Many who were promised that leaving the EU would bring freedom see only less of that freedom. They see less of the promised prosperity. And they see that the claim of more cash for the NHS was a flat-out lie that those formulating it had no intention of honouring.
The UK is not the only country to suffer strikes at Christmas. But it is the only one to experience the perfect storm of increasing poverty, anger, desperation, and the sure and certain knowledge that many who believed the unappealing convocation of corrupt and dishonest politicians at the time of the EU referendum now know they’ve been had.
Meeting the various pay demands would cost far less than the Tories and their press pals pretend. It would also, whisper it quietly, help the economy to recover, as most of that increased income will be immediately spent. The Tories, long believed to be the party of economic competence, are so short of economic competence that they are unwilling to take a course of action that may even ameliorate their lack of popularity.
There may be, for some, a brief feeling of euphoria on reaching Christmas without running out of money. But the hangover, exacerbated by steepling energy bills and the rest of Winter still to come, will make the aftermath feel so much worse. And there will be more strikes, more unrest, more poverty, and ultimately more adverse reaction to a political and media class that has failed us all.
Have a happy and peaceful Christmas. But don’t forget those who can’t.