Just over a week ago, January 2016 was consigned to history. January is considered by many as a month for reflection; a looking back at the year that was and a looking forward to the future. So, as such, January is very much a table-setter; a putting in motion of matters that can dictate if not the course of the year, then its tempo.

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As mentioned before in these pages, The Ericle is somewhat of a frustrated librarian: I enjoy the making of lists and placing things in order. My nostalgic side also enjoys wallowing in the past and, as such, the chronicling of time follows consequentially. My faithful reader will recall that I maintain several boards – electronic scrapbooks, in effect – on the website Pinterest. One of these is a day-by-day journal of what appears to me to be the major news story of the day. As I completed my January 2016 entries, I was moved to wonder about the news items I ‘pinned’ in January 2015 and as to how much they were portents for the year to come.

In January 2015, among the 31 day-by-day entries I noted the following stories

*  The search for the missing Malaysian jet airline (Jan 3)

 

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     *  Iranian President, Rouhani’s urge to end Iran’s isolation (Jan 4)    

     *  The Charlie Hebdo outrages and (over several days) the aftermath (Jan 7)

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     * Cuba’s release of US prisoners (Jan 10)

     * Massacres in a Nigerian market (Jan 11) and in a Pakistan school (Jan 12)

     * Bus killings in Ukraine (Jan 13)

     * Calling of a Catolonian independence election (Jan 18)

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     * Argentina’s president, Kirchner’s ‘involvement’ in a 1994 bombing (Jan 19)

     * The Sun’s dropping of its Page 3 topless pin-up (Jan 20)

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     * The Domesday Clock being reset to 23.57 (Jan 23)

     * Revelations showing Tony Blair’s collusion with Gaddafi (Jan 24)

     * Syriza’s victory in Greece (Jan 27th)

     * The Litvinenko ‘murder’ inquiry (Jan 29th)

No mention of Jeremy Corbyn or the migrant crisis then, but indeed plenty of portents for the year to come. Lots of talk about climate change but little action; the continued expansion of IS and the confused politics surrounding it. Ukraine and Greece have largely disappeared from the headlines mostly from ennui and certainly not from resolution; Blair and Cristina Kirchner still haven’t been called to task; in France worse was to come. We’re still looking for the Malaysian airplane and The Sun is still an awful rag, even without the tits. However the West did reach a détente with Iran and the USA with Cuba. And one year later, the Litvinenko inquiry did close with a strong suggestion that his was a state-authorised murder.

So, if last January is anything to go by, the past may be another country but what happens there has very strong resonances for at least the immediate future. What struck me most, though, was how many of the stories I picked out last January are ones that, one year later, are still largely unresolved. And even though I am an avid follower of news, I do feel the role that news plays within the context of my life has a different nuance to it these days. I believe that this is not just the case of an apathy borne of personal longevity, rather that this reflects a universal experience that indicates the divergence of individual and social values. Maggie I trust was wrong when she declared that ‘there is no (longer) such a thing as society’ but I do believe she was right about the direction of travel. Ultimately, life is a personal affair but it is an experience that is framed by context. In the end, perhaps it is a case of Man Proposes God Disposes. In that vein I’ll continue my day-to-day noting of news events positive, negative and ridiculous on Pinterest and, if you are so minded, you can check out my boards here.

 

 

 

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One Response to Tempus Fugit. Again.

  1. Tim Wilton-Davies says:

    I recommend these podcasts… http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0407cfr#play&in=collection:p01w6mxg
    “Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana)

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