Ten years ago, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Word of the Year was a word that is as usable as ever. It wasn’t brought to the fore by social media. At that time, social media hadn’t bitten such a big chunk out of our attention time. We even had enough time to sit in front of the box on an evening. That said, the box hasn’t faded into the background entirely. The massive screens displayed in electrical stores remain a standard part of a typical living room.
“The Thick of It” ran for four series and captured the insanity of Government spin-doctoring and fanatical incompetence. Unapologetically self-indulgent Ministers and their aides scuttled around reacting to every small vibration coming from the media. This was masterful fiction but it’s closeness to reality is the story of 2022.
In 2012, the media political arena adopted “Omnishambles” as shorthand for chaotic behaviour on a large scale. Although it started life as a way of describing the Labour Party’s muddles and confusions before 2010, it has a universal applicability. Westminster can be a whirlpool of volte-faces, embarrassments and unfathomable twists and turns. 2022 ends with none of this diminished.
So, what have we to look forward to in 2023? This winter of discontent is mostly likely to escalate. The impact of inflation and energy bills are like an erupting volcano. A few minor earthquakes, then an explosive plum and finally the top gets blown off the mountain.
Brexit and the pandemic have left people feeling exhausted. So, to see their standard of living diminish as this Conservative Government shamelessly wobbles on regardless, then this becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The Prime Minister may try to mine what popularity there is in the public mind, but this is not the time when a new Margaret Thatcher will step forward. This is where simple analogies with the past quickly unravel. In this case the Conservatives own the problems. There’s no denying their responsibility for the last 12-years.
To restore the hope, that things can improve, a new formula is needed. People are not looking for perfection but a convincing vison, some basic honesty, and robust resolve.