We hear a lot about how the uncertainty of Brexit is harming business, those in manufacturing, export, import… We hear little about how it is harming creative industry. I don’t mean economically, although it is having an impact there – I mean productively. I have found it very difficult to achieve the concentrated focus necessary to produce creative work amid this chronic distraction.
2018 has been a terrible, cruel year for politics in Britain and the US, as well as Brazil, Hungary, Russia, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia…. and on and on. Hateful agendas, nasty lying bigots, self-serving politicians with the power to damn future generations, and the crumbling of democracy, decent norms, social safety nets: this is a shameful time.
When so many avoidable horrors are underway, it is hard to draw the many threads of attention back to focus on the job in hand, on creating something that in comparison feels inconsequential. And yet we have had to live in this chronic state of anxiety for years now. For Britain, at least, this could be the beginning of a Dark Age. But it doesn’t have to be.
What I hope for in 2019 is for a kinder, more just society. Just for a start, I would like not to feel ashamed of the way my country’s politicians are behaving. If there was a vote, and if Brexit didn’t go ahead, I think we would have a great chance of healing as a multicultural modern nation. I would like us to have the confidence to make honourable diplomatic and trade deals – rather than eagerly grabbing the few grubby deals we’re offered, to strengthen our partnership with our European allies so we can afford to uphold the social and environmental values we ourselves outlined. I would like us to be a part of a stronger, safer Europe, and play our important role in fighting the far-right malaise of hate that once again encroaches.
It seems to me there is a failure of imagination and bravery. It is perhaps easier to imagine a bleak apocalyptic future of social division and environmental destruction than believe we can make a better world. And yet, aren’t most of the people you know kind, aren’t they trying to improve things, make their own bit of the world better? We must be brave. We must imagine something better – a grander vision of our human world without pollution, poverty, pain… If we don’t imagine it, we can’t even start to achieve it. I can picture a kinder world and I’m going to try in 2019 to help make it.
If you’re looking for inspiration, try Costa Rica.
Happy New Year!