Solstice approaches. The darkness is full, and with a little bit of luck and some funky early morning dancing, the Sun will be reborn unto us. As indeed it always is; it’s science after all, not magic. The magic is in what you do with the year that comes with new light.
It’s going to be a year though, isn’t it? If last year was filled with challenge, the one that’s coming seems ready to trump it (oh dear, the t-word) with crises previously almost unimaginable. How do we cope, how do we react, is there magic to be done?
No matter that we have only the one rock on which the entirety of all life known to us in all the multiverse exists, we persist in exhausting its potential beyond the ability to recover. No matter the individual green intentions (and many of mine are weak at best) our governments – all the governments – insist we can continue with eternal growth.
No matter the very land we live on and the waters that lie beneath may shudder and quake, corporations insist we can continue to burrow and mine fossil fuels. No matter the protests and the petitions, fracking persists and pauses only for the briefest moments when the landscape trembles under foot.
No matter the strongest data and most basic information, warnings and simple evidence that the UK will face critical dangers if/when we Brexit, our government persists in shunting us off the cliff into bad deal or no deal. You can barely give it the hnour of calling it government, we causally saunter into dictatorship when parliament is denied a say in governing.
No matter the Brexit referendum vote was corrupted by third party interests and illegally funded, and in the end only consultative in the first place, the tyrant in No 10 plays Russian roulette with us all. No matter the single most important purpose of government is to protect its people and its nation state, it actively does neither.
It is in this environment we approach Solstice. In the earthy darkness of midwinter, you may find us planning, preparing, and still protesting, that these are not the years we expected of the second millennium.
A child of the sixties, and an avid science fictioneer, I had grand visions of automation freeing us to live creative lives, of the end to hunger, of no more war… And in truth, some of that has happened; the European dream our elite seek to disrupt and abandon has indeed largely prevented war in Europe. Albeit we have gone to find war in other places.
Hunger… I was reminded the other day of Band Aid and “Do they know it’s Christmas”, by a friend who found himself on one of the microphones that day. We thought we’d done something then, eh. More people than ever in food banks. More food banks than ever before. Workers who need additional benefits to simply get by, while their employer is essentially state supported. Twelve years to fix the climate… just. twelve. years.
And automation is here of course, but now we’re more likely expecting Skynet than Robbie, and Metropolis has never felt more real. As does 1984… we have the communicators and pads from Star Trek, even the tricorders, maybe the transporters will come. But more likely the Borg.
There are of course good people out there. Mission Lifeforce, presenting for a crime of ecocide at the UN. Extinction Rebellion, taking to the streets in some fairly effective protest. The Warrior’s Call, Greenpeace, in fact Green politicians (yes, I know, but beware the media blanket), and you and you and you, and even me.
More than at any time I can remember, we need magic. And when I say magic I don’t mean conjuring or invocations as much as I mean directed willpower, good will and positive dissent. Perhaps the gods we call to listen through us, and intervene through us too. Perhaps that’s all there is, justice through just us.
I’ll be on top of a hill early tomorrow, welcoming in the Sunrise on the shortest day of the year, before going home to welcome home my lovely girl fresh from Munich and happily not via Gatwick! May you have as lovely a day planned, and as lovely a year ahead as we can each of us manage, considering the trials and tribulations set in our way.
Hail Sol Invictus.