I HOPE you all had a Merry Christmas, that your loved ones were in fine fettle and any hangovers were minor.
It is now time for us to think about our New Year’s Resolutions.
Mine is to be a nicer, less cynical person.
I resolve to apply the principle to as many aspects of life as possible.
I resolve, for example, to take politicians at their word.
When they preach that we should tighten our belts while at the same time voting themselves enormous increases in pay and allowances, I resolve to refrain from calling them the hypocritical mutant spawn of alien bacilli and eyeless toads from sunless caverns.
I shall instead think of them as hard-working public servants – far harder-working than, say, junior doctors, nurses or others in the caring professions.
When politicians are caught engaging in acts of adulterous moral degeneracy and the exploitation of sex workers, I resolve not call them vile, perverted, drug-addled little muck-gerbils. I resolve not to say they should be made to stand next to a revolving door to which a concrete-filled welly boot has been attached at groin height, and that I would happily spin that door as fast as I could.
Instead, I shall remind myself that they undergo stresses I can’t imagine.
When politicians react to terrorist outrages by proclaiming we’re all in this together, I resolve not to say: “All of us except you and your chums, matey, because you lot get to go everywhere in bullet-proof limos with armed bodyguards.”
I resolve to believe the public relations departments of public institutions, utilities and services.
I resolve to believe, for example, that it really does take months or years to fill a simple hole in the road, that having new road surfaces fall to bits is unavoidable and that hospital patients being treated on trolleys in corridors is fine, dandy and entirely normal.
I resolve to believe that a person willing to take £150,000 a year or more from a major charity is morally fit to be the chief executive of that charity. I resolve to rein in any temptation toward personal meanness of spirit.
When watching that PPI advert in which an actor sternly demands to know why we haven’t claimed yet, I resolve not to think: “I hope you never get another acting gig in your life, you amoral sellout scumweasel, you — not even a fleeting appearance in Casualty as a bloke with a leg off.”
I resolve not to make idle nasty comments about the physical appearances of people in public life. Even though I am not in public life, I should remember that I am no oil painting myself.
I shall therefore not say things like: “Doesn’t that former Education Secretary look like one of those three elf thingies who used to appear on Rice Krispies Boxes?”
Or: “What’s the deal with that other former Education Secretary’s mouth? Did somebody in their family sell their soul to Beaker from the Muppets?”
When celebrities presume to tell me how to vote or what to think, I shall consider their opinions fairly instead of saying: “I pay you to entertain me. You therefore have no more right than a performing monkey to lecture me. And while we’re on the subject, how many of your millions are you handing to the causes you bang your gums about?”
Above all, I resolve to stick to my resolutions for longer than I did last year.
At least until noon on January 1, in other words.
May all good and kind people have the happiest and most loving year they have ever known.
May all bad ones either atone or get what’s coming to them.
A super fast way to boast I SEE another 5,000 households across Wiltshire are to be given high speed broadband.
This time around, the service expansion announcement has come from BT, which is among a scrum of major providers scrambling to reach even the more remote parts our land.
They realise that masses of people without high speed broadband want it, that they’re willing to subscribe to it for years to come and that the cash they happily hand over will more than cover the cost of installing the equipment.
On one hand, announcements such as BT’s can be seen as boasting for PR purposes, but on the other hand they reassure the public that the services we demand are on the way.
Speaking of which, I’m sure the number of households and businesses who’ve signed up to the Swindon 4G scheme partly bankrolled by the borough council will soon be proudly announced.
Perhaps a running tally should be revealed every week to make things even more exciting.
Criminal behaviour HE number of crimes against women in Swindon has more than quadrupled in five years. Offences include rape, harassment, assault and kidnap. That’s according to the latest figures from Wiltshire Police, which were revealed following a Freedom of Information request.
The official line is that the surge is probably due to more women feeling confident enough to report offences.
As I’ve resolved not to be cynical in future, I believe this line entirely.
The surge is in no way due to cuts in police numbers and resources giving sex offenders, domestic abusers and misogynist thugs freer rein than ever before to do as they please.
Nor is it anything to do with the fact that sex offenders, domestic abusers and misogynist thugs know they can always rely on our courts for sympathy and a cuddle.