A relaxed January
2011 was a year when just about everything imaginable happened. I was left worrying that this year would be no different, but actually, its been much quieter. Its not that bad stuff hasn’t happened, its just that many things haven’t been repeated. In fact, its hard to remember some of what was happening this time last year. So I had a look to see how January 2011 and January 2012 compare.
Remember the birds falling from the sky? We’ve had one reported incidence of things falling from the sky, but they’ve been nothing like as creepy – though perhaps somewhat bizarre. There’s something much less apocalyptic about balls of gel falling on someone’s garden than 10 non-connectable incidences of mass animal deaths.
We’ve not heard of Earthquakes or significant floods (both California and Queensland reported these on just the 2nd day of the month alone). In fact, I can’t even think what the biggest natural disaster has been this January. Things have all been a bit quiet.
Neither are we reeling from sudden revelations about the inner workings of just about every government on Earth, as seemed to be the case whilst Wikileaks was breaking stories. This year bought SOPA/PIPA – both successfully dead in the water – and the revelation Twitter will switch off certain countries. The latter has led to some serious internet disruption, but the former brought down governments (more on this later).
The news last year contained several stories about conflict and violence in Ivory Coast and the DRC, although this year Nigerian group Boko Haram are undertaking religiously motivated killings. Thankfully there has been no parallel to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona. Violence in Palestine is certainly less reported, even if the reality isn’t much better.
Several news stories haven’t so much as been repeated, but had added twists that seem almost normal now. Syria continues to see violence against (and by) protesters in what feels like the long-tail of the Arab Spring. It was revealed that undercover cops in British protest movements had children with protesters – not an illogical follow on to what seemed like such a huge shock, as we learnt of the first undercover cop to be unmasked this time last year.
And then there was January 25th. OK, there was also everything that built up to it – looking through archives, its clear that the outbreak of protest in Egypt was in no way a surprise, only its ferocity. Many other countries were seeing unprecedented protests, but Egypt was unprecedented by even those standards.
Last January saw 6 months of major new stories in a month. This month we’ve had it a little more relaxed, and I must say I’m glad of it. In both months, the Euro-crisis looked remarkably similar, except the dead-end policies have taken us 12 months further down the dead end. And the proposals being made by the Conservative government are no nearer to being stopped. Their bulldozer attitude towards anything that isn’t individual, privately run and provided on the basis of “wealth earns privilege”.
If anything, I think its been easier to dwell on the bad things the Tories have been up to because there has been less distraction. Last year, the news just became unbearable as the world convulsed all over the place. Lets be thankful for the small mercy and prioritise what’s left to deal with.