How lovely to see the Prime Minister’s delusions of Churchillian grandeur cast aside as he’s forced to adopt his rightful role as Scrooge. Sadly, not because he required a twenty-three-year-old footballer to pinpoint the appropriate response to childhood hunger but, in this year of disappointment and deprivation, we must grab consolation where we can.
How distressing, however, for the millions whose hopes for Christmas gatherings are scuppered with little time to make alternative plans. But hey – silver lining alert! – we can use it as a dress rehearsal for a no-deal Brexit, this Liar of Liars’ principal vanity project. As he didn’t say at a recent press conference: What, no croissants? Let them eat sovereignty instead!
I disagree with Nietzsche: in general, whatever doesn’t kill you does NOT make you stronger. But sometimes, just sometimes, adversity helps us grow. We could have used Christmas 2020 to develop resilience and reduce our dependence on this festival of infantile excess.
Christmas is a bit like Brexit: some will profit (financially and/or emotionally) and some will suffer (for similar reasons), and some will be dragged along in its slipstream, whether we like it or not. Brexiteers scoff at Remoaners, while Europeans shake their heads and wonder why 52% of those who voted in the referendum opted for a pig in a poke. Meanwhile, I wonder why self-confessed Christmas martyrs condemn themselves to frantic shopping and cooking, and nightmarish debt.
Some years, from mid-December, it feels I’m living in a totalitarian state. When else, apart from Brexit and Christmas, are we told we all want the same thing? As I’ve said before, it’s great for those whose circumstances match the template but oppressive for those who don’t.
You can drop the tree, the turkey, the presents and the carols, but it would take more than a national lockdown to ignore Christmas altogether. A mask won’t protect you: the ‘season of goodwill’ infects your body and mind. Lurking in the collective consciousness, there’s a pressure to believe. If not quite in Santa,
then in the fantasy of happy families and problems resolved with a new toy.
But we needed leadership to make this happen. Instead the man in charge seems to think a spirit of optimism works wonders. I call that magical thinking or a manic defence. Just hours with the rescuer or compulsive helper, wanting things fixed is no qualification very serious job.
Alone or apart, we have much to celebrate this Christmas. We’re breathing, when others have died of covid. And surely the vaccine is the best possible present of all.