The Year in Review
The personal, political, pretty, painful and published in 2023.
The dark, short days between Christmas and New Year encourage reflection. I always find myself ruminating on the year behind me, contemplating my hopes for the year ahead and indulging in some personal introspection.
Join me on my Year in Review.
New Years Resolutions
If you hadn’t guessed, I am a New Year’s Resolution sort of person. If you are into Myers Briggs I am a very judgey INFJ, and love lists.
The key to a set of resolutions is to make the challenge achievable. My eclectic 2023 goals included daily spiritual exercise, making peace with a family member, trying out church once a month, new career goals and learning to shoot (a gun, not a camera). Dear reader, I achieved them all. I was very fortunate that Mike Smith, shooting instructor extraordinaire offered to help me, when he heard me tell Mike Graham on Talk TV that I wanted to learn to shoot. If you need gun fitting or teaching you must contact him. This is #notanad as they declare on social media, he’s just brilliant, and thanks to his expert tuition I shot over half the clays on my first go.
2023 fitness goals fell to the wayside but there’s always next year!
One resolution I will not be adopting is vegetarianism. In 2023, I accidentally re-branded myself as a reincarnation of Cruella de Vil, or as an ally of the Countryside Alliance, depending on your viewpoint. Not only did I learn to shoot, but I discovered I love wearing fur and acquired three hand-me-down furs. I also challenged myself to kill, butcher and eat my own dinner.
2023 highlights and low points
What happened to the optimistic promises that a period of 1920s style hedonism and joy would follow Covid? 2023 happened. I’ll try to be brief on the low points, rather than write the tomes that this year deserves.
You will know I have a particular interest in the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, after I wrote A State of Fear, which was published in 2021. It’s continues to sell well, probably because we’re still living with the consequences of the government’s dire courses of action and because the pernicious use of fear and nudging are still very much in use.
Back to the Inquiry: sadly for me it has proven there’s no such thing as impartiality, crucial lessons will not be learnt and there will be no justice. I’ve written about the Inquiry in a few substacks already, such as here and here and for CapX. It is estimated that this farcical sham will cost the British taxpayer £156 million by the time the witnesses finish giving evidence in 2026. It looks to be the most expensive statutory inquiry in real terms per day. In the bitterest sense this is fitting for a country which consented to be paid to stay at home on furlough while the economy was demolished, for a virus which has such a steep age gradient in mortality that there is no point talking about an average infection fatality rate (IFR). What a shame that the Imperial College modelling was anchored to an IFR of 0.9%. And what a shame that the Covid Inquiry fails to interrogate this and so many important lessons.