Farewell to 2022
What can we say about the year which is finishing: in many ways the first (printable) reaction when asked to describe 2022 is that it was yet another truly awful year.
The year began with hopes that we might be able to truly start the recovery from COVID - and although there would have been challenges, and the cost of living might have presented challenges even without the war, I am absolutely convinced that the world could have started that recovery while protecting the environment without the ambition, greed, and treachery of one man.
That man is, of course, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, whose barbaric and illegal invasion of Ukraine has been catastrophic not just for his own country and the country he invaded but, in its economic consequences, almost every country in the world including Britain. Without those impacts I am convinced that many of Britain's ills, most of the loss in people's living standards, and probably many of this winter's strikes, could have been avoided.
The only good thing about this terrible invasion which has cost so many innocent lives and done so much damage, is that Putin is losing the war, and even Russian state media have not really been able to hide it. But the route to peace remains long and hard.
As the PM says, our challenges will not magically go away in 2023. But there is hope. I wish everyone reading this, except for any Putin apologists or supporters, a much better New Year than 2022 has been.