Wednesday 28 December 2016

What will historians make of 2016?

We are into the season of reviews of the year - I suspect that viewing figures may be down, as many people don't wish to relive the misery. If the curse is "may you live in interesting times" - in 2016 we have seen it visited upon us in many ways. Although it is often cited as an old Chinese curse - little evidence has been found of either an early date or Chinese origin. A website called "Quote investigator" found one of the earliest examples of its use in 1936

"Sir Austen Chamberlain, addressing the annual meeting of Birmingham Unionist Association last night, spoke of the “grave injury” to collective security by Germany’s violation of the Treaty of Locarno.
Sir Austen, who referred to himself as “a very old Parliamentarian,” said:—
“It is not so long ago that a member of the Diplomatic Body in London, who had spent some years of his service in China, told me that there was a Chinese curse which took the form of saying, ‘May you live in interesting times.’ There is no doubt that the curse has fallen on us.”
“We move from one crisis to another. We suffer one disturbance and shock after another.”

... so modern!

Well 2016 is almost over - but 2017 doesn't promise any respite. We can predict follow-ups to the events of 2016. Brexit  will loom large for the UK and the EU - and Article 50 may even be triggered (watch this space....). Donald Trump is due to be inaugurated in January - and the workings of the American government look to continue to be interesting. There will be national elections in France and Germany. But as 2016 highlighted - it is often the unpredictable which will dominate the news.

Washminster will seek to follow and explain events as the new year unfolds.