My first blog of the New Year and I am more optimistic than I have felt in a while. On a purely personal level, I got an unexpected surprise on my travels and ended up returning with something far more than I imagined when I danced through the arrivals terminal at Plaisance Airport just under six weeks ago. But I am also noticing something is changing or perhaps did change in Britain while I was away, and that is driving this new found hope.
On reflection quite a lot happened while I was away, although I only watched the evil Dr Khan being tricked by Zainab to go back into the fire yesterday. I had access to the BBC via the local station MBC3 but unfortunately there was to be no Eastenders.
However thanks to BBC World I was able to remain relatively in the loop. There was a changing of the guard in North Korea, Luis Suarez being found guilty and banned, justice at long last for Stephen Lawrence and a savage witch hunt against Diane Abbott. All while Nigeria lurches towards civil war.
That’s before we even mention the deserved crowning of Melanie Amaro as the inaugural winner of X Factor USA. Anyone who has followed me on twitter will know she had me the moment she gave that unforgettable performance of “Listen” during the audition stages.
With regards to Suarez and Lawrence I have to concede that the news did surprise me. I held a view that neither process would result in anybody being found guilty. I was wrong and I am delighted to witness this day arrive. Yes it has been long overdue, but welcome nonetheless. It’s been a very long time since there was a day that made me say that I was proud to be half-British, but on both days I felt that pride return.
Its unusual in some ways that I should even have this sudden feeling of enthusiasm. Especially given that my near 7,000 mile journey was in the company of a copy of the Evening Standard newspaper. An edition which contained a piece regarding the possibility of Lord Adonis or David Lammy becoming the Mayor of London in 2016. So you could imagine how I was feeling: I hadn’t even stepped foot in Mauritius yet and I was already dreading coming home!
Add to this the deteriorating economic situation both domestically and in Europe, and Labour falling behind the Tories in the polls. The answer is you have the very foundations for a vast cloud of doom that should throttle my new found confidence before it was even born. And like a beacon of light, there it stood amidst the rubble of misery and pessimism.
Ken Livingstone has edged ahead of Boris Johnson in the race to be Mayor of London in May. Another one of those nice surprises I seem to have been getting lately, but quite possibly the most significant of all. Though it must be said not immediately obvious perhaps to readers who unlike myself have no personal affiliation to London.
The election of Boris Johnson in 2008 was crucial in leading to the mess of the current administration which took national control in 2010. It was a key milestone in the cycle of the rebranding of the Conservative party from its annihilation in 1997 to becoming the largest political party thirteen years later. It was a milestone when the shackles of being the “nasty party” were unleashed resulting in the social taboo of voting Conservative disappearing. Should Boris win again in 2012, a final nail in the coffin for Ed Miliband appears almost inevitable.
Ken has been written off time and time again, but its significant that he is still trusted by more Londoners. I will never understand how Boris won in 2008- an offensive editor and part time TV Presenter who had no business holding the keys to the Capital. His management of the industrial disputes on the London Underground has been appalling as I have pointed out previously. Yet as the incumbent he was the front runner and until this recent poll nothing had been suggested that he was in any danger of losing later this year. Until now that is.
It is good news for seven million Londoners, it is good news for Labour and it is good news for Britain too. More hope and optimism for 2012 to fuel the belief that this is the start of the process of change to send the Tories back to the political wilderness. They may only have been in power for 18 months but the last 12 months alone have felt like 18 years.
It’s a New year and I can feel a new hope: Suarez banned, Lawrence gets justice, and Ken is coming back. Its definitely time to feel optimistic.