There’s no doubt about it, between the miserable weather and the Christmas raid on your wallet, it’s easy to feel pessimistic at this time of year. Between the spiralling public debt, the ever more frequent attacks on liberty and freedom of speech, and the polls showing stubbornly high levels of public support for the NHS, it often feels like emigration is the only sensible option (but to where?!).
Yet even in the darkest of moments there are always glimmers of light, and this year has been no exception. Here, we give you four reasons for right wingers to be optimistic in Britain as we enter 2015, and four more why we should feel even more optimistic about the general state of the world.
So first up, Britain:
1. There are now two parliamentary parties of the right. The defections and re-elections of Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless elevated Ukip from plucky insurgents to a fully-fledged party with Westminster representation. In doing so, a measure of balance has been granted to British politics, which has long suffered over-representation on the left. If newspaper readership is any indicator of political preference, Britain’s population must be predominantly right wing – the Sun’s readership is double that of the Mirror, whilst the Times and Telegraph together have a readership three and a half times larger than the Guardian and Independent combined.
Yet the Conservatives had to vie with both Labour and the Liberal Democrats at the last election. And in 2015, they may well be kept from power by the (even more socialist) Scottish National Party, unless, of course, Ukip can take enough seats to be the kingmakers. For small-c conservatives in both parties that’s the ideal scenario, as the modernising elements in the Conservative party will be forced to make way for Ukip representatives, many of whom are old school Thatcherites.
2. The rightward pull of Ukip is already being felt. Even better, Ukip has already shifted British politics to the right. Immigration is no longer a dirty word; on the contrary, the other party leaders seem to be conducting some sort of anti-immigration arms race as they bid for votes with lengthier periods before newly arrived immigrants can claim benefits. The challenge for Ukip in the run up to the election will be to similarly set the agenda on other, equally important issues such as public debt, high taxes, and the high fuel bills Britons suffer thanks to the climate change shibboleth.
3. The Scottish referendum was won. Yes, of course it would have been enjoyable to indulge in a modicum of schadenfreude had Salmond and his Scottish Nationals won the day, and gone ahead with launching their Caledonia petro-state during an oil price slump. But in reality there is much to take heart in from the result.
The Scottish enlightenment, paired with the wider Industrial Revolution that was taking place across Britain at the time gave birth to ideas so powerful that they eventually gave rise not only to the first country ever founded on the principle of individual freedom, but also financed the creation of the largest empire the world has ever seen. The enigmatic British values which the No campaign was forced to appeal to at the 11th hour (and should have appealed to from the start) still evoke reverence and pride, even in socialist Scotland. There is hope yet.
4. The BBC Has Started to Wobble Off Its Perch. A ComRes poll taken in June showed that 51% of Brits would happily see the licence fee scrapped, even if it meant adverts during programs or a number of services being axed. That’s hardly surprising, considering the now almost weekly admissions by BBC senior staff that the Corporation is biased, pays too much to too many bosses and only serves a section of society (mainly those living in the posher parts of London). Earlier this year it was forced to defend the licence fee by suggesting that scrapping it would place EastEnders and Doctor Who in jeopardy. Come in BBC, your time is up.
And globally –
5. The Emperor’s Lack of Clothes Is Being Noticed. 2014 marked the 18th consecutive year that Global Warming didn’t happen, and people are starting to notice. In an ongoing UN global poll, surveying more than seven million people so far, climate change came plumb last in the list of people’s policy priorities the world over. Even in the UK it couldn’t break into the top half of the list, ranking 9th
6. We Entered the ‘Age of Abundance’. Thanks to advances in horizontal drilling and fracking, fears over peak oil have been blown away this year. According to the US government’s Energy Information Administration, there are now about 3.3trillion barrels of oil out there waiting to be tapped – or about 100 years’ worth of consumption at current rates. Coal stocks are also 3% higher than they were in 2011, and there are 22,900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
7. We’re Also Living in the ‘Age of Peace’. In 2011 Steven Pinker argued that “today we may be living in the most peaceable era in the existence of our species.” A new report published by the Human Security Report Project, published in March this year, supports his theory. It found that, in 1950s, almost 250 deaths caused by war per million people; now, there are fewer than ten per million. More British soldiers died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme than in every post-1945 conflict put together. And although religious violence is on the increase the overall trend is continuing downwards, which bodes well for prosperity too.
8. Internet Connectivity as a Percentage of World Population Sailed Past 40 Percent. To be precise, it now stands at 42.3 percent. Africa has seen a 6,498.6 percent growth in internet connectivity since 2000, with more than one in four Africans now online. This is good news because a connected world is a trading world, and that means even more prosperity.
As Ukip MP Douglas Carswell wrote this week: “Human interdependence has not only raised living standards here in our country. It is the motor of human progress that has lifted human kind from the swamps to the stars. Globalisation is drawing almost all of humanity into a vast, sprawling network of innovation and exchange.” It’s also good news for anyone living in an oppressive regime. Not for nothing was the Arab Spring also known as the Twitter Revolution.
So there you have it, eight good reasons to feel cheery as we head into 2015. Just remember not to look at your post-Christmas bank balance for a while.