And Finally: Scotland in Europe – A Message from Alyn Smith MEP

It has been a long year, and the ongoing failures of the Brexiters gives no joy to the rest of us tied to the train crash they have set in motion. This week we finally saw some of the UK’s fabled impact assessments. There were no revelations since much of what they contained was simply an assessment of the status quo. The report on fisheries noted without irony that “there is a concentration of activity in coastal towns.” Who knew?!

We need to see serious work that actually lays out the future choices we must make. As Phase 2 progresses it will become harder and harder for the Brexiters to maintain their fantasies as they collide with reality.

This is not going to be easy for the rest of us, watching the mess unfold. Empathy fatigue can happen to the best of us. Why bother working and hoping for a better future when all you can see is progress being rolled back? Because when enough people fight back, it can change society for the better. If you refuse to be bowed by cynicism, if you keep caring about people who are being forgotten or left behind, and if you refuse to withdraw from society, I promise you that you are making a difference.

Across the country, there are people working quietly and constantly for a better future. There’s a reason A Christmas Carol is a classic. The novel is an iron fist in a velvet glove, where the curmudgeonly misanthrope looks out of the window and sees terrible shades moaning in torment – nothing to do with demons or pitchforks but because they’re too late to help their fellow man. Weighed down by chains and safeboxes, they try to touch the living but are doomed to watch helplessly in the cold, unheard, unheeded, unmourned. Orwell wrote Dickens had the “face of a man who is generously angry” and he was right. Dickens saw what happens when people withdraw from the world and refuse to recognise our common humanity.

So let’s get out there and be the change we want to see.

Merry Christmas!