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That was the year that was - and here's to 2008

PUBLISHED: 10:03 27 December 2007 | UPDATED: 14:38 07 September 2010

IT IS a strange thing for a newspaper to say, but perhaps we should all be thankful that 2007 was a relatively quiet year from both a national and international viewpoint. The United States huffed and puffed but in the end, didn t wage war on Iran, proba

IT IS a strange thing for a newspaper to say, but perhaps we should all be thankful that 2007 was a relatively quiet year from both a national and international viewpoint.

The United States huffed and puffed but in the end, didn't wage war on Iran, probably because it is hopelessly bogged down in the diplomatic and military mess it created in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most powerful nation on earth is still counting the cost of those two unheroic failures and has little appetite for repeating its error.

The UK was thankfully spared another major incident on the scale of July 7, 2005, though there were at least a couple of spectacular failures by terrorist organisations determined to bring havoc and anguish to these shores. While the threat persists, it seems that for now at least, the security of the nation is in good hands.

The most notable event on the political stage - for a stage it has become - was Prime Minister Tony Blair's departure not with a howl, but with a whimper. Blair's timing, as usual, was impeccable and it wasn't long before Gordon Brown, the brawny Scottish son of the manse who succeeded him, must have wondered why he had spent all those years coveting his neighbour's house.

For those who believe that hope springs eternal, there can have been no more powerful image than that of loyalist firebrand Dr Ian Paisley and republican warrior Martin McGuinness grinning from ear to ear as they put the tin hat on an unlikely Northern Ireland peace settlement - an indicator, if ever there was, that where there is a political will, there is a way. Are you watching, Middle East?

But to put everything into perspective, the main headlines during the year now drawing to a close were those made by a missing child, a tragic pop singer, a building society that ran out of money and a canoeist who set off from Hartlepool in 2002 and turned up five years later on the front pages of the nation's newspapers.

For most people, though, life is not about the national headlines, it is about the things that affect us in our everday lives, and very often it is the small things that make a difference. The year is measured not in screaming headlines, but in small personal achievements or failures, in family tragedies or triumphs, in small kindnesses offered, and gratefully accepted.

Whatever 2007 held for you, I and everyone at the Ham&High wish you more of everything that is good in 2008.

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