Express & Star

Toby Neal: A grim year gone and not much hope for 2024

A Happy New Year, and other such lies.

New Year celebrations, for 2024, Russian-style

Now don't get me wrong, I fervently wish you all the best for 2024. But if you are looking for an upbeat and cheery forecast for the next 12 months, look away now, because on a general level, the prospects do not look promising.

There are some years which are vintage years to be fondly remembered, like summer of love 1967, while there are others which are vinegar years which leave a bitter taste, like Covid tragedy 2020.

The fermentation period, or maybe that should for fomentation period, for 2024 came of course in 2023, which sowed seeds of hate which are in full bloom with a legacy which will take us through the next 12 months with consequences which can only be unpleasant.

Gaza, Israel, Lebanon and the West Bank are aflame with thousands already dead and destruction both physical and psychological which will leave scars for today's children to bear into adulthood. As any form of reconciliation is a distant prospect, it will be all about revenge for the foreseeable future.

Then there's that war in which the West is in danger of taking its eye off the ball. In his Ukraine military adventure Putin has, we have been led to believe, been losing. In fact we've even been told by Ben Wallace that in the long run he's already lost.