On Monday 14 November 2016 Alan Bennett jotted a brief note in his diary. There is ‘a nauseating picture,’ he wrote, ‘on the front of the Guardian of Trump and Farage together’. He added: ‘with “nauseating” in this case not just a word. It does genuinely make one feel sick.’
All over the world many millions of other people felt sick too, and felt not only disgusted and nauseous but also fearful and despairing.
in the famous words of W H Auden in 1939, people felt lost in ‘a low dishonest decade’, where ‘waves of anger and fear/ circulate over the bright/ and darkened lands of the earth,/ obsessing our private lives.’
Auden referred to the ‘unmentionable odour of death’ offending and obsessing the lives of millions. A similar odour is around at the end of 2016, this low dishonest year.
In order not to forget the worries and weariness with which 2016 ends, but also in order to help nurture hope and determination to keep on keeping on ( to show ‘an affirming flame’, in Auden’s phrase), here at the end of 2016 are links to a handful of reflections and proposals:
British Values, Brexit and Trump – a meditation for today, December 2016
Making our states fair again – post-election reflections, November 2016
Grief, anger and re-engagement – post-referendum thoughts and action, July 2016
And to help remember some of the background context here are some further pieces:
A multi-storied nation – religion and belief in modern Britain, July 2016
Islamophobia, still a challenge for us all – ‘what Muslims really think’, May 2016
Learning to live together – British values and Prevent, February 2016
British identity and British values – muddles, mixtures and ways ahead, autumn 2015
Alan Bennett’s diary for 2016 is published in the London Review of Books, 5 January 2017, at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n01/alan-bennett/diary