Opinion

Paul McNamee: In uncertain times, you can count on us

There is another way around this bleak Brexit chat, and fears of need for water purification tablets and torches

Big Issue vendor Brian Wilson

There has to be light. There has to be a belief that the current confused state is one that we will overcome.

The turn of the year is always a period of different visions and renewal. Though it is tricky to peer through the fog just now.

A senior politician, in the days before Christmas, using rather more colourful language than on their regular media appearances, told me things were fecked. This politician spoke of government departments swamped by Brexit preparation, moving to no deal preparation, with ministers not sharing a lot of the info they had as they were protecting their fiefdoms.

It wasn’t a pretty picture.

How we leave is now framed as a matter of belief rather than one of fact. And battles of faith rarely end well.

The truth is this – people are resilient. While that is not totally reassuring, it is true.

In 2019, when it gets tough, The Big Issue will be here

‘Why,” asked Paul, one of my local vendors, “are we all going on so much with this politics pish?” A fair question which I didn’t feel I could adequately answer. So we started talking about the weather. Which seemed much more honest and in the moment.

There is another way around this bleak Brexit chat, and fears of need for water purification tablets and torches. Ring your mother, if you’re lucky enough to still have her around and be close to her. Very quickly you’ll realise that Brexit counts for little, especially beside more pressing issues to do with how the car is running and that thing with your cousin. You know, that thing. She has THAT THING! Oh wait, it’s not her. Never mind. How IS the car running?

I don’t really like predictions. They make fools of us all. Except this one.

In 2019, when it gets tough, The Big Issue will be here. We’ll be here for the men and women who come through the door to take the hand up not the handout.

We’ll be there to develop and grow for them, to help with the increasingly cashless society, to help with financial inclusion; dry as that may seem, it’s vital.

And as we’re there for them, we’ll be there for you. You, our readers who buy the magazine, who welcome our vendors into communities across the country, who make it clear The Big Issue men and women are a key part of the fabric of Britain. Positive agents for change, in your lives and in their own.

We’ll be back on January 7 with a genuine first – an Augmented Reality Big Issue special. It’ll move you like never before.

Until then, I’m away to read about World Trade Organisation tariffs and how the Doha Development Agenda will fit into our right to trade. Then I’ll go back and see Paul to see if he fancies chatting about that!

Happy new year.

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