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Opinion

Paul McNamee: We’ve got to grab 2018 and shake it up. Together

Of course, it’s easy to focus on the bleak things around us. But there is hope. Always. Everybody who buys The Big Issue is helping to make a positive change.

The year started with concern over a transatlantic special relationship. Would he like her? Would she take his hand? Would they ride off into the sunset proclaiming that the people had spoken and to challenge them was the way to madness.

It’d be November before Harry and Meghan announced their engagement.

For Donald and Theresa the road was rockier. By the end of the year, they were barely speaking. Also, by the end of the year, councillors in Bristol were putting metal spikes to stop birds landing IN TREES for fear of messing up some residents’ nice cars beneath. What a time to be alive!

Clearly, nobody can see what is around the corner.

Plans and predictions will make fools of us all. Had Theresa May had second sight, there is little chance she’d have called an election. There is little chance she’d have suffered such a bloodied nose. And there is little chance The Big Issue/UNILAD interview with Jeremy Corbyn would have happened, clearly tipping the scales and affecting the outcome. Clearly.

Of course, it’s easy to focus on the bleak things around us. To the Universal Credit crush that is tipping some of the most impoverished into deeper crisis. To the spike in homelessness figures, to the flattening of wages, to a sense of things closing in.

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But there is hope. Always. Everybody who buys The Big Issue is helping to make a positive change. Every community has champions, some unheralded, who are fighting to bring those around them back up. There are social enterprises and third sector heroes who, with help and support, can grow and flourish. If 2018 can be anything, it can be year of looking around, seeing where a hand can be offered and step by step change can come.

It’s not going to trickle down. We’ve got to grab it and shake it up.

Also, there is a chance we’re not alone in the universe. THAT is a hell of a thought.

Here’s to 2018 and the good things that can come.

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