I’ve been so engrossed in the current political landscape that the fact we have 18 days until 2020 has sort of passed me by. The start of another decade usually gives us momentum to press refresh. But given our current circumstances, a moment of retrospection feels wise.
Where were we in 2010? Well, we had a black American president, and his famous poster of “Hope” that blew up the world was still fresh in our minds. That same year Kathryn Bigelow won the Academy Award for Best Director (a woman hasn’t won it since).
Scrolling was not a thing. BuzzFeed and its infectious memes was only four years old, and “going viral” actually meant something. Instagram hadn’t quite caught on — we were mostly mucking about on Twitter — so screen addiction was not a topic, nor debilitating FOMO. And Fake News was, well, not in the news, although Facebook was a new obsession for millions worldwide.
We had embarked on a Tory-Lib Dem coalition government — perhaps the calmest of political marriages we will see for a long time. And a global recession which had hit hard in 2008 hadn’t completely destroyed us — though it had ruined many lives.
The oldest millennial then was 29; the Kardashians were not a “global phenomenon” (Kim was 30 and still single). The internet felt hopeful and was giving people all over the planet a true voice for the first time. Recommendation algorithms hadn’t started to control how we saw content — they were arguably one of the biggest precursors to some of the most damaging aspects of our new technological world order.
We were blissfully ignorant of the political populism that would bring Donald Trump to power, give birth to the alt-Right and set Brexit in motion. Our crippling fear of our planet dying from ever-increasing emissions had receded (even if the danger hadn’t), momentarily pushed out of our minds by the global recession. The Paris Accords would not be signed until 2016.
Today, many of us feel incredibly anxious about our future; the environmental statistics can feel justifiably overwhelming. Our news media can too often feel like non-stop hype, and Facebook is amok with peddled political lies.
I’m a decade older and see this as time to start again, to consider how I want to shape my next 10 years
And who could have guessed at the power of #MeToo? Or that we would see a film like Black Panther? Or that hashtags could genuinely sway opinion for good and social media campaigns could help set people free? As for me, I’m a decade older and probably not much wiser. My children are now in their teens. The fear of advancing years, however, has given me fresh drive.
Far from slowing down, I’ve launched a media company, ThisMuchIKnow, whose message is one of action and hope over 24-hour negativity. I feel a restless energy many would describe as a mid-life crisis. I don’t. At 46, I see this as a time to start again; to stave off mortality and to assiduously consider how I want to shape my next 10 years.
As for Britain, we are still sitting on the precipice of a momentous decision. The real battle lies not in Brexit, but in whether we and this new government will have the bravery to save our planet. Only revolutionary action will grasp the incredible opportunities ahead rather than clinging dangerously to current comforts. Because by 2030 it will have become much harder to press refresh.
High time Labour had a female leader
As one mad enough to sit through this election to the bitter end at 6am, nursing a nasty white wine hangover in bed — admittedly I passed out for two hours in my son’s bed — at 3.30am I watched two leaders give very different losing speeches.
Jo Swinson delivered by far the most gracious words of the night. In total contrast was Jeremy Corbyn, who blamed the media and Brexit, said that his policies were the right ones, and said that he was not going quite yet.
As dawn crept further in and we saw a Conservative government with even fewer women in it than before, and no chance of Luciana Berger leading the Liberal Democrats after her defeat in Finchley and Golders Green , my hope is that the Labour Party might finally vote in its first female leader.
Earlier in the evening I had joined others at an electoral debate at new all-female club The Wing, where those from the 50:50 campaign drove home again how far we are from gender parity in government.
And that Labour has never voted in a female leader — this can surely not happen again.
Where is Ghislaine Maxwell?
While Harvey Weinstein is finally going into the dock over two rape charges next month , the horror of Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes gets amplified. And all we have is deafening silence from Ghislaine Maxwell, the woman who has reportedly admitted helping to procure him young girls for “massages”. There are reports she is to do an interview on an unnamed US TV network but nothing is certain, especially her whereabouts. How, in an era where everything and everyone can be tracked, can this woman still be hiding unseen?