2006 Dissection

The year draws to a close. Here’s my retrospective on 2006, the year where I entered my third decade and watched so much of the world begin to crumble.

It started well enough, I turned thirty and had a great party. Work at my old job continued to get steadily more and more unbearable as the MD continued his cost cutting drive by making us all work harder and harder for less and less.

I suspect I’m like many other engineers, we aren’t particularly “money-motivated” we are “good-job-well-done” and “a-bit-of-praise-and-recognition” motivated but when the money decreases and the work load increases, doing a good job becomes more difficult which leads to frustration and even less praise-and-recognition. It was a fairly horrible vicious circle, fueled by an MD who gets bonuses based on cost savings and a parent company who will be perfectly happy to see the British operation driven into the ground, preferably with as few long-term people left as possible to reduce the final redundancy bill. That’s just my opinion anyway but I was not the first of our experienced guys to jump ship and I certainly wasn’t the last.

The new job is much better on all fronts, less stress, more opportunity to do a good job and a steady stream of pats-on-the-back. All in all it’s very good.

Not long after the new job started my Aunt Isobel, not a blood relative but my youngest brother’s God Mother and a dear and close friend to all of us, fell ill and declined rapidly leading to her death on the 19th of November at the age of 76. There were hundreds of people at her funeral, or so it seemed to me – I could barely see through the tears. We missed her this December, a new piece by my youngest brother premiered on Advent Sunday “I Look From Afar” which is, in my opinion, the best he has done. That Isobel was not there to hear it hurt. On the 23rd I put the Chapel Choir’s old CD “People Look East” on and found myself weeping uncontrollably as I remembered giving her a copy the Christmas it first came out. She wasn’t at Christmas dinner, finishing last or otherwise, and I think we were all a little more sombre this year as a result. She always took me out for lunch or dinner at or around my birthday and this January I will again miss that pleasure.

The same week of November was also filled with joy as my old friend Brian married his girlfriend Jackie. I was Best Man and managed to get him to the church on time (indeed an hour and a half early) and delivered a speach which seemed to go down well enough before drinking myself into a happy stupor. The website, incidentally is my very 21st Century gift to them!

November was certainly the busiest of months, one way and another, which meant that my Novel Writing ambitions fell somewhat to the way-side. However I have reems of material in my head for this story and I will be picking up my pen (or keyboard) again in the New Year to continue it.

Across the world the situation in various places across the Middle East has led to all sorts of dispair and our hand in stirring it has been galling. It has seemed obvious to me for some time that there are three possible courses of action with regards to Iraq:

  1. Stick with the current policy and continue the slow slide towards the complete fracturing and breakdown of the country.
  2. Abandon the place to it’s fate and watch the slightly faster fracturing and breakdown of the countery
  3. Increase the number of troops significantly to find and eliminate the insurgents, coupled with a structured withdrawal plan and a massive investment to rebuild the infrastructure that still remains in tatters.

This last is of course becoming more and more of an option W can not make so he’s more likely to go for option 2 and find something else to distract the American public with so they don’t have to watch the results of their handy-work.

Saddam has been executed and I’m not sure who’s purposes that best serves. I suspect it’s largely because the US desperately needs to see a Bad Guy getting his come-upance in their disasterous war on terror.

If you haven’t already you should certainly read Riverbend’s End of the Year blog entry.

And Isreal seems to be continuing it’s policy of destabalising all of it’s neighbours whilst complaining that they can’t possibly negotiate with any of them as long as they are in a failed state status and gunmen are running amuck. This is of course a self fulfilling prophecy and I’m amazed at the surprise the International Community met the election of Hammas with. What exactly did you expect? Not that Hammas’ tactics can be condoned either. Have a read at Juan Cole’s take on the situation.

I can’t help but feel that there has been an entirely wrong-headed policy in both the US and the EU towards a great number of the world’s problems. Surely it is clear after the examples of the past year that military interventionism still doesn’t work, you’d think we’d remember that from our own colonial empire days. I can only hope that 2007 brings fresh leaders, fresh perspectives and a fundamentally more christian (Love thy neighbour as thyself) approach.

Ho hum, time to iron a shirt and swill a whisky to toast the death of 2006 which has brought pleasure and pain in nearly equal measure.

Happy New Year, everyone!