Each year, as we move into the Festive Season, I listen once again to the Carol I wrote for the late and great Jessye Norman, (you can hear it on YouTube – This Christmastide/ Jessye Norman). It has a repeated refrain of ‘Truth, Peace, Hope and Love, and this year these sentiments seem especially appropriate.

TRUTH. It is sad to say there seems little of this about, especially from our politicians, and something that has worsened of late. Truth, along with integrity, doesn’t seem to matter much in public life now. PEACE. Sadly this also is missing, the world is still rife with wars and their terrible consequences, which we seem unable to stop. HOPE. We were so full of hope that with the arrival of the vaccines, that Covid would gradually be defeated. Now it seems this is not the case and we are threatened with a fourth wave of the disease, so hope is in short supply. And LOVE? I trust there is still a good deal of love about, but in some areas it is also in short supply. I am thinking about the love we show towards our fellow man and particularly our attitude towards Refugees. This has been shameful over the last year and an area in which we need to find compassion. The opposite of love is hate and hatred shows through  anger. It is distressing, but I have never known a time when people are so openly angry. The social media pages are full of it. I’m afraid our politicians are mainly to blame for this. It is horrible to feel you have been deceived and lied to, and this naturally leads to anger. I am guilty of this myself. I have been angry for some time at the great deceptions and  injustice shown to a majority of the British people by our present government, along with the lack of leadership especially from our Prime Minister, who it now appears has lost all trust.

At the moment I am working on the third book of my Rawlings Trilogy and this deals with the Covid years. It is difficult, looking back, not to be shocked at the mismanagement of the disease in this country, which has led to countless unnecessary deaths. This outrage includes the sleaze and corruption which is now coming to light. No wonder people are turning to Twitter and Facebook to express their frustration and fury. About a year ago my publisher received a letter from someone who had read the first Rawlings’ book, saying they thought the book was brilliant, but they couldn’t buy another book from an author who made such vile comments on Twitter. My reaction to this is twofold. Firstly, if a book is a good one, then the character of the person who wrote it shouldn’t matter. If it did, we’d probably be limited to only reading that paragon of virtue, Jane Austen! The second and more important point is that I maybe angry, irritated, cross etc., but in all my comments I try to be fair, and never set out to hurt anybody personally. I may criticise the public performances of the politicians and I defend my right to do so, but I never make hurtful comments about them personally, or their private lives.

My other sadness about this time of year is the commercialisation of Christmas. From September onwards we are bombarded with advertising and piped music. I think if I hear Jingle Bells one more time I might scream. One supermarket has an advertisement saying that Christmas is all about food. I beg to differ. This has got out of hand and is all wrong. Christmas, whether you are a Christian or not, is about giving. There are many people who will spend this Christmas on the streets without food, and many children who will go without presents. It would be good if in the middle of the joyful times spent with our own families, we could give a little to the poor, the helpless and lonely. I will once again be selecting three charities and making a small donation to each. It would be so good if everyone could do the same.

So with my last blog of the year, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and may the new year be full of ‘Truth, Peace, Hope and Love.’

Blurred photo of a Christmas card