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2024 will be a block buster

As we draw to the close of a year upended by a horrendous attack on Israel and the open eruption of the ugliest sewer of antisemitism in seven decades, it is difficult to feel positive about the dawn of a new year. No times are perfect but there is no denying some periods feel more bleak than others and we feel the need to hunker down and conserve our strength for what lies ahead.

What lies ahead is a sad, desperate war in Ukraine, slowly disappearing from global attention. Israel is shouldering the world’s opprobrium for setting itself the task of getting rid of Hamas, the edgy lefty radicals’ revolutionary heroes of the day. There will be countless expressions of inchoate rage and loathing for the “zionist entity” in western cities for months to come, accompanied by yet more Islamist terror plots and attacks. There will be more stone-age thugs armed with edges drones trying to disrupt global shipping in the Red Sea and elsewhere. There will be atrocities in the Sudan, Nigeria and other parts of the muslim world that no one will pay the slightest attention to.

We will all be consumed by the election craziness that is going to descend on us. The US edition will be spectacular even by its own increasingly outlandish standards (and I once laughed at the hanging chards of 2000, how innocent we all were) and the special effects will probably include more pyrotechnics than cable ties and shamans. The UK edition is a forgone conclusion. Labour’s Starmer is gritting his teeth and staying on course for this one and even some conservatives want the scale of Tory defeat to be massive, hoping that something harder, stronger arises from the ashes. India goes to the polls too and the results are also highly predictable, a resurgent majoritarianism that is irrevocably reshaping the country. Western legacy media and liberal political pundits will have their worst nightmares come true – 2024 will be the year right-wing populism  triumphs.

From Taiwan and Finland in January to Croatia and Ghana in December, one of the largest combined electorates in history will vote for new governments in 2024. This should be a cause of celebration and a vindication of the power of the ballot box. Yet this coming year is likely to see one of the starkest erosions of liberal democracy since the end of the Cold War. At their worst, the overall results could end up as a bloodbath or, marginally less bleakly, as a series of setbacks.

At first glance, the stats are impressive. Forty national elections will take place, representing 41 percent of the world’s population and 42 percent of its gross domestic product. Some will be more consequential than others. Some will be more unpredictable than others. (You can strike Russia and Belarus from that list.) One or two may produce uplifting results.

Uplifting results? The adults back in the room like Donald Tusk in Poland, storming back to liberate state media and the courts from the clutches of the nefarious rightwing scum who were in charge before them?

I am so tired and cynical that I don’t expect anything close to uplifting in the news cycle in 2024. The only thing I am grateful for is having this space for a rant now and then, to share our collective disillusionment, anger and misery. I am not feeling particularly resilient. I was reading and working on an atl about the (young) feminist reaction to the sexual assaults on October 7 and frankly, I crumbled and could not proceed with the garbage I was reading. Tuning out of the news onslaught was a blessed relief.

There is no indefinite respite however and  2024 is upon us. How do you see the year shaping out? Are any of you more upbeat than I am? What would be uplifting news for you?