Another New Year

My big brother recently sent me an e-Christmas card – with it came a nice seasonal message, but the last line said: “May God help us all in 2019!”

I thought about it, and found it really difficult to argue with that sentiment.

Looking back on my own miserable blog from a year ago, looking at New Year resolutions, I see that for me, nothing has changed in the 12 months since writing it.

As I now look ahead to what lies ahead for my country of origin, I see only a bleakness, a vast foggy expanse of little hope.

Brexit and EU FlagsBritain is set for one of the most bewildering actions ever – a Brexit from the EU which is absolutely certain to leave the nation, and most of its people (except the filthy rich entitled hooligans who got us into this situation) far worse off than ever before in their lifetimes. Think about it, Britain, voluntarily, is breaking up relationships with over 30 of the most wealthy democratic nations on earth, so it can, maybe, form new relationships with poorer and less democratic places.

Our antiquated honours system has seen a particularly nasty piece of work, politician John Redwood, given a knighthood for “political and public service”, which includes voting against key LGBT rights legislation, voting to re-introduce the death penalty, and failing twice to become leader of the Tory party. And, according to his ex-wife, doing nothing for children or charities. Oh, and he wants a “no-deal” Brexit, not the one negotiated by his party leader. So she gives him a knighthood…………you just couldn’t make this up.

London CommutersRail fares there are going up 3%, despite commuters already paying the most of anyone in Europe. A travesty for a nation which invented the bloody thing!

Further afield, that complete tosser Trump is still limiting healthcare, trying to eliminate women’s reproductive rights while refusing to help the babies that result from it, and steadfastly refusing to protect our planet from disintegrating.

Over in Russia, I have no doubt that Putin will continue to get everyone worried about his plans for 2019. Commentators are suggesting that there will be more trouble in the Ukraine, whilst he will expand his influence with Saudi Arabia leading to coordinated supply cuts in the oil market. The Khashoggi killing was a gift to Putin (remember the high-fives?) and he’ll continue to try to step into Saudi the same way Russia is displacing the U.S. in Egypt  And with the U.S. pulling out of Afghanistan, it’s quite possible Putin will attempt a deal with the Taliban and effectively displace NATO as the region’s chief powerbroker. 

Not a lot for which to propose a toast on New Year’s Eve….

So do I see anything positive for another New Year? Indeed I do. On a personal level, despite being a year nearer our demise, and our bodies becoming ever-more frustrating as age begins to take its toll, Mrs B and I continue to live a privileged retired life on an island that could be light-years away from the trials and tribulations facing our planet – despite being very close to many of the world’s trouble spots, it is a peaceful existence, surrounded by good people and wonderful friends. If we didn’t watch the news on television, or online, we would never imagine that things could be so badly askew in much of the rest of the world.

And besides, in March we become great grandparents for the first time – in April we become Roger Baragrandparents again! We are blessed indeed. 

Happy New Year to you all, wherever you live.





Another New Year: taking some rest in 2019

 This one will be rather short. 

Happy New Years - Rusuk From the long list in my last New Year’s Resolutions long list, one especially struck me as I looked back at them. Here it is: ‘The Three Lions’: maybe they’ll get, to everyone’s surprise, to the semis in Russia this summer? First time since 1990? Wishful thinking, though.’

To my surprise (and to everyone’s, too, I guess), the England football team really did make it to the semis at the World Cup. Unlike some other wishes, I didn’t believe that one could actually come true. But it did. Great!

When it comes to 2019, I just want all the good stuff to outweigh the bad things. Sure, we all hope for that with our own bags of personal stories and wishes to dream of. 

I just think for some reason, no rationale behind it, that in 2019 there will be no dramatic events on a global scale, both good or bad. I see it like a plain year, a well-balanced one. No big wars or conflicts. No impressive scientific breakthroughs. No big sporting events (that’s easy, just check the calendar). The Earth should take some time to rest. Just for one year. Our Rusuk Blog writer Sergey

So that’s my bet. Let’s come back to it in December 2019.





This is a rare blog for the three of us; normally we all agree on a topic and that’s it; we have our subject for the week. But this time is a little different; we are to write about 2019 and the New Year. An open-ended topic…

Predictions – if you want to. Personal Outlook – sure, that’s allowed. Basically anything you care to write about as it pertains to the next year. 

After some reflection, I think the next year will simply be a continuation of the last:

  • I don’t have high hopes for America. 
  • I’m sure Roger would say much the same about the UK.
  • Because of oil prices, Sergey most likely wouldn’t see a rosy outlook for Russia.

Now, when I say continuation, that doesn’t mean nothing gets resolved. In fact, several big stories will come to a dramatic climax:

  • Muller (the American, Special Council) should complete his work in mid-February – will Trump be thrown out?
  • Brexit should come to a conclusion but nobody knows what that conclusion may be.
  • If the Russian economy suffers another serious oil driven downturn, how will Putin fare?

Personally, I think Russia will do better than the other two. I base that on nothing.

We need a two-year year to complete last year’s dramas. A few do-overs would also be nice too, please.

Map of AlTanfTents at AlTanf

Perhaps the saddest story for me will be Syria. Yes, the war will move towards a resolution and that’s a good thing. But 50,000 Kurds, mostly women and children, will be falsely labelled terrorists, and murdered. These people live in a refugee camp around Al Tanf, a little place in the South where just over 200 US troops are holed up. It serves as a safe haven but the solders have been ordered to leave and there is going to be an attack as soon as they do. Iran has already set up Photograph of Dean Lewischeckpoints nearby. For the Kurds, history is about to repeat itself while the world looks the other way — again. Yeah, happy new year.