This is a week when the world does retrospection in bucket-loads, be it in the ubiquitous review of the year newspaper pullouts or those cheap-to-make TV programmes featuring out-of-work comics summarising something they saw on screen five minutes earlier.
But far from voting with their feet, the readers and viewers lap up these end-of-year specials, probably because they are easy to digest in a week where digestion is all our body seems able to do due to gluttony on a grand scale. We will all laugh at repeats of those memorable ‘cultural’ moments especially the one when the high priestess of po-faced pomposity herself, Madonna, was left red-faced as she fell off stage in front of a television audience of millions. But to define 12 months by the calibre of its light entertainment would be to sugarcoat 2015, a year which will go down as one we will want to forget for so many reasons.
It was the year we became scared again – two seismic events in Paris, the Charlie Hebdo massacre just days into the New Year and the outrage in November which left 130 people dead – made us all realise that international terrorism knows no boundaries and left Brits peering nervously across the Channel.
But it was the not completely unrelated matter of mass migration, leading to the normally over cautious BBC News labelling it the Year of the Migrant, which dominated the headlines this year.
We have witnessed history in the making and it hasn’t been pretty. It is not just the human cost which has been unpleasant but the response to the crisis from many has been nothing short of disgraceful.
It would be nice to declare 2015 as the year when we finally discovered tolerance, which would have some credence when you consider political parties such as UKIP here and the Front National in France failed miserably to capitalise on favourable pre-election polls. But border fences have been hastily erected, the official response by the European Union a disjointed mess and we have also seen riot police deployed in some parts of southern and central Europe in unsuccessful attempts to stem the flow of desperate refugees who are forging their way through the continent in search of a better life.
While I have my fingers crossed that 2016 will be a vast improvement I don’t hold out too much hope. Donald Trump for president anyone?