2012, 2012 Olympics, Alex Salmond, David Cameron, Edinburgh, Happy New Year, Hilary Mantel, James Heartfield, Jenny Dawe, Politics, Robert Greens, Scottish Independence, SNP, St Peter's Seminary, Stewart Pringle
So we’ve all made it through 2012 in one piece. Another year the wiser, or else another year more demoralised, what crumbs of learning have managed to stick to us during 2012?
2012 saw inexorable economic stagnation across the UK, with around 2.5 million remaining unemployed, living standards sliding, and any prospective means of growth still less than a glint in the industrialist’s eye. There may be a few neat tricks left up our sleeves: the promise of a shale gas boom and new medical research at London’s Moorfields hospital which aspires to cure the blind with stem-cell therapy. But there have been otherwise more circuses than bread, and some pretty derisory circuses at that. The nation has grimly endured the ghastly mirthless jollity of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.
The Olympics were, of course, roundly outclassed by our own Edinburgh Festival/Fringe. In Edinburgh, the Lib Dem leader of the council Jenny Dawe, the lady responsible for the city’s calamitous tram project, met her end as inevitably as a Bond villain being prised from the wing of their plummeting private jet and expelled into the stratosphere. Dawe lost her seat in the May elections, along with twelve of her cronies. With Dawe gone, Edinburgh’s pristine Labour/SNP administration could embark on a fresh new debacle of its own: a radical reform to the collection of Edinburgh’s domestic waste, which seemed to mostly involve rubbish remaining piled up uncollected in the streets.
In October, David Cameron and Alex Salmond signed the Edinburgh Agreement, which grants Holyrood the power to hold a legally-binding referendum on Scottish Independence. The future of the UK will be effectively decided in Edinburgh over the next two years.
Cameron conceded that, “The people of Scotland voted for a party that wanted to have a referendum on independence. I’ve made sure, showing them respect, that we can have that referendum…” What a contrast to the position of José Manual Barroso, the President of the EU Commission, who in December tried to spike Scottish independence by making out that an independent Scotland would have to reapply for EU membership. As usual, however, the Scottish political class generally regarded Barroso’s intervention as being apolitical and statesmanlike, rather than as a crass pseudo-imperialist meddling. If anything, Borroso confirms the suspicion that under EU membership, Scottish independence will not be qualitatively different to the existing devolution.
Has any worthwhile work been done on Tychy?
In January, Tychy published three essays on Mario Puzo’s much read but rarely studied 1969 novel The Godfather, attracting gangster enthusiasts to the website in droves. Well written if in places weakly edited, the Godfather essays nonetheless encapsulated Tychy’s vision of a new literary criticism for new audiences. After waiting patiently for the final spark of life to flicker out of Occupy Edinburgh – it would never do to undermine solidarity, comrades – Tychy conducted an autopsy of the project in February, concluding gloomily that the Left needs new ideas rather than yet another movement.
In March Tychy explored energy RnD in Scotland, once again demanding the mobilisation of shale gas extraction, whilst in April the website opposed the prospective trendy redevelopment of St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. The developer NVA apparently remains undeterred by the recent discovery of large quantities of asbestos at the sight, and so the Catholics’ God will have to now let rip with a few bolts of lightning to stymie the “generative public art” that NVA’s creative director Angus Farquhar wants to vomit all over this Gothic masterpiece.
In May, Tychy warmly reviewed Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, which very much remains The Book of 2012 rather than, as is commonly supposed, El James’ Fifty Shades of Grey (which is only important amongst people who do not read books). In June, Tychy was away on a picaresque tour of Eastern Europe, although the website received a wee souvenir in the form of an essay about the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. In July, Tychy campaigned against the early release of the convicted rapist Robert Greens, arguing that the threat he posed to the public necessitated an indeterminate sentence. All too predictably, Greens was returned to prison in October, having allegedly breached a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
In August, Tychy reviewed almost fifty plays at the Edinburgh Fringe, finding Stewart Pringle’s “As Ye Sow” to be one of the best. Having spent every last groat on Fringe theatre, Tychy fought to keep the wolf from the door in September, although there was a moment spare to take the piss out of the richly ludicrous Edinburgh Hollaback! website, a feminist initiative which encourages women to “report” disrespectful remarks made to them on the streets of Edinburgh.
(“Dream of a Tree…,” November)
In October Tychy condemned economic sanctions against Iran and noted the perverse dependence upon EU rule which underpins the SNP’s vision of Scottish independence. November saw the return of the “Gifted” book sculptures to Edinburgh and a contemplative review from Tychy, whilst in December the website unpacked James Heartfield’s sterling Unpatriotic History of the Second World War.
Tychy raises a glass to thank everybody who has visited the website over the last year.
(“Lady with a Dog,” July)