22 reasons for hope in 2022 from Covid vaccine rollout to Boris Johnson waning



As 2021 draws to a Covid-y close, with hundreds of thousands of us recovering from or awaiting ­being hit by Omicron, we all need ­reasons for hope in 2022.

If you feel stuck like the Ever Given boat in the Suez Canal of life, think of a quote President Barack Obama had stitched into a rug in the Oval Office.

“The arc of moral justice is long, but it bends towards justice” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Remember just before the Berlin Wall came down, or Nelson Mandela was released from decades of incarceration, or Margaret Thatcher’s power ebbed away? We couldn’t yet see the arc bending.

But just maybe, in 2021, there were some early footprints…?

Here are 22 green shoots that point in a hopeful direction for 2022.

1 The Covid vaccine rollout was a miracle of the NHS and tens of thousands of volunteers.

Evelyn Lipmann, a 96-year-old holocaust survivor who received her vaccine in the same arm as her Auschwitz tattoo, told me that since her arrival in the UK, our NHS had renewed her faith in humankind.

The state-sponsored kindness of the vaccine rollout was, in the end, a ­beautiful antidote to the state-sponsored murder she had escaped in coming to England. nhs.uk/book-a-coronavirus-vaccination

Mayor Tracy Brabin can change lives for the better
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Daily Star, Daily Mirror, Daily Express)

2 Across the UK, the community response to the Covid-19 pandemic has continued to be both brilliant and moving. From 4,000 mutual aid groups, to people just getting to know neighbours, almost two years of coronavirus has built solidarity across our land. covidmutualaid.org

3 The Government’s stance towards refugees grows ever more vile with the odious Borders Bill, yet community sponsorship of refugees is at an all-time high.

The most life-affirming thing I was involved with in 2020 was helping a family to come to safety in South East London. Over 100 groups across the UK, from Angel to Anglesey, are doing the same. resetuk.org

4 The powers of the once unassailable Boris Johnson, who could smile and smile and still be a villain, are waning. Sir John Curtice’s end of year “poll of polls” shows the Tories started 2021 on 39%, rose to 43% via the vaccines boost, but collapsed to 33% in December. The 1922 committee are already sharpening their Margaret Thatcher cufflinks. Could the party (what party?) be over for Boris?

5 Despite the strains on the NHS, Nye Bevan’s healthcare vision still holds. Due to the Herculean efforts of staff – who need a pay rise! – the NHS is not just a public institution but part of our national collective imagination. Another reason to save it in 2022 from the US healthcare giants Chancellor Rishi Sunak dined with in California. yournhsneedsyou.com

6 Sleaze-gate saw the Lib-Dems destroy a 23,000 majority in the ultra-safe Tory seat of North Shropshire. Even a yellow party sceptic like me recognises Labour’s simplest path back to power requires the Lib-Dems to be winning again.

7 Meanwhile, Kim Leadbeater’s victory in Batley and Spen shows how the Red Wall can become a bridge when Labour campaigns with decency and bravery, and uses its ears.

Kim Leadbeater campaigned with decency and bravery
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8 England’s Metro mayors are not only showcasing what Labour can do in power but changing millions of lives for the better. In May, the first woman Metro mayor, Tracy Brabin, joined a winning line-up of Andy Burnham, Marvin Rees, Sadiq Khan, Steve Rotheram, Dan Jarvis, Dan Norris, Jamie Driscoll and Nik Johnson.

9 2021 saw a host of industrial and legal victories against the gig economy – one of the big threats to people’s ability to lead decent lives. From London to Bangalore to Athens, workers took on the tech giants.

In the UK, Uber was beaten in the Supreme Court. The Mirror, the Bureau for Investigative Journalism and ITV News exposed exploitation by Deliveroo.

It’s A Sin was wonderful viewing
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Channel 4)

10 Elsewhere, pay victories for bus drivers, petrol tanker drivers, DHL staff and bin workers showed the trade union movement is alive and well.

11 The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, the bereaved and survivors of Grenfell, and the fightback of the disabled people’s movement, show us all how to stand up to lies and oppression, even in the midst of personal pain.

12 Strictly Come Dancing was won by the incredible Rose Ayling-Ellis, who shared with us the power of silence, while John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, the first all-male couple, reached the tear-jerking final in one giant pirouette for humankind.

Rose Ayling-Ellis was a winner
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13 The US Open tennis championship was won by a British woman of Romanian and Chinese heritage who was born in Canada. The decent majority of our country stood up for three young black England footballers against a tirade of abuse. TV drama It’s A Sin charted our progress on HIV/Aids. And Marcus Rashford continues to be our de facto Prime Minister.

The Culture Wars keep raging, but Britain still keeps moving towards becoming an ever-more inclusive country. 2021 showed us we can still be the UK of the 2012 Olympics.

14 In 2021, 100 members of the first-ever Climate Assembly met Sir David Attenborough to discuss an equitable path to Net Zero. The Assembly revealed how “ordinary” people equipped with expert opinion are more than capable of running things.

ir David Attenborough delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26
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1510,000 people signed up for our ground-breaking Britain Talks project, to meet people different from them for a Zoom chat. Meanwhile, 2,000 people from the UK, and 20,000 from Europe, signed up for our Europe Talks spin-off.

16 With the first beaver born on Exmoor in 400 years, there are signs that we are finally starting to take rewilding seriously. From the Mayor of London’s plans to rewild the capital, to big plans for Scotland, Wales, and across the UK, this is a win-win for humans, animals and the countryside alike.

17 Cop26 might not have been the breakthrough the planet needed, but there are signs it helped trigger a shift in momentum we can all build on in 2022. The goal of keeping warming to 1.5 degrees is still – if just barely – alive.

A beaver was born after a 400 year gap
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18 The “Glasgow Climate Pact” made at Cop26 says countries must “revisit and strengthen” their climate pledges by the end of 2022. Countries will meet in Egypt late next year, a country already badly affected by climate change. It’s up to all of us to make this count.

19 2021 was the year of the devastating murder of Sarah Everard, and also the year that women rose up across Britain to say enough is enough, and a spotlight was shone on violence against women. As 2022 arrives, we stand at a crossroads. Women are demanding change.

20 In 2021, an orchid believed to be extinct in the UK, Serapias Parviflora, was found on the 11th-floor roof of a Japanese investment bank in London. And if that little flower-tongued orchid isn’t a metaphor for hope, I don’t know what is.

21 Astronomers detected light from behind a black hole for the first time – proving Einstein right – and also that every black hole may have a silver lining.

22 Let us not forget that 2021 was the year President Donald Trump left the stage after being democratically removed from office. Tyranny can be overcome.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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