By Bill Heaney, Editor, The Dumbarton Democrat
Today is January 6, Feast of the Epiphany, which the dictionary (and the Bible) tell us is a moment of sudden and great realisation.
My own moment of realisation was that Christmas does not last the full twelve days allocated to it. You know, all that stuff about French hens, calling birds and partridges in pear trees.
Of carol singing, drinking red wine and champagne and being entertained to a turkey and ham dinner with roast potatoes and stuffing. No Brussels sprouts thank you.
The Season of Goodwill has been brought to an abrupt halt. The Christmas cards are being stored away in order that we know the full list of recipients for next year. If God spares us.
Our Christmas tree, which was put up with loving care, looked spectacular and was much admired by our grandchildren, is being wrestled up the steps of our winding staircase towards the loft.
Much in the same way as a coffin will one day have to be shouldered down those same stairs to the transport waiting outside in the street. Unfortunately, it will not be a sleigh.
The person in charge will be wearing a black top hat and tails. It could be a man or a woman. It will not be Santa Claus.
Everything changes has always been my ipse dixit. These have been the two words I have used most often to comfort or advise people in times of sadness, and of joy.
Times change all the time. Babies arrive to replace their deceased relatives. They bring joy and happiness. They are the new generation.
Firemen tackling bush fires which have claimed 25 lives so far in Australia.
Rain arrives, as it thankfully has today in Australia, to put out those terrifying bush fires and bring about “normality” for those thousands of deprived people, who have been bereaved and whose land and property has literally been reduced to just ashes and dust.
Here in the UK, we will survive leaving Europe although that long drawn out and bitter process has left scars that will take quite some time to heal.
Unfortunately for many of us who want it to happen, there is little likelihood that there will be any Second Referendum on Scottish independence any time soon.
Events may overtake that, and reduce its importance to a few paragraphs in what is left of Scotland’s newspapers. The world is balanced on the edge of a political precipice where one slip could lead to confrontation, conflagration and nuclear war.
In West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute, we could well be in the eye of the storm, put there by the presence of Her Majesty’s Naval Base, Clyde.
HMS Montrose is already in the Gulf patrolling and protecting the merchant shipping in the Straits of Hormuz.
Without a doubt, submarines from Faslane on the Gareloch will also be in the Middle East to respond to any attack from the Iranians.
Their citizens are mourning in their tens of thousands the assassination of one of their country’s great heroes. One person’s hero is another person’s terrorist.
When we were looking at changes that might come about in the geo political world, the press and public scorned the suggestion that we could ever have a world in which the gruesome twosome, Donald Trump and Boris Johnston, were in charge.
Well, we have that now and, over the next few days and weeks, we will learn if that is what we must continue to suffer. Calamity verging on chaos.
However, there is no doubt that things will change. They always have. We will not all get what we want. We seldom do, but where there is life, there is hope.
It is with that hope in our hearts that we move forward into the New Year, 2020.
This will be a year to mend fences. To make up with people we have fallen out with and to work together for the benefit of the community in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll. The whole community.
For the many, not the few is a slogan that has been derided and was roundly rejected at the General Election.
However, it could be incorporated into another one with Together, which was the motto discarded when West Dunbartonshire Council took over our local governance.
Together for the Many Not the Few would be an excellent motto for West Dunbartonshire Council and for the Scottish government in 2020.
Our politicians should accept that there are some things they cannot change and to co-operate to change those things that they can.