Peace and love to one and all

Merry Christmas from LA Davenport author of My Life as a Dog-Escape-No Way Home

Merry Christmas to one and all.

I realise that Christmas is not something that we all celebrate, but the wishes of peace and joy at this time of year is universal. It is at this time that we can, and should, forget our differences and come together to spread happiness and love to people everywhere.

This year, I was taken aback by how these sentiments seem to seep away rather easily from the public conscience under the weight of Brexit and the new populism that drives it.

Whether they like to admit or not, the words and actions of public figures, especially politicians, and the press do affect the way that people behave. And there have been instances this year in which those taking part in the public conversation have sought to divide us by fostering hate, simply to win votes and sell newspapers.

Even aside from the shocking rise in racist attacks that it engendered, I have seen its effect on the street, in the way people deal with each other. People have been less kind, less patient, more quick to see wrong in others, and more suspicious.

One should think carefully before dismissing the idea that circumstances now are similar to those in the 1930s. No one then thought that we would end up in another world war that would consume Europe in blood and flames. It came to pass because people thought that it could never happen. We must learn from their complacency.

However, we are lucky, all of us outside the world of politics, because we do not have to follow their example. When people seek to divide us, we should come together. When they seek to sow hate, we should reap love.

We did it numerous times in the face of terror, and we have to now in the face of a populism that seeks to terrorise us into submitting to a form of control, led not by the state but a coalition of people that have learned to turn a profit from discord.

Unfortunately, we cannot turn back the clock and undo the words and actions that have driven us apart but we can try, every day, to be our best selves, and to see the best in others.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas to one and all, wherever you are and however you wish peace and love to you and yours.

L. A. Davenport