Today we enter a new decade. A new beginning. A new chance to get things right.
And by goodness we need it.
There were many great moments in the past decade – the London Olympics, two royal weddings and Nessa finally proposing to Smithy.
But there were plenty more moments from which we can take no pride at all. Moments which have cast a terrible stain on this country’s history.
The greed of underregulated bankers coupled with an ideological policy of austerity led to a decade of misery for many. Foodbanks, practically unheard of 10 years ago, popped up in almost every town and city.
Rough sleepers lined our streets. Waiting lists for our brilliant but beleaguered NHS grew longer.
The cult of individualism took hold, crushing beneath it our nation’s greatest attributes: moderation, politeness and “agreeing to disagree”. Instead we disagreed on anything – and everything.
Brexit hammered a stake through our nation’s soul which the extremists, the know-it-alls and the downright evil pushed and pulled until we were ripped entirely in two.
Technological change whirred so fast that promised winds of change became a destructive tornado.
Billion dollar social media firms peddled fake news, meddled in elections and shared “how to” suicide guides for our kids.
Amazon ravaged our high streets and sneered at our tax system. Smartphones intended to connect us only isolated us. We slipped into a loneliness crisis and mental health catastrophe. And so austerity, individualism and technology allied themselves to fracture our communities and leave us adrift in a perfect storm of sadness.
Hundreds of thousands of shops, libraries, pubs, youth clubs, bus services and bingo halls closed.
The glue which holds this nation together dried up and flaked off.
And all that time we continued to overheat, overuse and undervalue the planet on which we live.
And yet. There is hope. There is always hope.
For we are a country which has taken on greater challenges than those we face today – and survived.
Looking around over the past few festive weeks we have all been reminded how the British sense of family, togetherness and having a laugh come what may, remains a potent force.
And now, in this new decade, we must use this togetherness as the weapon with which we fight back.
As Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says tomorrow we must start healing the divisions we’ve seen over recent years.
The Daily Mirror has been the Heart of Britain for 117 years. We are the voice of the millions of compassionate, decent, hard-working people who are the backbone of this nation.
We speak to and for readers on both sides of the Brexit debate, young and old, from the North
and the South, in big cities and small towns.
And this year we – readers and writers together – will do our bit to fight back against those who would divide us. We will step up our brilliant Britain Talks project which brings together people with differing views over a cup of tea to find common ground.
We will relentlessly battle against social media companies, online giants and gig economy employers who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.
We will hold our politicians to account for the language they use and the promises they make.
We will again throw open the doors of the Mirror newsroom to young people to report the news. But we’ll never ever take for granted our loyal, more senior readers. We will every day tell stories of how the indomitable British spirit has achieved great things, just as we do at the Mirror’s uplifting Pride of Britain Awards.
We will aim to plant a million trees to offset carbon emissions and do everything in our power to raise awareness of the climate crisis which threatens us all.
Together we can do all this. For togetherness is the superpower we possess to shape the next decade how we wish it to be. Here’s to the Tremendous Twenties…