New year is for new times. This year should, in theory anyway, bring change as we look forward to a year of critical general elections all over the world .
Yes, most attention must be on the USA and the possible return of Trump – currently too close to call – on which the direction of much international global diplomacy must depend. More on that later.
But as I write this, we look to the coming election in Bangladesh and the possible return of Sheikh Hasina for a third term, that could threaten some of the democratic fabric of the country. I still recall putting up safety black blinds against possible bombing in our Delhi family house during the war between India and Pakistan, on a very long overdue visit from the UK, in December 1971.
Then, of course, we have the elections coming up in Pakistan next month, itself with, as usual, so much at stake and so much to play for. All the usual assumptions and hopes apply, though the outcome that many will appreciate will be post-election stability.
Then, of course, we have the elections coming up in Pakistan next month, itself with, as usual, so much at stake and so much to play for.
Then we have the multi-layered Indian elections, with some 900 million eligible to vote, spread over five weeks on a rolling programme. Recent state election results suggest that it is a bit of a foregone conclusion, but the levels achieved by the Opposition INDIA coalition, will still be crucial in defending democratic culture in, er, Bharat.
There are the elections in Russia, yes, really a state-controlled, legally-enforced result, that will see Mr Putin returned for a fifth term, a length that might even eclipse the old Tzars that the Bolsheviks, whom Putin admires, set out to evict from the Kremlin.
There are also significant elections in Indonesia and in South Africa – which may well swing for the ANC, which seems to have assumed perpetual power. We also have the UK going to the polls, and set to turn about face, back to Labour and a more open attitude on public spending.
So, time for change for some, but enforced continuity for others. Standing back, though, there is a global battle between a world of back-sliding democracies, for more than 20 years now according to the Index of Freedom, and the seemingly irresistible rise of autocracies. So, Trump v Biden becomes critical in so many ways.
Standing back, though, there is a global battle between a world of back-sliding democracies, and the seemingly irresistible rise of autocracies
We need hope and optimism to face the new year with our myriad challenges – wars, poverty, climate, the inexorable rise of China – no elections there of course, thanks to President Xi.
However, our Vicky Noon Foundation will be one of those bodies that will look forward optimistically. We have much to celebrate – more in my next blog – but we look forward to launching our new Alumni Society of you, our Noon Scholars, in Lahore in September. Please note! More follows.
PCRF | Jan 2024