Westie's Christmas Message, 2016

Hi there Everyone!

As years go, 2016 has been pretty eventful, and it is difficult to know quite where to start!

For many, it can hardly have been called a good year! On the International and global stage, the world seemed to be - if not exactly tottering on the brink - certainly at times a tad unsteady on its' axis! To CAPNews, those 'authorities' such as the United Nations and the 'Big Powers' in positions to (supposedly) help keep us all safer, must surely be looking at themselves and questioning if perhaps they couldn't have done a better job!

Surely those suffering in places like Syria and Nigeria must be wondering just what they have done to warrant what has happened to their lives. As an example, in 'liberating' Aleppo it has been virtually razed to the ground - and in many cases has literally been destroyed around them! They may well have got their city back from the likes of ISIS or other such terrorists groups - and are thus 'free' once again - but at what price! The rubble that was once their home(s) must almost be beyond comprehension, let alone restoration!

The lines between the 'good guys' and the 'villains' somehow these days, seem to be ever blurred - and certainly the old adage of 'with friends like that, who needs enemies' couldn't be more stark!

When it comes to 'friends' mind, CAPNews feels that perhaps the UK might well be in need of some in the coming months, following the tumultuous BrExit decision! Whatever the whys and wherefores, and rights or wrongs, of that little debate (and vote) - and perish the thought that CAPNews should ever take sides! - it is clear that whatever the general public in the rest of Europe might be thinking (and saying!) when it comes to 'those in Brussels' extending the hand of friendship to Theresa May and her negotiating ministers, it is at best, a very frosty handshake! At that table, her cards will appear to have very few aces - and unless she can bring some rabbits out of her hat, she may just have to hope that she finds some trumps to come to her rescue!

All that seems clear at the moment is that, while 2016 may have seemed politically unsettling - after all it brought down one Prime Minister - CAPNews believes that it has been a 'walk in the park' compared to what might well be in store in the coming year or so, regardless of whether the BrExit landing is going to be 'hard' or 'soft'!

Whether 'things' will be better (or indeed worse) ultimately, is anybody's guess - which now we have the opportunity to think about it, is possibly what the 'BrExit' referendum vote was all about originally - ie 'anybody's guess'!

Actually, the way things are looking Internationally, 'guessing' is all the rage at the moment, especially following the other major vote of the year - the election of a Mr. Donald Trump to the big White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! Again CAPNews doesn't take sides - even if Mr. Farage and President Putin appear to have gotten involved! - but it is true to say that if nothing else, Mr. Trump has certainly stirred up the political pot! He is definitely not your typical politician, and seems to be a bit like 'Marmite' - you either love him or hate him!

Some of his statements - both pre- and post- the election - appear to have been a tad provocative and again (depending on your 'marmite' preference) have won him, in equal measure, many friends as well as enemies! Even before his inauguration - apparently he is writing his own speech! - it is clear, we are in for some 'interesting' times. Could it be conceivably, that this Trump may just be one of those that Mrs. May is hoping, might help her win over the aces?

CAPNews recalls that the last 'non-politician' to sit in the Oval Office - a certain Mr. Ronald Reagan, about whom, at the time, many were fairly apprehensive - once he got off his horse, and left it in Hollywood, made a pretty good fist of being President! We can all only but hope that the next incumbent - despite his pretty disturbing electioneering rhetoric - enjoys the same (or at least, similar) success and wish him (and ourselves) well!

While change can be said to be the 'name of the game' on the political front, and it is after all (they say) sometimes as good as a rest, it can equally be associated with the more mundane aspects of our day-to-day existence - particularly so when applied to the achievements (or otherwise) of some of our sporting heroes or villains!

2016 saw both the highs and the lows of British sport - and sportsmen! - from the brilliance of the general performances, including the highly creditable gold (and indeed silver and bronze) medal haul of our athletes, across all the sporting disciplines at the summer Olympics in Rio, to (conversely) the woeful - abject is probably a more appropriate description - failure of our England footballing 'elite' at the European Nations football competition.

Whilst it must not be forgotten, that the Welsh (and indeed to some extent, the Republican Irish) team did commendably better in the Championships than their English contemporaries, the performances of the team from the 'Mother' country regrettably mirrored the abysmal display (in 2015) of our exponents of the other team field sport that we gave to the world, namely Rugby Union!

The only consolation being that with the latter failure, the England team - following a change of Management - has successfully gone over the past year, from 'zero to hero'! From being something like ninth in the world rankings, at the end of a disastrous World Cup - much it has to be accepted, to the amusement and delight of the other Home Nations' supporters! - the England team is now second only to the mighty All Blacks, in the world rugby union standings! Albeit, now much to the angst of those fans previously chortling!

Ironically, the man now leading the England rugby team comes from the Antipodes, which could well make him eminently suitable when it comes to trapping a Kiwi! If (or should that be 'when') he eventually does overthrow the black clad marauders from down under, CAPNews believes that Mr. Jones must surely become an honorary knight, if indeed he is not allowed to ascend to the throne itself!

If a Scotsman can be 'Sir' Andy Murray, as he now deservedly is for his contribution to British tennis in particular, and British sport in general - along with many of those other victorious Olympians - then why can't an Australian be similarly honoured! Just because a chap's ancestors may have had a bit of trouble with a couple of sheep or a loaf of bread, it shouldn't, in this day and age, still be held against him! (In the very unlikelihood that you should ever read this Eddie, only joking - honest!)

One thing for which 2016 will be notable is the number of 'celebrities' who have sadly passed away. While it is inevitable that, as we all get older, the number of the 'famed and famous' leaving this mortal coil each year must increase, it does seem that 2016 has taken more than its fair share of those particularly in the music and entertainment industry - from David Bowie and Prince earlier in the year, to recently George Michael. May they all Rest In Peace.

By modern standards none could be said to have been old, and each left a legacy of their music which gave much pleasure and enjoyment to many throughout the world. Indeed, from reports since his death, George Michael left far more than just his music, having been, it now transpires, a very generous (albeit anonymous) benefactor to not only many of the better known charities, but also frequently to many private individuals, who he considered may also have been in financial need. While being a sadder place for his passing, his music and his benevolence, leave the world a lasting memory!

With all the darker sides of things going on, it is refreshing to hear of such acts of genuine kindness and it is on such a note that CAPNews ends its 2016 review.

If you have got this far, and so to actually be looking at the web site, you will have also, hopefully already seen the notice of another reunion that is being put on in London on Friday April 28th. As the notice says, it is open to everyone who has ever worked anywhere for any one of the many faces of CAP.

So, if you are one of those and would like to spend a few hours reminiscing over some of those good times with some really great colleagues and friends, the Grand Connaught Rooms on April 28th is the place for you.

Sign up and come along - you will be sure of a really warm welcome!

All the very best to you all for now, may 2017 bring you comfort, health and happiness, as also to all those suffering around the world.


Read the 2015 missive here