When the elements speak, elemental forces are unleashed, and it is important, in the middle of this storm, to capture the right tone of voice. Any false attempt to give reassurance, to boast about early success, to bury oneself in clichés, is unhelpful—even worse, it is historic: by the time these words are read, events will have unfolded which make them, as the CD music reviews have it, ‘Of historic interest only’. We are a long way from terra firma; at the time of writing, it’s a case of ‘so far, so good’. If this were a tennis match, all we could say is that we’ve had a decent first set.
The year of 2019 was one when many of the six impossible things before breakfast remain unresolved—with the shining exception of Brexit, and the wider resolution of domestic politics. We can still feel the political earthquake which struck the UK last month—we cannot yet see the effect of it. Most political earthquakes, when they happen, are scarcely discerned, and even those which are perceived for what they are, do not easily reveal the new pathways created from the changed landscape.