Welcome to 2018.
After a night filled with joy and revelry that saw me in bed for ten-thirty and asleep by eleven, a glance at the papers this New Year’s morning gave a glimpse of what we might expect in the year ahead.
Is the U.K. the only country in the world to charge onlookers for a view of the New Year fireworks display? Apparently 100,000 people paid ten quid a head (that’s almost one pound a minute!) for the privilege of seeing the 12-minute display over the Thames this year. That’s not a bad one million pounds start to 2018, Mister Mayor of London.
It’s unlikely to happen, but one could hope that 2018 might see the end of the word “antisemitism” being tossed about by certain of the Jewish fraternity every time someone criticizes the Israeli government for its persecution of the Palestinians. The latest to do this is Shmuley Boteach, a U.S. rabbi who loves publicity.
He took out a full page spread in the Washington Post to call the New Zealand pop star, Lorde, a bigot and antisemitic, while accusing New Zealand of prejudice against Israel.
All this fuss because Lorde cancelled a concert in Tel Aviv in protest at Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians. Well, if that’s antisemitism, Rabbi Boteach, then count me in. The truth, of course, is that it has nothing whatever to do with antisemitism. It’s a protest against a political system that persecutes another race of people. So, hell, why doesn’t that sound familiar to him?
Some good news to start the year as Theresa May says she’s considering moving Boris Johnson from his position as foreign secretary. No indication of where he might end up, but rumours are circulating in Whitehall that a toilets’ supervisor recently handed in his notice.
We all feel assured by the firm declaration from Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s national medical director, that setting up ‘Accountable Care Organizations’ (ACOs) in eight areas of England is not a precursor to privatizing the National Health Service. 
Interestingly, the privately run and very expensive United States health service already has its own ACOs. They even have their own association, with a brand new website complete with super good-looking, pearly-toothed actors pretending to be doctors – even down to the obligatory stethoscopes casually slung around necks:
The AAACO is dedicated to the development of Accountable Care Organizations: providing valuable information and assistance in order to provide the healthcare marketplace with quality services at competitive prices. The AAACO offers membership to ACOs, hospitals, professional associations, health plans, physicians …[etc, etc] 
Is Sir Bruce lying to us? Or, perhaps Theresa just hasn’t told him yet?
Finally, for our American friends, some sad news today from Florida. It seems the residents of Palm Beach are very upset. Apparently, super-pressy Donald Trump is in situ at his winter palace, Mar-a-Lago, for the New Year revelries.
While he’s there those poor people of Palm Beach are not being allowed to land their private jets at the local airport. 
Whatever will they do?
I guess they’ll NOT be voting for HIM again come 2020.
 “Lorde called a bigot over cancelled Israel concert in full-page Washington Post ad” Guardian, January 1st 2018
 “Theresa May considers Brexit role for Boris Johnson in cabinet reshuffle” Guardian, January 1st 2018
 “Knox Ratepayers’ Association disgusted with state of council toilets” Herald Sun (Au), February 23rd 2015
 “NHS shake-up is not a Trojan horse for privatisation, says top doctor” Guardian, January 1st 2018
 “Trump looks to cash in from lavish NYE party at Mar-a-Lago – but is it ethical?” Guardian, December 31st 2017