01 January 2021 16:31
Goodbye 2020 and a hearty good riddance to the year of the Covid pandemic. Long into the future when today's children are grandparents they will retell the story of the time when among the anguish, life stopped. Those who did pay tribute to their loved ones put a face to the cold, impersonal nature of a nightly news graphic on the daily update. An initial spirit of unity forged in adversity pretty quickly gave way to a restrained anger that this appeared to catch the government out. The definitive judgement on what went wrong will probably be the defining moment of 2022 or 2023, whenever the promised inquiry reports.
From the lack of personal protective equipment, to deaths in care homes, to the abandoning and then belated restart of testing, to the lateness of the initial lockdown, all will be laid bare. I bet we don't know a fraction of the chaos that has gone on behind ministerial doors. 2021 will be the year they go under. Without the pandemic, Brexit, that dominating issue of 2019, would have continued to strangle the news agenda. The UK has left the European Union in the biggest constitutional recalibration in generations. The 'get Brexit done' mantra propelled Boris Johnson to the Premiership and to a new electoral mandate. Can he hold the union together? Paul Ellis via Getty Images In the aftermath of the 2014 referendum, supporters of independence said they would not seek another until the trend in the polls was unmistakable. Brexit has reshaped the landscape but its legacy may be the ending of more than one union. Covid also relegated coverage of Her Majesty's Advocate v Alex Salmond. Cleared by a criminal court and subject to a kangaroo court by the government he once led, some of the issues are still mired in a procedural and legal swamp. Mr Salmond he has not been able to have his full say but his rage at what he believes is a scandal and injustice will be aired eventually. The parliamentary inquiry into how initial allegations were handled is yet to hear from both Mr Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images Across the pond the reality TV president joined a band of commanders-in-chief who would serve only one term. He will be gone by January's end and with him a presidency which fashioned the chaos of a locked ward and tried to make it a template for governing. STV was touched this year by the passing of revered friends. Our former Westminster correspondent Harry Smith is tinkling the crystal elsewhere, no doubt continuing to delight as he holds court with a glass of his favourite tipple. Our first political editor and Radio Clyde founder Jimmy Gordon passed away, as did our resident election night guru, the peerless Professor Bill Miller. Spectator sport closed for much of the year and fans have had to adjust to the eerie, surreal experience of watching on TV with a dubbed atmosphere. In an otherwise grim time, the Scottish national side qualified for the 2021 European Football Championships. Let's hope by the end of that we will not collectively seek solace in the view that it is the taking part that counts. The closing of the 2019/20 domestic football season trumpeted a drama involving conspiracies, court cases and the kind of good-going rammy normally associated with the terraces rather than the corridors of power. In truth there was no solution on how to bring the season to an end in a way which suited and had the support of all member clubs. There was an inevitability to the end game in terms of winners and losers but only after somewhat shambolic procedures reduced 'corporate governance' to the narrative of a new Carry On movie. Captain Tom Moore invoked a wartime spirit to the business of civic responsibility and was knighted for his fundraising efforts. Bringing viewers the news has had its challenges and I think most broadcasters have done well in the tricky business of providing public information, holding power to account and showing how people are living lives being battered by uncertainty and tragedy If Covid deaths have been the low point of 2020, then the vaccination programme is the great hope for the year ahead. 2020 has led to an appreciation of small things we take for granted, like going to the cinema. 2021 will be the year when we reacquaint ourselves with what we now can better appreciate. In this adversity I have found people taking a greater interest in how their neighbours are doing, particularly if elderly and alone. With more time on our hands, many have volunteered to make life a little better for those less fortunate through charitable work When the never ending bad temper of social media depresses I tell myself that's only a fraction of people who are part of the collective. The good in people that makes them great has roared loud in 2020. That is something I will never forget in an otherwise depressing year. Edinburgh's Hogmanay film is seen by three million people in more than 50 countries around the world More than 3.1 million people have watched the specially-created drone swarm film created to underline Edinburgh's claim to be "the home of Hogmanay." The figure was announced as organisers released the full 15-minute film, which was inspired by a new three-part poem, commissioned to mark the end of 2020 and herald the arrival of 2021 from Scots Makar Jackie Kay. The three parts of the film, which featured special effects created using 150 drones, are said to have been viewed in more than 50 countries around the world so far. Sign up to our daily newsletter The i newsletter cut through the noise Sign up Thanks for signing up! The drone sequences filmed on an estate in the Highlands were superimposed into iconic views of the city, including Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill, The Mound and Arthur's Seat. A symbol of a handshake appeared above Murrayfield Stadium, the home of Scottish rugby, while the drone effects included a new-born baby, a stag and an eagle. The finale, which was broadast on the Edinburgh's Hogmanay social media channels and website at 7pm last night, was shared almost immediately by astronaut Tim Peake with his 1.5 million Twitter followers. Underbelly, the events firm which produced the film on behalf of Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Government, released the film in three parts between 29 December and Hogmanay. The company, which normally stages a three-day festival in Edinburgh over Hogmanay, said the film had already been viewed in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Iraq, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UAE, the USA, Uruguay and Uzbekistan. The project was instigated after the government and the council, which put more than £1 million into Edinburgh's celebrations each year, ruled out the staging of any live events in the city.However they instead pledged to support an online project aimed at keeping the city and the country in the global spotlight. A spokeswoman for Edinburgh's Hogmanay said: "Edinburgh's Hogmanay concluded last night, with 3.1 million people so far tuning in directly to watch the series of broadcasts on Edinburgh's Hogmanay's channels. "Many millions more saw the films and clips on media channels around the world and those figures will be collated and released in due course." Underbelly directors Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood said: " More than 3.1 million people have watched the online incarnation of Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations so far. "We've been blown away by the response from the millions and millions of people who've watched the films or seen clips around the world. "Fireworks didn't seem the right response to the end of 2020 and we think we got the right tone for Scotland of reflection, innovation and imagination, putting Scottish artists to the fore. Posting on his Twitter page, Peake said: Where poetry, art & culture meet science & technology. Thank you for creating this visual feast for us to marvel at, enjoy & reflect on." City council leader Adam McVey said: "Gie this a watch. Our Capital's Hogmanay pulls together the beauty of our city and the artistic talent that is so much of who we are." Murrayfield Stadium was among the famous Edinburgh landmarks to feature in the 15-minute film. Writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch said: "Such a beautiful, poignant & hopeful film by Edinburgh's Hogmanay folk. Fareweel to the old year and as it happens, to our old friends in Europe.