VERITY LUSH: We seem to have gone backwards since the millennium

Our lives and those of our children are now dominated by mobile phones
Our lives and those of our children are now dominated by mobile phones
Eve Myles stars in the new BBC series Keeping Faith'  Picture: BBC Wales

SEAN BLACKMAN: Keeping the faith

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Another year dawns and we are almost two decades on from the new millennium when a non-existent bug was supposed to strike down our computers and crash the world at midnight.

The dawn of said millennium seemed momentous at the time. We were really going to party like it was 1999, and celebrate the coming of the new.

Yet here we are, 18 years on, and Donald Trump, a fully-fledged sex pest, is president of the United States, and the UK is trying to weasel itself out of Europe in the most convoluted faff politics has ever seen. Which is really saying something.

The rates of most diseases are rising, pollution has become an even bigger issue in terms of research that shows us even neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s may well be linked to it, and we are apparently filling the planet with so much plastic in such microscopic forms, that even our fish are filled with it.

Terrorism has reached unfathomable heights and the NHS is more cash-strapped than ever. You can no longer get a routine GP appointment unless you can plan to have your haemorrhoids three weeks in advance, and our education system underwent ludicrous changes at the hands of that Womble, Michael Gove.

Mobile phones have become addictive and our lives are lived around tiny little screens we are unable to step away from.

Top of the Pops does not exist because there is no longer a sensible Top 40 to listen to, and Simon Cowell single-handedly destroyed the once-coveted Christmas number one.

Homelessness seems to have reached the numbers we would have expected in the time of Dickens, and compassion is low on the ground.

The high street has, despite efforts, shrunk away and sunk into the enveloping shadows of big brand stores, and Commercial Road itself, home of the infamous fountain, appears to be dying.

On the other hand, smoking has been banned in public areas, mental health is beginning to be taken seriously, and Prince William looks a decent enough bloke to one day have on the throne.

Happy new year.


Change must commence with the little things, and unless you can focus on these, then you’ve nothing to build upon after. Get them wrong, and the rest will crumble.

That’s true of business, relationships, education, anything.

There are little pockets of Portsmouth where we have retained community spirit.

The Copnor Walking Nativity, or Fratton Big Local, or Strong Island, are examples of, and attempts at, this.

The smile to a stranger in the street, or trying to help someone you don’t know, is like an olive branch.

But in today’s world, we are constantly suspicious of strangers, querying the smile, or so stressed that we can’t return it.

This new year, a focus on the minutiae might be what society needs.


Several people told me at Christmas how much they were looking forward to spending time with their family or friends.

I say ‘or’ because some would prefer to spend it with friends, the folk they’ve chosen in the world, as opposed to those they’ve been born into.

Whichever it is for you, and hopefully it’s both, it seems a shame we don’t always find time the rest of the year to do this.

With frantic lives it’s hard to nowadays, so perhaps, if for nothing else, that’s something wonderful about the festive season.

For all those who complain about it, at least it gives us pause to stop for a moment and remember the people we know.