It is pretty hard to avoid sounding demi E.J Thribb when saying goodbye to a year.
Politically it has been slightly inconclusive- although the Conservatives have advanced, it does not, as yet, seem enough to give them the chance to win outright, come the next election. Labour seem more becalmed than in actually stormy water, and while the Lib Dems have had a generally poor year, the party is at least becoming more coherent and although polls have been generally down, in local government by-elections, the Lib Dems have achieved considerable success. However, I think no party can look at 2006 with unalloyed satisfaction.
So from the perspective of Liberalism, some progress inside the party, but a generally poor press and falling polls have clearly hurt. Many of our political enemies would like to write off the chances of the Lib Dems- well, the world is littered with the bones of predictions that never happened. The only thing that I can do is to campaign for the core principles that this blog espouses. I believe that we are winning the argument. I also believe that unless the idea of freedom is explicitly incorporated into policy formation, then our society risks blundering in some very dangerous directions.
Another key area for those who advocate strict limits to the state: privacy, is also set to rise up the political agenda. Already I detect a backlash against the snooping state- and, for example, as more DNA is kept on record, the risks of intrusion increase.
Despite the mushiness of both the Labour and Conservative intellectual platforms, I believe that the electorate is seeking a more crunchy style of politics- I hope that the Liberal Democrats can provide it. 2007 may well be the year that we finally see whether the political pendulum will come our way, or whether we have to endure another dead end government.