As 2017 draws to a close, your editor has an uncomfortable feeling that Great Britain is in a somewhat unsettled, even slightly agitated mood as many of our past certainties have increasingly become less so.

Maybe the combination of a post-crash era impact, especially on younger people’s aspirations, the Brexit choice, the distortions and insults that flood from ‘social media’ all day long, print media scaremongering, the poor judgement, quality and behaviour of so many in the political class, the insecurity of private information and too many versions of the truth (or untruths) are all combining to make us wonder who we Brits are these days. It was worrying to hear of the London Head Teacher of a reputable private school suggesting that teaching our children British values is a form of jingoism. On the other hand, your editor is close to starting his 8th decade on this globe of ours and so might be showing  the typical signs of geriatric discomfort along the lines of ‘Fings ain’t what they used to be’.

Of course all of the scandalous stuff is really as old as the hills as we are still human beings with animal instincts and their underlying drives. What has changed is a far greater likelihood of getting caught and the instant dissemination of misdemeanours to the whole wide world. Who would have thought that mobile ‘phones would so evolve.

It isn’t all bad though. Increasing gender equality and greater willingness to challenge truly bad behaviour and outright lies and propaganda might help to offset the decay in reasonable morality and honesty that we have long treasured in our culture. Let’s hope that in 2018 we can be kinder to each other, find the path to a future out of the EU that is more healing than divisive, sharpen our hopefully pleasant national identity and sense of our own culture and that younger people will find a better balance of ‘the now’ with the long, long history that has made Great Britain such a special land.

As the Christmas season unfolds, here’s a word for the wise - before you hug and kiss anybody, do first ensure that you have signed and witnessed agreements in place that permit such normal human warmth.

The Lych Gate wishes all our readers a very happy and loving Christmas and when Big Ben is briefly awakend to chime in the new year it may be a happier and more prosperous one for you all.