In the timeless classic The Lord of the Rings, Frodo says to Gandalf “I wish it need not have happened in my time”, referring to the dire events transpiring all around. “So do I,” replies Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

2022 will give us, as did 2021, a golden opportunity to make the most of the time given to us. As our society sails over turbulent seas, conservatives must provide the order, stability and moral compass the fractured ship sorely needs.

At the end of 2020, I predicted for Conservatives Global that “Hungary and Poland are set for continued standoffs with the EU on various crucial matters, including arguments over the rule of law, abortion, nationalism and the future direction of the bloc”. All of this has occurred, emphasising the strong disparity between some groups and the people they allegedly serve.

Last December, I also warned that “the world’s superpowers must be very careful not to escalate their rhetoric and war intentions”, concerns which have become only more prominent. Russia, China and the US have the resources to do a lot of good for others, but they can also do more damage to the world than all other nations combined. The threat of a nuclear war is always too real for us to ignore, as well as proxy wars or irregular conflict such as espionage, cyberattacks and EMP attacks. This is without mentioning escalating tension in Eastern Europe and the South China Sea that many fear will turn into open war.

However, the most important warnings I made last year were about domestic society, and the kind of world we want to live in. Covid-19 vaccines, I insisted, “cannot be mandated or made a requirement of re-entry into society” and that “other Covid-19 measures should also be scrutinised regularly” owing to their social, psychological and economic harms. Yet this call fell on deaf ears around the world as country after country started mandating vaccination for all manner of ordinary human activity, including the workplace, hospital visits, spending time with family and friends, and conducting commercial business. Vaccines are a vital good, but we must be free to make our own choices without government coercion – no matter how poor they may turn out to be. 

About our freedom of conscience and speech, 2021 has been a long and dark year. However, it must end now as our vaccine rollouts bear fruit and the risks of the virus become milder and milder. As conservatives we must stand up and assertively reclaim the natural freedoms that are ours, freedoms that were temporarily set aside in the name of public safety. We cannot tolerate a totalitarian world that demands proof of state mandated activity to participate in it. We have been in such unsavoury places before and should do all we can, in our legislatures, local councils and media, to avoid returning there. This requires of us a newfound resolve and grit that we perhaps have not displayed in previous years, yet the season calls for it. It is up to us, as Gandalf reminds Frodo, to use the time that is given us to do what is right and just, for our society and the society our children will inherit.

There is of course much more that can be said about the past year, but I will end with a note of encouragement. Where there is despair, there is always hope, or the possibility for it. It is difficult times that produce those of honour, rather than the easier times we have been used to. We should be grateful that we live in such challenging times, as they give us ample opportunity to prove our character and improve a little each day.

There are many means available to us to influence the culture for good. Writing for local, national and social media is always a worthy exercise, and sharing our work with friends. Founding new platforms such as Conservatives Global is one way forward. Documentaries, podcasts and livestreams are increasingly popular ways of calling for change and inspiring other young conservatives. Running in local, national or European elections can help remind those in power that they are there to serve people, not ignore them.

Let us stand for truth and justice each day. It is vital that the light of freedom is not put out by communism and socialism. The year 2022 brings challenges and the strength to face them in equal measure, if we want it.

I wish you and all readers, contributors and supporters of Conservatives Global the best in your work and a good year ahead!

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