War and Peace.

I am thinking about writing a book. That is quite a catchy title and might describe 2018 in the years to come.

I know it’s been written before but I am just feeling inspired and I am sure I could write something that could rival Leo Tolstoy’s great work – and in fewer than his 587,287 words!

This year, as we all know, marks the centenary of the end of the first world war and the beginning of the right of women and working classes to vote and the winter Olympics in South Korea.

It is scandalous that the voter turnout at elections is so low when people gave their lives to fight for our right to vote.

I always say that I have to vote because I am a woman. In fact we all have to vote because we were not just given that right – we had to win it.

The only people who could be forgiven for apathy are hereditary peers of the realm whose families have been entitled since the invention of democracy.

Women have not completely broken through the glass ceiling and it is scandalous that they are still fighting for equal pay for equal work in some sectors.

More than that, it is horrific that there are still girls enduring forced marriages and female circumcision and have no rights at all.

As Helen Reddy said in her wonderful feminist anthem, I Am Woman : “But I’m still an embryo

With a long, long way to go ......”

But the positive is that the journey is continuing and gains are being made even if it is just giving Saudi women the right to watch football!

There has never been a time since 1918 – or probably before – when we have not had a conflict of some kind. We have seen horrendous genocides including what is happening now in Myanmar at the moment. But we have never again had wars on the scale of the two world wars.

In the west, anyway, we are also at liberty to be antiwar without being accused of being cowards or tried as traitors. Our men and women now volunteer to serve in the armed forces. They have a choice, just as they have a choice to march against war.

Nations like Japan now preach peace and Germany has become more famous in recent years for the number of refugees it has taken in rather than its desire to overthrow Europe.

I am trying to look at the positives here even though I know there has been a huge rise in right wing groups. I am not denying there is a lot of hatred in the world and sometimes we all wonder where it is going to end.

Then comes the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Suddenly there is a team of ice hockey players comprising athletes from both sides of the Korean border.

Suddenly sworn enemies are marching side by side under a united Korean flag.

Suddenly Kim Jong-un’s sister, pictured, is in South Korea shaking hands with “the enemy.”

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves: This is just one sporting event and who knows what will happen afterwards?

I remember Christmas 1964 when the Berlin wall opened up for a period and people from the west were able to visit family an friends divided by the wall.

That was an amazing day – I remember sitting crying in front of our black and white TV while the rest of my family traveled to the Congo to get petrol which was rationed in Zambia because of embargoes placed on the increasingly racist government in Southern Rhodesia.

It would be another 25 years before the wall came down but that little chink in the bricks would eventually be a blinding light.

I used to say not even God could bring down the Berlin Wall or apartheid.

Seems I was wrong on both counts.

Perhaps the sight of of Koreans North and South holding the same flag will mean nothing in a week’s time when the games are over.

But just perhaps...