Readers of a certain age will remember the Queen lamenting the year 1992. That was the year, lest we forget, when Prince Charles and Princess Diana decided to separate after lurid revelations of their sexual peccadilloes and adventures.

So bad was the previous 12 months from HRH’s perspective that she dubbed it her “annus horribilis”.

Every coin has two sides and the same is true of the year just gone. 2017 was the best of times and the worst of times, depending on your point of view.

But the past is dead. That is why I hereby wish to applaud and celebrate the year that has just commenced. In short, I say, Viva 2018.

All too often our public discourse is centred on gloom. Let’s be honest, it can be a bit of a Yorkshire habit.

You know the kind of thing, a resigned, fatalistic nod or shrug of the shoulders at the stupidity and unfairness of the world.

An expressive sigh, meaning, well, what did you expect? It was how I was brought up - don’t kick up a fuss and hope for the best.

Except, I say for 2018, let’s expect a whole lot better than the year just gone. No, let’s demand it as our right.

Because it seems to me that bad, pointless and damaging policies are a choice not an inevitable act of nature like the seasons. Politicians and powerful business interests make those choices on our behalf every hour of every day.

But they are not gods, just human beings. And whatever power and wealth they possess has been lent to them by us, the people. Nor are they infallible. Or irremovable.

Let me here struggle to avoid a number of depressing, negative topics that have offended me (and millions of my fellow citizens) over the last year. Many found their way into this column: food banks, fracking, zero hour contracts, shockingly low pay, the housing crisis faced by our young people, to name just a few.

Most acutely, the deliberate underfunding of the NHS and other public services to justify privatisation. Oh, and the fact our wealthiest are actively allowed to avoid whatever low taxes they have been asked to pay.

One thing I long for in 2018 is a happy resolution to the seemingly interminable farce of the Brexit negotiations.

May the coming year bring a focus on the real implications of leaving our closest neighbours’ broadly successful trade bloc. Right now, our destination is a future totally unknown and untested, justified by slogans like “taking back control” or “having our cake and eating it”.

Or how about a topic we really must not ignore in 2018? Namely, that unless we do something about climate change our whole way of life is under existential threat.

We cannot keep pumping pollutants into the environment. We cannot carry on burning fossil fuels when the polar ice caps are melting. Yes, almost as fast as the natural world is being stripped of resources to create tomorrow’s landfill.

But that, too, is a choice. We can change. Look at one amazing idea being developed by the Dutch publicly-owned electricity grid. These astonishing people have plans to build a manmade island 78 miles out to sea off Dogger Bank and set up a hub of wind farms to generate 100 per cent renewable electricity. Enough to service the needs of the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and even northern Germany. Google North Sea Island TenneT if you don’t believe me.

My point is this: human ingenuity is vast and incredible. This year we could take a road to a cleaner, fairer, more sustainable future or carry on denying that our way of life has to adapt to climate change.

2018 could see so many things mended and improved in Britain and the world. Inequality is no match for intelligent compassion. The possibilities should make us giddy not gloomy.

To achieve this we must think beyond the narrow sense of nationhood implied by Brexit.

Far more connects human beings than divides us, whatever our nationality or background. Instead of creating yet another “annus horribilis”, let’s aim for an “annus mirabilis” – a year of miracles.