The cestoda (or tapeworm) is a parasitic platyhelminth that lives within the digestive tracts of primates. The worm achieves this by attaching itself to the host’s small intestine and proceeds to absorb nutrients from partially digested food through the intestinal lining. Over time, the parasite increases in size – some species are known to grow up to 100ft in length – before eventually exiting the host animal via the anus.

On a completely unrelated note, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage continues his attempt to woo newly elected US President Donald Trump, perhaps best encapsulated by a viral photograph of the duo together inside a golden elevator. The image was taken following an hour-long meeting with the self-confessed ‘pussy grabber’ after Farage allegedly received a personal invitation to Trump Tower, which I understand is an actual structure and not a euphemism.

In an attempt to diplomatically hump the geopolitical trouser leg, the MEP has made a number of appearances with Trump over the preceding months, most notably during the US election cycle.

Addressing thousands of confused spectators at a Republican Party campaign rally in Mississippi, Farage used the opportunity to criticise the Washington establishment and multinational banking elites, before drawing parallels between Trump’s brand of high fructose populism and the bigoted dogwhistle of the Leave Campaign during the EU Referendum.

In a traditional display of working class solidarity, Farage recently attended a Ferrero Rocher laden gala held in his honour at The Ritz, London. Notable attendees included: former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Daily Mail editor-in-chief Isabel Oakeshott, a swarm of Zika infected mosquitos, political donor Arron Banks and a holographic representation of Enoch Powell. The event was held as a gesture of gratitude for his key role in Brexit and presumably by extension the subsequent £58 billion hole revealed in Phillip Hammond’s Autumn Statement the same day.

The nauseating snapshot of the two authoritarian figures side by side – the anti-establishment billionaire businessman and the political equivalent of a breakfast cereal mascot – serves as an accurate, albeit grotesque microcosm of the preceding 366-day atrocity exhibition, otherwise known as 2016.

To say this year has been brutal is to say that you, the reader, are made of atoms.

It’s a year in which we witnessed the widespread trampling of human, civil and indigenous rights on both sides of the Atlantic, a year of government sanctioned war crimes and condescending fruit preservative acronyms, a year that has seen rates of self-harm, suicide and drug related deaths among young adults verge on epidemic. Season’s Greetings, incidentally.

However, I was surprised to see the vitriolic tone of 2016 had failed to disrupt the yuletide atmosphere, with numerous reports trending on social media of what I assume are seasonal crisscross-like patterns spray painted onto homes and businesses, along with marches of white hooded ‘snowmen’ carrying festive torches. Gestures that will no doubt come to sit comfortably with other British Christmas traditions: the mince pie, the D-list celebrity pantomime, the dangerously understaffed A&E department.

Not content to miss out, our own government has also joined the festivities, training Saudi pilots to fly over Yemen and lovingly drop British made ‘gift packages’ directly onto schools, hospitals, food production plants and funeral services. And during this season of giving, I implore you to do the same the next time you see someone in need of a helping hand. Stomp them with holiday cheer. Pulverise them with goodwill. Smash them with the baseball bat of human kindness.

So do we have any chance of redeeming ourselves in the coming year? Well, given the divisive path we have trodden for many months now, it seems unlikely we will deviate anytime soon, and instead continue our current trajectory toward the authoritarianism that historically awaits at the other end.

With the inauguration of Trump – and by extension the most right-wing administration in American history – set to take place in the first few weeks of the new year, coupled with the rumoured return of Tony Blair to mainstream British politics, 2017 looks set to emerge from the shadows, bundle us into its boot and drive at breakneck speed in pitch darkness for another 12 months, headlights off.

Until then, I have opted to be cryogenically frozen until the present malaise has elapsed, leaving strict instructions to be thawed out only in the advent of humanity achieving a utopian society of peace, understanding and global nuclear disarmament. Or at the very least until my next submission deadline, whichever occurs first.

Zachary Freeman