2016: A Year Long Overdue

By: Ben Thrussell

A £10 bet on Leicester City winning the Premier League, Brexit, and Donald Trump becoming US President would have paid out £30 million, according to Paddy Power. But that’s what happened. That is the year we have had, and it could get even crazier.

First of all, there was Brexit. Exactly one week before the referendum, Labour MP Jo Cox was tragically and brutally killed while carrying out her duty of serving her constituents. On that day, Remain support was at its highest level during the whole campaign. This made the result of the referendum, announced on the morning of Friday 24th June, even more surprising: a 52-48 win for Leave. This sent the whole of the political world into meltdown. The markets tumbled, the sterling fell, the EU was shattered and the Prime Minister stood down. Obviously, Brexit is by no means over; we still have to face a two year negotiation period and, like many Remainers want, the possibility of a second referendum on the terms of Brexit. However, the vote showed the whole political class across the globe that, if you ignore the workers for so long, you should expect to be punished sooner or later.

23 days after the vote, the UK had a new Prime Minister, Theresa May. It came as no shock that David Cameron chose to resign due to his more than dedicated attitude to the losing Remain campaign, despite his repeated claims, even in the House of Commons, that he would remain Prime Minister even in the event of a Leave vote. So far, Mrs May has decided that “Brexit means Brexit”, there should be a third Heathrow runway, and HS2 should be expanded, but no huge piece of legislation has yet been passed.

Soon after, Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected Labour leader for the second time in 12 months. He was largely expected to win, despite the loss of support from his MP’s, so this is really no big deal.

The next event, though, is a big deal. The USA, arguably a silly country at times, turned bonkers on 8th November. Having elected Donald Trump, much of the USA went into total meltdown. There were riots, robberies and more, but the markets held strong. Barack Obama looked on with despair as he shook Trump’s hand in the White House after their meeting, having seen his eight years of work ripped apart by the people of Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Michigan. Since the election, Trump has systematically gone about retracting every single policy he came up with during his campaign: maybe he won’t repeal Obamacare anymore. This, like Brexit, was a vote against the traditional political class, who had ignored the workers hurt by free trade deals.

Another referendum took place on 4th December, this time in Italy, about a proposed constitutional change. Italian Prime Minister pledged to resign if his government lost the vote, which they did, 59-41. Another vote against the existing political class.

On the same day, the Austrian far right candidate, Nobert Hofer, very nearly became President, in yet another signal of discontent among the politicians and, more specifically, the European Union.

Now in December, there is a new year looming; a year which, having seen the political world shaken as it has been in 2016, could be a year of the same. There are elections in France and Germany. France, in particular, is of great interest. Front National candidate Marine Le Pen has a surprising amount of support, though it is less surprising when the recent terrorist attacks, as well as the Calais Jungle, are taken into consideration.
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