Please note: This is not Harambe
At the end of 2015, people were hoping 2016 would be a good year. It seems not many are happy with the results. It was filled with celebrity deaths, killer clowns, political earthquakes, and nostalgia. Let’s look back on the year dubbed ‘the worst in history’.
Politically, 2016 was a landmark year. There were two major political events that changed the course of history towards the right. The first came in June when Britain voted to leave the European Union. After a hideous campaign on both sides, 52 per cent of Brits decided they no longer wanted to be part of the EU. Questions still hang over why the majority decided to vote this way and there have been numerous discussions to try and come up with a definitive answer. However, like most things of this nature, nobody agrees. Some believe it was a racist vote led by Nigel Farage. Others believe it was fuelled by an anti-establishment feeling conjured up by Michael Gove. Personally, I believe it was a faux working class revolution, indeed fuelled by both of these sentiments, which ultimately began under New Labour. You can read more about this in my new book ‘Brexit: How the Working Class Took Britain Out of Europe’. Available now in paperback and ebook on Amazon.
The other major political event was the US presidential election in November. The media, pundits, politicians, and even the general public of both the US and UK all believed Hillary Clinton would walk away with the presidency. Of course, that would not be the case. Donald Trump destroyed Hillary Clinton in the electoral college but lost to her in the popular vote. Naturally there were cries of the system being undemocratic as about 2.5 million more people voted for Hillary than Trump. The electoral college system is undemocratic and needs to be replaced. However, protesting against the result on this occasion (because it didn't go your way) is also undemocratic. The protesting should’ve been for change in the future. Not repealing a vote that has already happened. What the electoral college and popular vote tell us is that the US is critically divided. On one side you have the middle class (working class in the UK) in the industrial and central areas who were hit hard by the subprime mortgage crisis and global financial crash, haven't seen their lives improve under Obama, and don’t see any prosperity under another Democrat or Clinton. On the other hand you have millennials and those living on the western and eastern seaboards. Those in California and New York who make up a lot of the population. The big cities where there are more jobs than in the industrial areas such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Trump will be sworn into the presidency this month and we can expect a very different president to Obama.
Both Brexit and the US election illuminate the divide between the newly rejuvenated rightwing, the liberal centre, and the populist left. After Brexit, David Cameron stupid down as PM and the Conservatives underwent a leadership battle. This was short lived and Theresa May cunningly strolled into Ten Downing Street as the new prime minister of the UK. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party was also challenged; firstly by the laughable Angela Eagle and then finally by Owen Smith. I was unable to vote in the election as I joined post January 2016. However, my vote wasn't needed as Jeremy went on to increase his mandate and see the membership of the party increase to over 500,000.
Article 50 will now be triggered and Brexit will commence. However, as the majority of MPs challenged the government to bring the final Brexit proposal to the table in a vote, Theresa May might not find it very easy to trigger Article 50. Rumours have circled suggesting that if she can’t get the motion through parliament, she will call a snap election which will be contested over Brexit terms. If this does happen, we can expect another Conservative victory and a hard Brexit. There’s no way Labour can win a snap election being 14 points behind in the polls. Jeremy Corbyn has a lot to do in order to regain four million UKIP votes.
In the summer of 2016, millennials buzzed due to the release of Pokémon Go! Nostalgia was its biggest selling point as millennials relived their childhoods; catching Pokémon in real life. However, many, many server problems later and the buzz faded within a couple of months. Amazingly, the life and death of a certain gorilla maintained its buzz longer than the Japanese app. Harambe was the meme of 2016 and his memory will continue to live on through social media and millennials all around the western world.
Other than the political events, there were a plethora of celebrity deaths that shocked the world in 2016. The first was David Bowie who sadly passed away at the age of 69. This death alone was enough to put the world in mourning. However, dozens more famous deaths followed including Prince, Muhammed Ali, Alan Rickman, George Michael, Fidel Castro and Carrie Fisher. It wasn't a good year for loved icons and it just seemed that 2016 was out to get them.
2016 for me personally was a mixed bag. I released my second paperback, which was then subjected to copyright and the title had to be changed. ‘Why Young People Don’t Vote’ is out now. I also released my small Brexit book via the amazing Amazon. It was previously only available as an ebook, but is now out as a paperback. I began writing a book about extremism, which will be finished this spring. My first novel will also be out in the next few weeks as a paperback thanks to Amazon, again. I’m hoping to complete my next manuscript and send it to the big radical leftwing publishers. I will be continuing with my blog this year and posting articles of the same nature. I’m also hoping to start a new project in some sort of fictional form. (Probably a new novel)