Without a doubt 2016 was probably the worst political year of my adult life, in my opinion, there were two of the most unfortunate outcomes I can ever remember. I will start by saying that politically I do not lean very far in either direction. I have voted for the UK Labour party every year since I was first eligible to vote in 1986. So, I would say that I am centre left in my views. Probably what most people would describe as “New Labour”. I know that probably does not sit well with a lot of the so-called real Labour people, but let us face facts here, the last time the real left wing led Labour party won a UK election was 1974. What these people seem to forget is that you are not going to win a General Election without appealing to the people in the centre ground, Tony Blair understood this in 1997, and that is why he won one of the most substantial majorities on the 20th Century. So that is where my political allegiances lie.
As I said, last year was one of the most unfortunate political years I can remember. I will address Brexit first. I am sure nobody will be surprised to learn that I am a member of the 48% club who voted to remain in the European Union. I think it is a bad idea to leave and I think it was just because of David Cameron’s crass selfishness that we are in this position. Make no mistakes about this, he gambled, and he lost, this was done to appease the right wing of the Conservative party and the UK Independence Party. Although the Labour Party do not get away without blame either, as Her Majesty’s Opposition, they are currently entirely flaccid, strong leadership is needed and is not forthcoming.
Anyway, Brexit is going to happen but the looks of it, so although I voted against it, I will begrudgingly accept it. I think it will be devastating for the country, I do not believe it will bring immigration down that much, and I do think we will be poorer as a result. This is not the time in the world for any country to become isolationist, we need to work closely with our neighbours. However, I think Brexit will push ourselves further apart from them. The country is as divided as I have ever seen it, I was a teenager during the 1981 riots, and I think we are more fractured now that we were then. Hate crime is on the rise, and I only see it getting worse as the Brexit process progresses. I hope I am wrong about this, but I believe that leaving the European Union will be devastating for the UK.
Now just as I thought it could not get any worse, roll on November and the US Presidential Elections. Now on this one, I thought it would be very close, and I am would not be surprised if either candidate had won. Unfortunately, as things progressed I was leaning towards a win for Donald Trump, I could see that Hilary Clinton was just not that popular in the majority of US states. It was a given she would win California, New York and DC but America is much more than those states, and I could see she did not have the support in those other states.
This really should not be an issue in 2016, but I am still not sure that a lot of US voters were ready for a female President. I could be completely wrong on this, but I do wonder if it would have been any different if Senator Sanders had been the Democratic candidate. Anyway, we now have President Trump. I agree with very few of his policies; I think he is confrontational and too unstable to hold the position he currently has. He has made some inferior choices for his cabinet. To name a few DaVos, Tillerson and Sessions. The advisors are entirely laughable, Conway is a liability and Bannon is one of the most dangerous people in the world today.
It is a worrying state of affairs when you realise that Mile Pence would be an upgrade on President Trump. I have friends from Indiana, so I know all about VP Pence’s MO. So, these people have been elected to do a job; it was done in a democratic election. Whether you agree with the electoral college or not, that is what the candidates signed up for before the election. Maybe it is time to come to terms with the fact that Mt Trump will be president for the next four years.
It does not matter what side of the Atlantic you are on; there has been altogether too much vitriol and hyperbole. Whether it is the levers and the remainers in my country or the press and Mr Trump’s Twitter feed in the USA, by all means, hold people to account for the mistakes they make, but we must get to a point when the petty name-calling must stop. Maybe that time is now. You may not agree with the election results, but you should respect the process that took place and try and make the best of the situation. Let us have some home truths here, if it goes wrong on either side of the Atlantic, we all lose out. Who wants that to happen!!!