My take on 2016’s political moments

Politics, politics, politics.

It’s saturated every ounce of media this year, and rightly so. The U.K. has witnessed an unprecedented year of political disruption. I’m not especially versed in the world of politics, but here’s my take on a year that has sparked a whole lot of pessimism and fear.

Brexit

Where else to start?

Brexit will define our generation, for good or for bad. It’s full ramifications haven’t yet been felt. Although the stock market immediately plummeted in the wake of the referendum results, with confidence in the U.K. economy all-but disappearing, it has since regained its perennial stability.

I don’t know anyone who has lost their job, anyone who has been cast out onto the streets as a direct result of this vote; there may well-be some, but the gloom and apocalyptic predictions appears to be unfounded.

I voted remain, for the record. But you won’t find me prophesying the death of European culture, learning and and advancement. The wake of Brexit laid out our shameful culture of outrage in all its naked glory; Twitter and Facebook were awash with lamentations and fear. Caught within in a tide of scare-mongering, initiated by the Remain campaign and perpetuated by the relentless nature of social media, the ordinary person, for perhaps the first time in their life, became scared for the future. That is, in the world of social media and un-grounded truths, forgivable.

Brexit happened. I, along with many others, didn’t want it to happen. But, it is now up to Theresa May (who I will be discussing shortly) to assure Britain gets a deal that is beneficial for both itself and for Europe. This deal needs to be founded upon trade and responsibility.

I’m sorry, Mr. Farage, but the U.K. has an enormous responsibility in accepting refuges. Syria is a country utterly annihilated – the cause for such destruction is a treacherous labyrinth of politics and war, of which I won’t go into.

However, the U.K. has been involved in its ruination and we share guilt. Thus, for us to reject refuges would be criminally immoral. We contributed to the problem, so we must help. We cannot use Brexit as a proxy to relinquish responsibility: we cannot siphon off the share to the rest of Europe through Brexit negotiations.

Brexit will continue to define the future of British politics. It’s not going away – it was a profound moment in British politics and should be met with equal skepticism and optimism.

If you feel like you’re not already bored by Brexit, read Tim Shipman’s highly informative and insightful book.

Theresa May

Brexit happened and David Cameron resigned. Personally, I thought that was an act of cowardice – Cameron knew his decision to put party before country was unforgivably short-sighted. He will now be described as one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, even though he led Britain out of recession and into a burgeoning state of growth.

Step in Machiavellian politics – oh how you were missed. Michael Gove truly ruptured any ambitions Boris Johnson had in holding office. Probably for the best, mind. In doing so, Gove presented himself as a cruel and empty political mover, instantly rejected by the political consensus.

Theresa May wins the Conservative leadership election, by default. Stephen Crabb’s bid was sunk by a Whatsapp scandal before it left the port and Andrea Leadsom withdrew, citing what was “best in the British interests”.

May’s opening speech was eloquent and charismatic. She spoke of a nation united, of a Conservative party ready to return to the roots upon which it was built – social equality, if you can believe that.

The following months haven’t especially reflected such sentiments. May is reticent at best, refusing to divulge into matters of public interest, instead opting for a level of secrecy that mirrors her time as Home Secretary.

She will not be drawn into what she wants from Brexit, either. But, for all her privacy, May is a character built from confidence and belief. The PM presents herself as composed and uncompromising. Good qualities to have in a PM.

Her tenure will undoubtedly be defined by her Brexit negotiations, though, and we anticipate them with as much relish as we did Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn

Enough about Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn has fought off mutiny. The Labour Party are still healing from the apparently irreparable divisions caused by the leadership contest – within current MPs, at least. For the leadership result was a resounding championing of Corbyn’s status as leader from Labour members.

Rightly, or wrongly, he resisted calls for resignation and bravely threw himself back into the front line. Even if you don’t agree with his policies, you have to admire his tenacity.

Personally, though, I feel Corbyn is toxic for the Labour Party. A person who divides his MPs as much as he does should not be leading them. A unified opposition is needed more than ever – with Corbyn remaining the leader and a Party imbued with fractions Labour is not a threat to a Conservative majority.

He lacks charisma, like most politicians, in fairness. But he does not cut a figure chiseled from strength and conviction – I wouldn’t want him representing our country during intensely fragile and important meetings with world leaders such as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

I’ll save you a discussion on Donald Trump, he’s already been the subject of relentless debate.

 

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